Posted on December 17 2019
The world of merchandising can open up a whole new stream of revenue for your business. If you’re a pretty established brand and you’re looking to promote your business and get your image and brand message out there, creating characters can be a great means of connecting with your customer base, whether that’s new or existing.
But where to start with the whole process? Our team at Zap! Creatives are dab hands at fashioning a host of fantastic characters from design to completion, and what’s more, we do so using eco-friendly materials in a sustainable manner (an important plus point for any self-respecting business these days).
Read on below to discover the ins and outs of creating characters for merch designs.
Identify Your Audience
It’s more than likely you already know your audience, but a little more in-depth research won’t hurt!
It’s not just previous customers who might be interested in your merchandise, your online followers and social media fans are all potential customers who could be tempted by a cleverly branded character.
Looking further into your demographic can help you in the early stages of the design process with your character or characters.
We suggest that you:
- Identify who is most likely to order your merch, e.g which age groups can you target? This could impact the appearance of your brand’s character.
- Research why your audience resonates with your brand. Is it a specific design trait? The colours that you use? Or maybe it’s your business’ language and tone of voice?
- Does your brand use any running themes that you can use alongside your character? E.g catchphrases, slogans or hashtags.
- Are you promoting the whole of your brand, a specific project or run of products?
Zap! Tip: it’s important that you first identify your goals or the reason for creating your merchandise, as well as the identity and needs of your audience.
Create the Ideal Design
Now that you’ve identified your audience, you should have a clear outline of what you need to create and who you’re creating it for. So, here comes the exciting part… Creating your design!
Much of this really falls down to your brand’s image and the direction in which you’re going with your design, this said, your own creativity really is your limit when creating a merchandising character.
When creating your design, we recommend that you:
- Draft different concepts and include mock-up designs, this way you can be sure that everyone is in agreement that the character ticks all of the right boxes.
- Carefully consider colours, they should reflect the tones used in your branding or at least work in tandem with them.
- Explore different fonts and stylistic approaches, it’s important that everything works in harmony together.
- Research current design trends, is there anything you can take inspiration from and use in your character?
Zap! Tip: Once your team has settled on a couple of character designs, why not put them into market research and gather data on opinions? Public perception is key to the success of any marketing character.
Decide on the Right Product for your Design
So, you know your audience and you now have your brand character, but what products would best fit the design as well as your merchandising and marketing needs?
Here at Zap! Creatives, we specialise in offering a selection of custom printed products to suit a wide range of merchandising needs and budgets. With precision digital printing and laser cutting, you can be sure that your character is realised to exceptionally high quality; here are just a few products from Zap! that lend themselves to your unique merchandising efforts.
Custom Pin Badges
Available in 100% recycled premium acrylic and responsibly sourced wooden materials, pin badges are among the most popular of merchandising options, widely seen used by businesses of all kinds across the world.
A pin badge will allow for your character to be seen on the clothing or accessories of your customers, so as well as providing a means for your fans and followers to enjoy your design, it’s also a great way of widening your promotional net too.
Custom Sticker Printing
Custom printed stickers are a versatile way to bring your character to life. You’re able to depict your design in a whole array of scenarios to suit different projects or seasons, for example, Christmas marketing materials, or even include different text to promote specific messages or products.
Customer stickers also lend themselves to other merchandising products too; you can easily tie them in with products such as notebooks and posters, or why not even create a dedicated range of sticker books based around your brand’s character?
Custom Printed Charms
Another fantastic means of realising your merchandising character is with the use of custom printed charms. Like our pin badges, these are available in 100% premium recycled acrylic or responsibly sourced woods, so as well as promoting your brand or products, they’re also environmentally friendly too.
Custom charms are also ideal for children, and our laser cut and super crisp digitally printed creations are sure to capture the imagination and breath life into your merchandising character. Just as effective presented on their own or dropped into a tote bag with other promotional products, our printed charms present the perfect way to market your character.
If you’d like more creative advice and handy how to’s, check out our super useful Zap! Creatives help and advice centre.