In order to sell a lot of merch, you need to come up with designs your audience will love. However, if you’re releasing several new merch collections a year, then you may feel like your well of ideas has dried up. Don’t worry, though! You can get your creative juices flowing again with a little bit of brainstorming.
Here are four ways to brainstorm design ideas for your next merch collection.
1. Hold an art contest for your fans.
Since your fans are the one who will be buying your merch, why not let them help create the designs? Hold an art contest for your fans where the prize is having their design turned into merch. Have them submit their creations on social media under a certain hashtag so that others can see what they’re doing and get involved.
You can either have other fans vote for the winner or choose the top design yourself. Once your winner is chosen, be sure to compensate and credit the original designer. Purchase the rights to the artwork from them and include their name in the product descriptions.
2. Recreate your channel logo or previous designs in different art styles.
You can also build on the popularity of your previous merch designs. Take your channel logo or another design your audience loved. Then, recreate it in a different art style. For example, if your previous collection included a popular pop art design, then you might reimagine it in the style of cubism.
If you don’t feel like your artistic talents are up to par, then you could also hire a freelance graphic designer. Send them your original design along with a description of how you want it changed. Ask them to create several different variations. Then, have your audience vote on their favorite one.
3. Experiment with a different medium.
Instead of working in a different art style, you could try working with a different artistic medium. If you usually use InDesign on your laptop or ProCreate on your iPad, try picking up a sketchbook instead. You could even get more experimental, using paint or clay.
Let yourself create freely. Sketch a new channel logo. Sculpt characters out of clay. Warp your design into different shapes. When you’re done, step back and look at what you’ve made. Imagine how it would look on a t-shirt or mug. Then, translate that design into a digital medium.
4. Choose an iconic movie scene, album cover, etc. to parody or recreate.
Parody enables artists to take a measure of creative license when repurposing copyrighted designs. Take inspiration from your favorite movie scenes, album covers, logos, etc. The more recognizable your sources of inspiration are, the more clearly your parody will come across.
For example, you might recreate the Beatles’ Abbey Road cover with three of your friends. You could draw your first initial in the style of McDonald’s famous Golden Arches, or you might pose with your pet in a parody version of the bicycle scene from E.T.
For your next merch collection, think outside the box with your designs. Collab with your fans, take inspiration from your favorite iconic designs, or try working with different design tools.
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Kristen Harris enjoys listening to a wide range of music, from Taylor Swift to, on occasion, Celtic instrumental. She also spends her time writing, reading, and baking.