27 company swag ideas and why they work

Estimated reading time: 15 minutes

Today, in a shift away from inexpensive, disposable giveaway products, many brands are embracing useful, meaningful company swag ideas that people want to hold on to, like tote bags featuring cool designs and reusable and refillable ceramic mugs. In fact, the top promotional product trends in 2024 showed that 54% of US consumers regularly use promotional products in their day-to-day lives. And according to a recent ASI’s Ad Impressions Study, promotional products are Americans’ favorite form of advertising. It’s no wonder brands are lining up to create useful and stunning promotional products.

When you’re exploring company swag and merch ideas for your brand, you’ll find there are many options available, from tote bags and clothing to stickers and drinkware. So, to help you out, we combed through thousands of examples of company swag ideas, from small businesses to more prominent brands, and narrowed them down to the top examples.

These company swag ideas showcase creativity, innovation and a genuine understanding of what their audiences value, such as a limited edition Nike sneaker in collaboration with Ben & Jerry’s, a promotional product line that’s an extension of the art from Sager Reeves Gallery, or Disney’s Winnie the Pooh Nostalgia Collection that draws in their audience with fond childhood memories.

From fire and heart eye emojis to engaging comments like “Your merch game is out of control!” or “I need these now,” these swag ideas made quite an impression on social media. Read on to find out how these brands used their company swag ideas to engage with their audience and grow their business.

Table of contents

Tote bag swag ideas

1. Mush

Source: mushbottega via Instagram

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Instagram: @mushbottega

Leaning into its bright, colorful brand identity, this jewelry store in Los Angeles created company swag featuring its logo and fun color palette. This cute bag, in which customers can stash all the goodies they pick up in-store, is useful and reusable.

Tip

Find inspiration in how Mush designed merchandise that aligns with its brand, fun aesthetic and the customer’s relationship with its products.

VistaPrint offers a variety of bag types you can print your design onto. If tote bags don’t capture your brand essence, maybe duffel bags or laptop cases might be a better fit. 

2. Sbj Esntls

Source: SBJ Esntls via Instagram

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Instagram: @sbj_esntls

Sbj Esntls designed a canvas tote bag with the message “self care is esntl,” incorporating part of the brand’s name and a fun pun. It also uses butterfly imagery, associating the brand with transformation.

Tip

When brainstorming company swag ideas, think beyond literal depictions of your brand and its products. Instead, consider the feelings and concepts you can communicate. For example, as a personal trainer, you might design merchandise that suggests achievement and self-improvement.

3. Andelin Family Farm

Source: Andelin Family Farm via Instagram

Location: Nevada, USA

Instagram: @andelinfamilyfarm

Andelin Family Farm wanted to expand the typical farm experience for its visitors. So, they converted a barn on the property into a farm store, putting up market lights and selling merchandise. The farm had a specific logo designed for the store to bring the swag designs together, distinct from the farm itself. 

When the Andelin family farm expanded by converting its red barn into a farm store with merchandise and swag, “it really opened an awesome opportunity as a value-added shopping experience for our guests, and increased our revenue,” the owner said. The farm store and merchandise also created a guest following, building anticipation for new merch drops each season.

4. Sager Reeves Gallery

Source: Sager Reeves Gallery via Instagram

Location: Columbia, MS

Instagram: @sagerreeves 

Art gallery Sager Reeves maintained an artistic yet functional approach when creating coasters, tote bags and mugs for its latest merchandise line. They wanted their swag to become a conversation piece among visitors and customers.

“We look for items that are functional and beautiful, that we’d personally want to own and use. Our gallery gift shop is one way our visitors can support and connect with the gallery even if they’re not in a position to purchase original artwork,” said the gallery owners.

Tip

As you design your company swag, consider how it can be a more affordable and accessible alternative to your main product line.

