July 9, 2024

Why Branded Merch is Trending Again

Have you noticed a new trend emerging? Brands are no longer just selling products—they’re becoming lifestyle brands with their own merch lines. From fashion companies to food brands, it seems like everyone is jumping on the merch bandwagon these days. But there’s a fine line between creating cool, covetable merch that fans love and just slapping your logo on a t-shirt. The best merch manages to capture the essence of the brand while feeling distinct and desirable in its own right. It’s walking billboard meets must-have item.

The Merch Craze Taking Over the World (And Your Closet)

In the world of branding and marketing, merchandise (or “merch”) has become an indispensable tool. But what exactly is driving this trend, and why is it so essential for brands today?

  1. Brand Loyalty and Identity: Merchandise helps solidify a brand’s identity and fosters a deeper connection with consumers. When people wear or use branded items, they become ambassadors of that brand, expressing their loyalty and aligning with its values.
  2. Extended Reach: Branded merch extends a brand’s presence beyond traditional touchpoints. It’s not just about wearing a t-shirt; it’s about creating a mobile advertisement that travels wherever the consumer goes.
  3. Community Building: Effective merch can help build a sense of community. It allows consumers to feel like they’re part of an exclusive club, sharing a connection with others who appreciate the same brand.

Examples of Successful Merch Drops

At Commence Studio, we’ve had the pleasure of working on various successful merch projects that exemplify these principles. Here are some notable examples:

Blackbird: From socks to enamel pins and t-shirts, Blackbird‘s merch captures the brand’s edgy and modern aesthetic, making each piece a statement of style and affiliation.

Home Means Nevada: Our cut-and-sew boardshorts project for HMNV not only showcased their commitment to quality but also reflected their adventurous spirit and connection to the great outdoors.

Gravallese Co.: These shirts are not just apparel but a canvas for Gravallese‘s artistic expression, merging fashion with fine art.

Derby Barber & Supply: We created unique designs for Derby events, turning what could be a simple piece of clothing into a collectible item that fans eagerly anticipate.

Deso Supply Co: While their primary revenue is from selling technical apparel online, their graphic tshirts and hat collections turn heads and profits.

Free Lap: From bottles and hats to cycling kits, Free Lap’s merch is all about functionality and style, catering to the needs of their active community. They release limited edition collections to draw demand and keep a cycle of fresh merch in rotation. Pun intended.

Tips for Creating Covetable Merch

Creating merch that people actually want involves more than just putting a logo on a product. Here are some design tips to ensure your merch hits the mark:

  1. Understand Your Audience: Know what your audience values and what they find appealing. Your merch should resonate with their lifestyle and preferences.
  2. Focus on Quality: High-quality materials and craftsmanship are essential. People should feel proud to wear or use your merch, which means it needs to look and feel premium.
  3. Keep It Subtle: Avoid making your merch look like blatant advertisements. Subtlety can be more powerful, with designs that reflect the brand’s ethos without screaming for attention.
  4. Stay Relevant: Incorporate current trends and cultural moments into your designs. This keeps your merch fresh and relevant, increasing its desirability.

The Risks of Merch Mania

While the benefits of branded merch are clear, there are also risks if not done thoughtfully. Over-saturation or poorly designed merch can backfire, making your brand seem desperate or out of touch. The key is to strike a balance between brand representation and creating genuinely cool products.


The merch craze is only getting bigger, and it’s clear why. Done right, branded merchandise can enhance brand loyalty, extend reach, and build community. Whether you’re a brand looking to launch your own merch line or just a consumer trying to decide if that branded hoodie is worth it, understanding the nuances of successful merch design is crucial. At Commence Studio, we’re excited to help brands navigate this exciting trend and create merch that truly stands out.

Don’t be the last one to hop on this trendy train—embrace the merch craze and watch your brand’s influence grow.