10 Unique Ways to Customize Your Swag

November 26, 2021

Does your swag stand out? Discover unique ideas to customize your merch!

When you give away your company’s swag, you want to ensure that the recipients will wear it, use it, and show it off for you.

Favorite swag box fillers include t shirts, water tumblers, and fitness gear. Remember that the swag box design makes an impression too.

10 Unique Ways to Customize Your Swag

We explore 10 unique ways to customize your swag so that it leaves a lasting impression.

How you customize an everyday t shirt makes a difference. When was the last time you saw puffy paint screen printing? Why not yours? It’ll bring back memories of the 80s and become a talking piece. Swag acts as an extension of the company’s brand. It also  

Other customization options include screen printing gradients, metallic ink printing, and liquid screen design. 

Before diving into the unique ways to customize your swag, we take a look at the design process. We also explore swag options.

How do you design swag?

Designing custom company swag takes a few steps. First, figure out how to best showcase your company’s brand. Next, profile your target audience. If you understand what they like, you can use puff paint screen printing on t shirt styles they’ll actually wear.


Make the design process collaborative, especially if your team will wear the items. It helps to take into account what items they would want to take home.


The swag design process benefits from advice from the swag experts too. They have data at their disposal. Plus they attend industry events that share innovative products and techniques on the horizon.


What swag do people actually want?

In 2021, custom swag boxes became a thing. They range from self-care to electronics. Part of the fun is checking out the custom swag box design. 


If you opt to give away single items, custom swag bags such as reusable totes remain a hit. Stress balls, hoodies, and portable LED lights are others.


The year 2020 turned things around. Healthcare-related promotional products saw a big uptick in demand. It became convenient to receive hand sanitizer, masks, and gloves for free. 


After logo-branded face masks, people enjoyed recycled fleece blankets, USB flash drives, jackets, and reusable grocery bags the most.

How can I promote my swag?

The best way to promote your custom company swag is to get it in front of as many people as possible. Attend industry seminars, conventions, and meetings. Also, set up booths at music festivals, sporting events, and team-building gatherings.


It’s important to get custom promotional products in as many hands as possible. Partnerships with professional sports teams reach thousands of spectators. Your logo on a rally towel reaches several eyeballs.


Ensure that your employees wear and carry your swag with them too. One of the best places to promote a brand is at the airport boarding gates. Since passengers must arrive with time to spare, they sit around and observe their surroundings for a while. They should also wear them to industry meetings, conventions, and seminars.


10 Unique Ways to Customize Your Swag

Here we explore 10 unique ways to customize your swag. Even though some are tried and true, you can request the technique on unique items.


1. Screenprint 

The screen print process remains the most popular technique for creating customized promotional products. Ink pushes through a mesh onto an item. The stencil helps press the company logo, text, or graphic onto gel bead packs, magnets, and hand fans. A squeegee ensures that the ink cleanly transfers onto the promotional items.

Custom screen printing means you can add your logo, some text, and a graphic to the promotional item. Swag screen printing allows you to add color, QR codes, and vectors too. While you cannot print copyrighted logos other than your own, you can add your social media handles and website address.


Photos courtesy of Urban Outfitters


When you work with professionals, they help you use the right amount of information for the space allotted. Professionals help you avoid overcrowding the area but still make an impact. They can also employ liquid screen design for custom business swag ideas.

For custom promotional swag, it’s OK to take some calculated chances. Swag printing is a creative process. If your branding leans corporate, it’s possible to use custom screen printing in a manner that respects the brand and gives it a unique twist.


2. Embroidery

An embroidery print design produces a unique way to customize your swag. It adds texture to the item. The color lasts longer and it works on tougher textiles such as leather.

Logo patches, scarves, screen cleaning microfiber cloths, and beanies are some items that benefit from embroidery.

To customize your swag embroidery kit, you’ll pick from direct flat embroidery and raised puff embroidery that looks 3D. If you prefer patches, pick from embroidered, woven, printed, and satin stitch. Hand the patches out as is or have the patches attached to your custom team swag apparel. 


Photos courtesy of Urban Outfitters


3. Embroidered Tag

It’s important to never miss a branding opportunity. Even the label on a t shirt, hoodie, or jacket benefits from an embroidery print design. An embroidered tag is a small space. It’s also an elegant detail that looks expensive. 

The tag offers a small area for embroidery print design, but it provides an impressive and unique custom swag detail.

Swag printing is about producing custom promotional products that deliver something extra special. Custom swag ideas focus on finding ways to set your items apart from others, even though they’re the same.

Photos courtesy of Urban Outfitters


Custom small swag bags are trending in 2021. Yours becomes different when you add an embroidered tag on the outside. The tag is a reminder that the custom swag bags came from your company.


4. Puffy Paint on Sweatshirt

Puffy paint was a hit in the 80s. The trend faded away as new fun ways to customize apparel came into the fold. However, all trends cycle back eventually. Tie dye was big in the 1960s. It made a comeback in the 1980s. The style continues to make small comebacks thereafter including in the 2000s and again in the late 2010s.

For puffy paint, consider making it a DIY workshop for your team. Purchase the paints in bulk; they are available in an array of colors. Plus, you can make your own with a few ingredients. 


Photos courtesy of Urban Outfitters


This activity is a unique way to let staff build their custom swag store.

Puffy paint designs for t shirts don’t need precision. Your team can brainstorm custom swag ideas. Then use stencils to create their designs. Once they dry, the apparel is ready to wear to team-building events.