5. The Snail On The Wall

Source: The Snail On The Wall via Instagram

Location: Huntsville, AL

Instagram: @snailbooks 

The Snail On The Wall bookshop created a design that could easily be used on multiple promotional products, like T-shirts, mugs and tote bags. The line illustration featuring a snail reading a book, perched atop a stack of books saying “Pace Yourself,” is perfect for printing on any color background. Reminiscent of book illustrations, the graphic ties into the store’s primary offering: books!

Tip

Brands can create similar looks by finding inspiration in their products, even if that means thinking outside the box and alluding to their products figuratively. For example, a tutoring service could create a planner that looks like a report card.

6. Kolam

Source: VistaPrint via Instagram

Location: Paris, France

Instagram: @kolamparis 

When Kolam was looking to create branded swag, they turned to VistaPrint. Drawing inspiration from the nano canteen’s Sri Lankan roots, the deep purple tote features their logo of a folklore-inspired character in bright, attention-grabbing colors.

When you’re exploring company swag ideas, think about what will get noticed. Whether your brand needs to stand out on a crowded city street or an Instagram explore page, bold design choices can help you do that. This is easy if your brand identity already incorporates bold colors or patterns, but if your look tends to be more subdued, experiment with ways your merch design can attract attention without deviating from your brand. 

Tip

With more countries, states and cities banning plastic grocery bags, reusable tote bags are a useful item to offer customers, so they can look great while shopping sustainably!

Clothing and footwear swag ideas

7. Ben and Jerry’s

Source: Ben & Jerry’s via​​ Instagram

Location: South Burlington, VT

Instagram: @benandjerrys 

Collaborations (“collabs” for short) are an effective strategy for any brand. A collab exposes one brand’s audience to the other’s, leading to sales from new customers outside their typical demographic. They also allow creative teams to try new designs outside their comfort zone, creating something fresh in the process.

That’s what Ben and Jerry’s did when they teamed up with Nike to create Chunky Dunky, incorporating the familiar backdrop and imagery found on every pint of its ice cream. The Nike swoop is there, but this time with a wavy bottom edge, a nod to a dripping ice cream cone.

Tip

Collaborations should make both brands’ involvement immediately clear and highlight both companies’ assets when collaborating on swag.

8. Disney

Source: Disney Store via Instagram

Location: Burbank, CA

Instagram: @disneystore

Disney’s Winnie the Pooh Nostalgia Collection brought back fonts and styles familiar to anyone alive in the 90s, a fun nod to longtime fans. With skinny fonts and small, centered character images, these sweatshirts feel subdued enough for an adult fan but playful enough to be unmistakably Disney.

9. Adobe  

Adobe’s audience-focused hoodie swag. Source: via LinkedIn

Location: San Jose, CA

Linkedin: @adobe

Adobe gave out practical company swag—a branded tech entrepreneur uniform of a gray hoodie, sneakers and bag for toting tech tools—at its Adobe Champion event in San Jose. Take inspiration from Adobe’s effective approach of giving people the swag they actually want. If techies can be spotted by their gray hoodies, Adobe wants them to be spotted by its gray hoodies.

Tip

Don’t be afraid to get niche with your company swag! Try to create swag that feels like an inside joke with your followers, showing that you “get” them. Specialized merch is a great way to make your audience “feel seen.”

10. LinkedIn

Source: LinkedIn Life via Instagram

Location: Sunnyvale, CA

Instagram: @linkedinlife 

LinkedIn has the image of the “buttoned-up, professional” among social media platforms. Company swag can shape how your brand is perceived, so by teaming up with Converse, LinkedIn showed the world that they, too, can be relaxed and relatable.

However, these simple sneakers don’t go so far off-brand that they don’t feel like LinkedIn, and that’s why they work. They add a new dimension to viewers’ perception of LinkedIn’s brand without contradicting its persona.

11. Sneaky Pickle

Source: 𝕊𝕟𝕖𝕒𝕜𝕪 ℙ𝕚𝕔𝕜𝕝𝕖 via Instagram

Location: New Orleans, LA

Instagram: @yousneakypickle 

New Orleans restaurant and bar, The Sneaky Pickle, leaned into its funky, offbeat vibe to create eye-catching custom T-shirts. The design was the creative brainchild of its owner: “I actually design all of the merch. And my business has been taking off with tons of other restaurants and businesses inquiring for designs.”

