You probably already know the importance of creating a clear brand identity for your band, but getting down to the nitty-gritty specifics of how to support that identity through merchandise can be overwhelming. Is a basic t-shirt enough? Or do you want to embrace prolific merchandising like the band KISS, who have created branded pinball tables, deodorant, lighters, trading cards, and even action figures? Most likely, you’ll want to land somewhere in-between. Whether you’re looking for classic or wild, consistent or limited releases, here are our top ideas for the best music merchandise.

Classic Band Shirts

Nothing screams music merchandise like the classic band tee. Popular since the 1960s, this staple of band merch is still most fans’ first stop when they’re looking to rep their favorite artists. This classic option is popular for a reason. T-shirts are comfortable, versatile, and are a great canvas for a variety of different types of designs.

While traditional colors and designs work for some artists, there are more options than the traditional screen-printed logo on a black cotton t-shirt. Think outside the box in terms of colors, logo placement, whether you’ll use an image or just design elements to create a truly unique representation of your brand. Plus, once you start thinking creatively about how to brand different pieces of apparel, you’ll hopefully be inspired to extend that creativity to leggings, hoodies, hats, and scarves.

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Personalized Patches (and Stickers)

For those fans who aren’t ready to commit to a full t-shirt repping your brand (or even better, ones who want to add your logo to something they already own and love) patches are a great, and subtler, way for your fans to support you. Embroidered patches can be added to coats, bags, and pants in a way that is more personalized to each fan. Stickers serve a similar purpose, perfect for laptops, guitar cases, and other hard surfaces. With both patches and stickers, your fans can do a little free advertising for you, placing your logo and band name in many places it might not usually be seen.

Sleeper Hit: Blankets

Branded blankets might not come to mind immediately when you think of band merch, but they’re the perfect thing to sell at outdoor concerts and festivals. Fans looking stake out a claim on a patch of grass? Good thing they have that blanket from their favorite band. Sun going down at a summertime outdoor concert? Blanket to the rescue for some cool and branded bundling up.

The Lumineers blanket
(Image via The Lumineers website)
 

Tote Bags for Everyday Use

Useful and versatile, tote bags are a classic piece of merch that shouldn’t be forgotten. Easy to customize by choosing different fabrics and changing the image, text, or logo, totes bags have the potential to be a daily use item in your fan’s life, meaning your band’s logo is being showed off all the more frequently. Make sure they’re wide enough that a standard 12’ vinyl fits inside so your fans can take them record shopping.

Janelle Monae Dirty Computer tour tote(Image via Janelle Monae's website)

Fun Extras

Outside of your larger merch offerings, it can be fun to really think creatively for other pieces of swag your fans will love. Think about your audience’s demographic, lifestyle, and where they might be listening to your music. If you have younger fans, fidget spinners or pop sockets could be popular. Some other fun options include tumblers, coffee cups, water bottles, and even koozies. You can really push past the expected, branding everything from flags to dog collars. These types of out of the box pieces of merchandise can show off your personality and help fans create a more personalized and emotional connection to your band.

Cardi B Bardi Gang flag(Image via Cardi B's website)

Merchandise will always be an important part of branding and marketing your band, and one of the best ways to get your audience engaged. It’s also a huge money maker. According to the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers Association's survey, music merchandise was a $3.1 billion industry in 2016. So before your next tour, festival or album launch, let’s chat! Our team of designers would love to work with you to create a line of merchandise that will help to grow your band’s name recognition and engage your fans.

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Alex Bair

Written by Alex Bair More by this author Arrow