10 Creative Tips to Update Your Employee Swag

June 21, 2022

Employee swag is an easy way to promote your company and make employees feel like they are part of the team. Receiving branded hats, tees, and hoodies at work is fun, especially if you open the shipping boxes together. Plus, it’s one less apparel item that they need to purchase for themselves.

We’ll provide several creative tips, employee swag examples to help you make confident choices. Research shows that the public judges companies by the swag that they distribute. It’s one reason why brands have started to distribute high end swag ideas and swag boxes.

For establishments such as coffee shops, restaurants, and bars, savvy owners can turn employee swag into merchandising opportunities. The public supports their favorite establishments in many ways. They’ll buy the goods and subscribe to the services. In addition, they’ll purchase versions of the branded tees that the staff wear. Patrons will also purchase branded mugs, totes, and hats.

So you can do a lot with best corporate swag ideas including selling it. 

Therefore, when you give employee swag to your team, pick from the best swag items that patrons will enjoy receiving and buying too.

What is Company Swag?

In 2022, company swag ranges from office supplies to apparel. You can also pick up technology, accessories, and kitchenware. Essentially, there is no limit on swag ideas for employees. 

Company swag is any item that you decide to give as branded gifts for employees or to distribute to targeted and wide audiences.  

Promotional swag ideas still include simple tees, baseball caps, and jackets perfect for corporate and small business swag. However, company swag ideas 2022 take each up another notch. For example, tees made from the best materials fall into high end swag ideas even though they are tees. 

To acknowledge milestones, consider giving staff swag comparable to the accomplishment such as luxury luggage, throws, and technology gadgets. For events, crossbody bags, insulated water bottles, and windbreakers double as popular marketing tools.

An estimated 72% of swag recipients pay attention to the quality of corporate swag that they receive including employees. Therefore, purchase from the best swag companies. If you need help impressing your target audience, Gemnote can help. Plus, we’ll answer the What Is Company Swag question with more detail as it pertains to your marketing goals.

Simple employee swag remains an effective marketing tool, especially for those who need small business swag options. Moreover, it satisfies the most number of employees. However, you can still dress up the merchandise with unique swag ideas.

Best Swag Items For Employee Gifts

Here we walk you through 10 employee swag creative tips and tricks to update your company promotional swag ideas with creative tips employee swag examples.

1. Add in More Color

When you add color, it makes the merchandise pop and stand out. It also differentiates it from other promotional items. 

You can pick up unique swag ideas from companies that already produce colorful merchandise. In these cases, the color schemes have already been professionally matched by a design team. Therefore, it saves you time. 

You’ll receive quality merchandise in carefully curated colors that take planners and office supplies, polos, and bags that creatively update swag ideas for employees. You’ll also notice that an array of promotional swag ideas are available in fun colors, patterns, and colorful styles. Simply pick the ones that best match your company’s culture. 

Shown: Lacoste Colorblock Polo, Areaware Everybody Bin, Urban Outfitters Crossbody Zip Pouch, Poketo Planners
Photos courtesy of Lacoste and Urban Outfitters

2. Add in Fun Illustrations

The star of your cool swag ideas for employees is your company’s logo. However, sometimes it’s appropriate to add fun illustrations.

For example, if your company has no logo and only uses its name to identify itself, you can add an illustrations next to the name as a fun update to your tee shirts

Illustrations come in handy for themes. For corporate retreats, conventions, and promotional swag items for events, illustrations complement text and the company’s logo. 

Sometimes you just want to put a smile on the faces of your staff. Thus, you can order silly company swag ideas, especially if it fits your organization’s culture. A tote bag with a welcoming illustration is among the new hire swag ideas to consider.