Tip

Consider tapping into your skill set or using online design tools to create merch designs as The Sneaky Pickle’s owner did. Not only can DIY design save you money, but it’s also a way to personalize your branded merch even further.

12. Dunkin’

Source: Dunkin’ via Instagram

Location: Canton, MA

Instagram: @dunkin 

Super Bowl commercials are often trend-starters, and at the 2024 Super Bowl, Dunkin’ featured a parody boy band known as the DunKings. But that’s not all they did—they also dropped DunKings tracksuits, which sold out almost immediately and led to eBay bidding wars.

Tip

If your brand has a following, stoke interest in swag with merch drops. You can build anticipation for the drop ahead of time, counting down on social media and teasing the merch before it’s available. It doesn’t even have to be a traditional drop—engage your audience with a raffle or contest to build hype. 

13. Dreamstate Brewing

Source: Dream State Brewing via Instagram

Location: Fort Lauderdale, FL

Instagram: @dreamstatebrewing 

These long-sleeve T-shirts by Dreamstate Brewing explore their outer-space brand aesthetic a bit further. The design evokes a sense of mapping out ideas and experimenting with what’s possible through rough sketch-like line drawings and a bold font that feels like handwriting on a notebook page.

Brainstorm the stories you can tell with your company swag. Dreamstate’s shirt design communicates the brewery as adventurous and experimental, just like their beers. Remember, stories are powerful, and effective company swag designs can tell a brand’s story impactfully enough to attract new customers.

Tip

Although T-shirts are a popular type of merchandise, they’re not the only custom clothing options VistaPrint offers. Take a look at aprons, polos, socks and more.

Headwear swag ideas

14. Creamies

Source: Creamies Ice Cream via Instagram

Location: Various

Instagram: @creamiesicecream

Premium ice cream brand Creamies, serving customers since the 1950s, designed hats and T-shirts bearing their iconic logo. The merchandise is fairly understated; swag doesn’t need to be complex or even a vehicle for brand recognition. Because Creamies is a long-established business, this merch is simply a way for clientele to showcase their love for the brand. 

Tip

Sometimes all swag needs to do is offer a way for loyal customers to wear the logo of a brand they love.

15. To the Moon

Source: VistaPrint via Instagram

Location: UK

Instagram: @tothemoon.uk 

Luxury candle brand To the Moon worked with VistaPrint to design white embroidered baseball caps for swag with a subtler touch. A minimalist design can be a sophisticated way to promote your brand, even when it’s juxtaposed with a casual item like a cap. Sometimes, your logo is all you need on a piece of merchandise. 

When designing your company swag, think about whether your brand identity is more subtle or maximalist. Do you offer a wide range of products or services, or just one? How does your target customer tend to style themselves? While there’s such a thing as having too little of your brand in your merch, there’s also such a thing as having too much.

Tip

Sometimes, less is more! Start with a subtle design and go bolder until your swag matches your brand’s energy and identity.

16. Gold Dust Hair Studio

Source: golddusthairstudio via Instagram

Location: San Antonio, TX

Instagram: @golddusthairstudio

Gold Dust Hair Studio, an eco-friendly salon that recycles and repurposes all waste materials and hair clippings, was inspired by the colors, atmosphere and people of the salon to create this line of merch. When we asked the salon owners why they wanted to create company swag, they told us it felt natural to lean into its cute, creative brand. Turns out, it really paid off!

The owners told us, “It has created constant free marketing for us. We have had many new clients call for an appointment just out of the curiosity of a shirt they saw on someone out at the mall. This got them to look us up, engage in our website and click on our socials.” 