5. Gradient Screenprint

In color, the gradient starts with one shade at one end. It finishes with another color at the other end. Often, the gradient starts with the lightest shade and ends with the darkest of one color such as blue. 

You can take a creative route with screen printing gradients too. This option offers another custom screen printing method. Pick one color and start with its light shade; it ends with its darkest. You can also use two colors that have nothing to do with each other such as yellow and blue. Begin with one and end with the other.

Those with screen printing gradients experience use several colors. The result is a 3D effect that looks cosmic and truly unique custom swag.


Photos courtesy of Urban Outfitters


Also known as color progression or color ramping, gradient screen printing is a feat. The technique became a fashion trend in apparel, hair dye, and promotional items.

Gradient screenprint is a unique way to customize your swag. It’s possible to create a sunset on baseball caps, t shirts, and hoodies. Simple items become custom interesting swag.


6. Glass Etching 

Glassware is beautiful on its own. It’s also a practical promotion collection that includes shot glasses, pint glasses, glass mugs, and glass goblets. As a customized promotional product, each piece becomes more beautiful with glass etching.  

When professionals employ custom etched window glass techniques, the item goes beyond doubling as a promotional item. It becomes swag that commemorates special occasions such as weddings, graduations, and anniversaries. 

Photos courtesy of Well Told

With a customize swag glass etching kit, professionals create keepsakes. If you give these custom business swag items away, they will likely receive good use. At the least, the recipients will display them as part of a collection or as a trinket.


7. Wood Etching

Wood etching is similar to glass etching, except it uses a different textile. Professionals begin with wood. They shape it with a customize swag wood etching machine. Then the artisans engrave or etch into it. 

Wood options include cherry, black walnut, cedar, and hickory. Oak and pine are other popular options.

Photos courtesy of Neighbor Woods


Signs, custom boxes, keychains, and cases are some of the products that wood etching creates.  

You can also order wood items such as cutlery boards, wine corks, and tokens. Then have them etched. The result is a work of art and custom interesting swag.


8. Metallic Printing 

Things that sparkle never go out of style. Metallic ink printing adds shine and color that is a step above basic printing. The technique takes custom screen printing up a notch too. It falls below foil printing but still gets the job done for those seeking the best value custom swag.


Photos courtesy of Moo, Shown: Tortoise Key Tag


Metallic ink printing is widely used for invitations, year-end reports, announcements, and other printed materials. Metallic screen printing works on fabrics and garments too. It leaves an attractive shine on apparel, paper, and solid materials.

The customize swag metallic printing press creates unique custom swag with sparkle. To add shine, the process combines copper, zinc, and aluminum particles. Metallic ink printing uses liquid resin and metallic pigment. It produces the typical silver and gold colors.  


9. Imprinting

If you hear someone say imprinting for promotional items, they refer to the graphic design. Umbrellas are practical items that are tough to customize. However, it’s possible to place an imprint on them.

It’s also possible to imprint backpacks, folding chairs, and large inflatables for trade shows.

Imprinting encompasses other custom screen printing methods such as heat transfer, pad printing, and laser engraving. Each method works for specific custom printed swag items. For example, pad printing works best on 3D shapes including mugs and keychains.


Photos courtesy of Blue Bottle Coffee


10. Debossing / Embossing

In interior design, one of the seven elements is texture. It helps build layers among the flat walls, tables, and flooring. If you opt for customize swag debossing dye, it adds texture to the promotional items. 

The technique creates a sunken relief often seen on metal nameplates, award plaques, and lift buttons. Keep in mind that this option consists of several customize swag debossing styles. It’s possible to deboss leather, use foil, and create a 3D effect. 


Shown: Public Supply and  Vienna notebooks


Embossing accomplishes the opposite effect. Instead of sinking, the logo, text, or print is raised. The process of embossing stamps the custom swag boxes, custom swag bags, and other custom swag items. 

Professionals create the templates with metal plates or dies and insert them into a press. The press closes on the custom promotional products. Depending on the material, the process uses heat that reaches up to 200 degrees F. The result is unique custom swag. 


What are the different types of swag?

Swag has evolved in the last decade. It went from pens, refrigerator magnets, and t shirts to hoodies, technology, and blankets. Reusable water bottles, totes, and reusable bags are popular items too. 

In 2020, demand for healthcare-related swag items saw an increase. Masks, hand sanitizer, and mask accessories became popular. Thereafter standard promotional items held their ground including print products, electronics, and apparel.

Stickers, note pads, and brochures fall into the print category. USB flash drives, mousepads, and speakers are items in the electronics swag bracket. You’ll find hats, polos, and vests in the apparel group. 


How can I get free swag items?

As a business, you can get free swag items from manufacturers when you order custom event swag in bulk. It’s also important to attend industry events. That’s how you find out what’s trending, what people enjoy, and what’s new in embroidery print design.

As an individual, free swag comes with signing up for credit cards at an event, attending concerts, and seminars. Sometimes you’ll run into people giving away swag to promote upcoming concerts.


What makes a good swag?

Remember that all swag has the same basic elements. First and foremost, it’s useful. It helps the recipient write a note. The item is something less than the recipient needs to buy for themselves. It’s also memorable. 

Swag has evolved. For a company, it’s an investment. You put it out into the world and can’t predict the type of return on investment it will produce. So it’s part of a marketing plan. However, it’s difficult to quantify the value provided exactly. Most companies agree that it works anyway.

However, you know that people will see it, especially if it’s interesting, unique, and eye-catching. 

Are you working on a similar project or campaign?