Shown: Madewell Positano Softfade Cotton Perfect Vintage Tee and Earth Tee , The North Face City Tee, Baggu Bag, Aimé Leon Dore  Bouquet Floral Tote Bag
Photos courtesy of Madewell, The North Face,  and Aimé Leon Dore

3. Curate Items for the Season

The best swag companies produce promotional swag ideas for every occasion including the seasons. A hoodie for fall, jacket for winter, and reusable tote bag for spring. For summer, pick up team merchandise ideas that protect against the sun, allow staff to enjoy the outdoors, and keep them comfortable in the heat.

Summertime is a great time to schedule outdoor activities with your staff. This means that giving them branded headwear where like a bucket hat  is a must.

For the fashionistas on your team, go beyond the tee. Crop tops remain in style and companies can customize them for branding purposes.

People must properly hydrate daily. When the temperature rises, it’s important to keep the hydration routine going and add some extra. A branded reusable water bottle hits the spot as a summer season swag idea.

Umbrellas protect individuals when it rains; they also protect them against the sun. Therefore, umbrellas are versatile items that double as unique swag ideas. It’s common to see people walking on the street in the summertime with umbrellas in cities such as Los Angeles. If you live in a rainy city, staff will enjoy having at least one extra umbrella in their reserves. 

Shown: Only Ny Pretzel Tee and Umbrella, The North Face Classic Bucket Hat, Kanteen and  Insulated Bottle
Photos courtesy of Only New York and The North Face

4. Don't be Afraid to Use a Modern Pattern

The origin of swag to describe promotional merchandise dates back to the late 2000s. As the culture changed and focused more on swagger, the best swag companies kept up with the trends. 

Another way to update employee swag is to keep up with the trends such as incorporating modern patterns. If you’re not sure what modern patterns look like, we have provided creative tips employee swag examples to illustrate the point. 

Modern patterns describe the styles currently hitting the runways in fashion shows. Those styles trickle into the department stores and become normal wear for the public for a year or two.

Keep in mind that some trends stay and some brands are known for them. This is also true for logo patterns on branded apparel.   


When you browse company swag ideas, keep in mind that you can also order branded gifts for employees such as novelties and games, like puzzles which can be designed from your branded artwork. 

Shown: Lacoste Unisex Polo and Windbreaker, Baggu Hat from Urban Outfitters, Areaware Puzzle 
Photos courtesy of Lacoste and Urban Outfitters

5. Use Trendy Retro, 90s Items

Sometimes it feels like the 90s never left. As GenZ finds its style footing, they end up borrowing from past generations, especially the tech-less trends.

Some apparel never goes out of style. They might receive a revamp but the basic piece remains. 

Retro is another style that comes and goes in different iterations. The style started in the 1970s. Now, the term retro describes styles from 20 years ago. Therefore, fashion from the 90s has become retro.

Hats and shirts are among the apparel items that come in all shapes and sizes manageable. A hat goes from plain to retro with the pattern.

Opting for styles from the 90s also gives best company swag for employees a cool update that they’ll enjoy wearing. 

Shown: Fitted tank from Urban Outfitters,  ASColour Surf hat, Only New York Bubble Crop Shirt, Aimé Leon Dore, Checkered Bucket Hat Champion Bomber Jacket 
Photos courtesy of Urban Outfitters, Only New York, and Aimé Leon Dore

6. Using Event Theme Branding/Artwork

Incorporating themes into events keeps them focused. These events serve as optimal times to have staff help promote the brand. When they wear swag items for events, others will see them and take note.

Whether they carry around a branded tote or high-quality reusable water bottle, it’s marketing that returns dividends after the initial investment. 

Photo courtesy of goodr and JJJJound Tote

7. Add in Something Unexpected as an Extra

Adding something unexpected, like a Swiss Army Knife, is a unique way to update employee swag. Moreover, it’s a great way to put together swag boxes for new hires and other staff milestones. 

The trick for successful branded gifts for employees is to give them items that they can use at the office or outside of it, like colorful enamel pins. 

Fun items for the kitchen like herbs jars are sure to put smiles on their faces. Recipients will also appreciate receiving practical items such as jars

Branded blankets keep staff members cozy while working in the office or remotely at home. It’s also a great option for new hire swag ideas. 