17. Water’s Edge

Source: Water’s Edge via Instagram

Location: Mt. Pleasant, SC

Instagram: @watersedgeshemcreek 

Knowing that their customers needed a way to keep the sun out of their eyes at their cabana bar, Water’s Edge designed these caps using brand fonts and colors. The custom caps feature Water’s Edge’s logo, with “cabana bar” in capitals underneath. That way, anybody who sees one instantly knows what kind of business Water’s Edge is and where to go for their next ice-cold drink.

Tip

Think about ways you can lean into the lifestyle your brand promotes. If you’re all about having fun, bucket hats could be a better fit than baseball caps or other hat styles. Design the kind of merch you’ve seen your audience wearing and if you aren’t sure what they wear, research this before you start the design process.

18. Tarpon River Brewing

Source: Tarpon River Brewing via Instagram

Location: Fort Lauderdale, FL

Instagram: @tarponriverbrewing

Tarpon River Brewing’s bright orange caps cleverly match the shade of their craft beer. They’ve got camouflage hats in the same line, evoking an outdoorsy lifestyle. As you design your company swag, think about creative ways to incorporate or suggest the lifestyle your brand promotes. For Tarpon, it’s all about the outdoors. For you, it might be an eco-friendly, sustainable lifestyle. 

Tip

Explore who your customers are and how your brand relates to their identity, which will help you design company swag that appeals to them.

Drinkware swag ideas

19. Cooperative Coffee Roasters

Source: Cooperative Coffee Roasters via Instagram

Location: Asheville, NC

Instagram: @cooperativecoffeeroasters 

For coffee shop company swag, mugs are a no-brainer, especially if the clientele can bring them back to the shop for a refill. Aiming to build that close relationship with their customers, Cooperative Coffee Roasters designed distinctive mugs based on old-school diner designs. 

Tip

When designing your company swag, think about your relationship with customers or clients. How can the merchandise strengthen that bond or enhance their experience with your brand?

20. Broken Tart

Source: Broken Tart via Instagram

Location: Oak Park, IL

Instagram: @brokentart 

When designing their company swag, Broken Tart knew all too well that people wanted a cup of coffee to go with their baked goods. The bakery released two custom mugs to promote the brand and give customers something useful. By offering both a classic ceramic mug and a screwtop lid option, they covered all bases: lounging at home and busy days on the go (that hopefully includes a stop at Broken Tart!).

21. Greiser’s Coffee and Market

Source: Greiser’s Coffee & Market via Instagram

Location: Connecticut, USA

Instagram: @greisers

Connecticut coffee shop Greiser’s hometown, Easton, has been officially named the Christmas Tree Capital of Connecticut (CTCC) because it has more tree farms than anywhere else in the state. People visiting between Thanksgiving and Christmas are a huge source of traffic for the store, so Greiser’s decided to capitalize on that seasonal boost. Sales of the coffee shop’s branded caps and mugs also support Easton tree farms, meaning Greiser’s merchandise directly benefits their local community.

Tip

Consider how your company swag can give back to your local area or community. This will help build more meaningful relationships with your audience.

22. 3|SHARE

Source: 3|SHARE via Instagram

Location: multiple locations

Instagram: @weare3share 

Because its teams have always been remote, 3|SHARE employees only occasionally meet face-to-face at company gatherings where company swag is distributed. The company, therefore, chose swag that fits their team members’ work-from-home and digital nomad lifestyles: mugs and refillable water bottles. These were part of a swag box given to employees, a long-standing tradition at the company. 

3|SHARE also gives all new employees merch as part of the onboarding process, “making them feel like they are part of the team in a tangible way. Swag is a simple way to build unity when people can’t be together,” they told us. 

While making team members feel appreciated and encouraging them to share the brand on socials, the swag positions the brand as aspirational, showcasing employees’ pride in the company. This is one of the ways promotional products can solidify your brand and grow your business.

Tip

Custom drinkware is an enduring swag choice for two reasons: it’s durable and everybody uses it. Your business can increase recognition and recreate the success of the brands featured here by making it easy for people to enjoy a drink in your branded vessel.