Shown: Fujifilm Instax Camera from Urban Outfitters, Only NY Lodge Logo Army Swiss Knife, Aimé Leon Dore Market Pin Pack, Rains Blanket
Photos courtesy of Urban Outfitters, Only NY and Aimé Leon Dore

8. Add in Office Supplies image

The office supplies at the office belong to the company. So why not give employees high-end and branded office supplies that they can keep?

Your company's human resources staff, marketing team, and those who give presentations might appreciate a set of durable markers. 

All employees who travel with their laptops will appreciate receiving durable laptop sleeves. And, to organize items or just add in a little fun, pencil cases and stickers answer the call. 

Shown: Baggu Puffy Laptop Case from Urban Outfitters, Aimé Leon Dore, Rains Pencil Case, A24 Sticker Pack
Photo courtesy of Baggu Puffy Laptop Case from Urban Outfitters Aimé Leon Dore, and A-24 Sticker Pack

9. Add in Sustainable Products

The first promotional item from the modern era is pens and several companies adopted them. Although effective and practical, pens have a short life span or recipients lose them. An update that many employees will appreciate is focusing on sustainable products.

High-quality reusable bags provide more than one sustainable benefit. They don’t require frequent replacing. Plus, you can use them as a swag box container.  The latest hip packs fall into the reusable bag category too.

In addition, receiving high-end branded dishcloths is a practical gift that staff may not purchase for themselves. For those who bag their lunches, bento boxes are a welcome gift. You can also give staff sustainable eyewear made from recycled materials which is a great seasonal item too. 

The most popular company swag ideas 2022 have the same characteristics. Each item is:

  • Reusable
  • Sustainable
  • Versatile
  • Convenient
United By Blue Kana x By Haus Swedish Dishcloths, Cotopaxi Waist Pack, Poketo bento box, Baggu Reusable Bag, Oceanides Eyewear, Reusable Stand Up Porter Bags
Photo courtesy of United By Blue (dishcloths)

Each of the items above fits the bill. For creative tips employee swag examples, this is just the start. Gemnote helps compaines optimize their options with customization.

10. Try New Customization Capabilities

When you’re on the hunt for cool swag ideas for employees, try new customization capabilities; it’s the most important of our employee swag creative tips and tricks. No matter what merchandise you give your staff, the difference maker is customization. 

Gemnote is a third-party swag and merchandise customization service provider specializing in sourcing the best swag for employees and more. The team provides team solutions for swag items for events, marketing, people and design.

If you’re not sure how to update your company’s employee swag ideas, let our team help you. We’ll provide employee swag, creative tips and tricks. Plus, we’ll discuss company swag ideas 2022. Our team follows the trends. Therefore we know the best swag items for employee options.

We ask questions that help us understand your needs and goals for promotional swag ideas. We’ll also help you understand what is company swag better. Then, we’ll offer creative ways to customize the items such as etching on drinkware and embroidery on tote bags. We also provide solutions for business owners and management interested in selling customized versions of small business swag or swag items for events but don’t have extra storage space available for them.    

First, we’ll curate the best company swag for employees. Then, business owners and management who decide to purchase additional cool swag ideas for employees to sell benefit from using our fulfillment and warehousing services. 

The benefits of adding corporate swag ideas to the marketing mix remain well-documented. For example, 85% of recipients state that receiving promotional items help them remember brands. 

A common question that marketing managers and business ask is What kind of swag do employees like? If you have established a solid company culture, the best swag items are those that complement it. For the financial industry, entrepreneurs, and sales teams, lean toward high end swag ideas such as luggage, technology, and high-quality apparel. Small businesses and startups can start with sustainable plant growing kits, drinkware, and electronic device covers. 

We’ll leave you with one more employee swag creative tips and tricks note. Essentially, think about the best swag items for employee options that you would want to receive. It’s the same items that will make great contents for employee swag bags and boxes.

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