Sticker swag ideas

23. Ocoee Coffee Joint

Source: Ocoee Coffee Joint via Instagram

Location: Ocoee, TN

Instagram: @ocoeecoffeejoint 

Who doesn’t love a good sticker? Especially one you can stick on your coffee mug or laptop? Ocoee worked with an independent artist, William Nealy, to create these stickers. The business owner wanted to create something that appealed to the rafting and outdoor community they cater to in Ocoee. “I wanted to make something that portrayed all the fun that’s had out there on the river,” the owner of Ocoee Coffee Joint told us.

24. Brick West Brewing Co.

Source: Brick West Brewing Co via Instagram

Location: Washington, USA

Instagram: @brickwestbeer 

Brick West Brewing Co.’s industrial brand look shines through in their swag, with all items featuring heavy white font on a bold red background. Covering all bases, Brick West Brewing Co. offers a wide range of promotional products to appeal to a broad customer base, including beer koozies and beer glasses.

Tip

When you create your unique company swag, you don’t have to limit yourself to one kind of item. Like Brick West, you can create a diverse line that appeals to a range of buyers and fits a variety of budgets. When you’ve got variety, customers have options.

25. Peaceful Side Social

Source: Peaceful Side Social via Instagram

Location: Tennessee, USA

Instagram: @peacefulsidesocial 

Recognizing that stickers are a hot ticket item among craft beer fans, this Tennessee brewery made them a big feature of its merchandise line. One of a frothing beer glass and the other of a tasty-looking snack containing the Peaceful Side Social logo—the fun illustrated stickers perfectly align with the brand’s identity. 

Tip

Sometimes, company swag just needs to feature your brand colors. Although detailed, complex products can be valuable, something more subtle, such as using your logo, can be just as effective.

Think-outside-the-box swag ideas

26. Loews Hotels

Source: by Soboconcepts for Loews Hotels via Instagram

Location: Miami, FL

Instagram: @soboconcepts 

One fun way to personalize your company swag is to incorporate your location in some way. It doesn’t have to be straightforward, like a skyline, either. Loews Hotels created these deck chair phone holders in a fun nod to their Miami location. Swag can be functional or purely fun. The right balance for your brand depends on what your brand does, and for a hotel chain that welcomes vacationers, a fun little phone holder is the perfect way to promote the brand.

27. New York Post

a canister of red and white gummy candies

Source: New York Post via Pinterest

Location: New York, NY

Instagram: @nypost

Consumable swag is a delicious way to make an impression. The New York Post did this brilliantly with branded buckets of gummy bears featuring a witty phrase. Promotional products like this can be a great gift for collaborators, office visitors and event attendees.

Think about where and how the recipient will use your swag, like how the New York Post created a shareable office pick-me-up. Maybe your merchandise will become a valuable tool in its receiver’s toolkit or make weekday lunches easier. Focus on the user’s experience with your swag.

Tip

With food swag, it’s often best to steer clear of nuts and dairy. You never know who has allergies!

When you’re brainstorming company swag ideas, don’t limit yourself to items you’ve seen other brands offer. Think outside the box and explore creative options, like customizable puzzles and plant kits. Loews and the New York Post knew their audience and created unique items that they would enjoy. Think about innovative ways you can stick in your target customer’s mind as you design your next piece of swag.

Design the kind of company swag you’d want to receive

When you have great promotional products, people won’t just be happy to receive them; they’ll line up around your booth, enter giveaways and follow your brand more closely for new merch drops. The key is to create something people are excited to receive and keen to hold on to. “Bringing your brand and business to life on physical products has the power to strengthen customer relationships and even open up new revenue streams,” explains Llorenç Sola, General Manager of VistaPrint Promotional Products, Apparel and Gifts.

As shown in the examples in this article and as Llorenç Sola points out, “great swag and memorable merchandise is an effective and authentic way to grow your business, while tapping into the fun and creativity of the design process.” Once you’ve got something that grabs the right kind of attention, you’re on your way to replicating the success of the brands we’ve featured.