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Design Your Own Mug: Drink In Style

Whether you want to design your own mug just for fun, for promotional reasons, or to sell, a coffee mug can be an ideal pick for many purposes. Here’s everything that you need to know about designing and printing your own mug. 

Ways To Design Your Own Mug

Screen Printing 

Screen printing is a fascinating process in which ink goes through a mesh screen and over a stencil, creating the desired image. Screen printing effectively is a fairly complex process that requires some know-how, so you’ll want to hire a graphic designer who has experience in this area. 

Screen printing is great because you can print smaller batches or even custom products so you can potentially offer your customers a degree of customizability. This is also a fairly budget-friendly option that can be mass-produced, saving you money on your advertising costs.

Transfer Printing

This technique requires hand labor, which makes it a much more expensive option. It is also considerably slower. However, this method had the advantage of being much more flexible in the number of colors you can incorporate. 

It does well with a fair amount of detail in the mugs as well. If you have money to spend on your promotional mugs or you just want to design a gorgeous mug for your own uses, transfer printing is a good way to do it.

Digital Printing

This is a good option for photographs or cartoon images. If you want very bright, bold colors, it may not be as good of a choice. However, this technique produces very high-quality mugs. 

Because a degree of hand labor is required, this is one of the more expensive options available and may be outside of the budget for most people when it comes to casually printing your own mug for fun or promotional purposes.

Dye Sublimation

This is one of the best methods for putting an image or design onto a coffee mug. Organic color dyes and heat transfer are used to put artwork on the mug. 

This will result in a mug that still looks bright and beautiful even after it’s been used for years. If you want to make a lasting impression with a very high-quality and beautiful mug that is made to last, this might be the right choice for you. 

Using Mugs for Promotion

Mugs are an excellent promotional item for a couple of important reasons. When you are choosing how to spend your promotion dollars, you need to be careful. Poorly spent promotional dollars can cost your business in a very real way. 

Not only will bad promotional spending be a waste of money, but associating yourself with an inferior product can have long-standing consequences on your reputation with a customer that will surely not be what you had hoped for when you decided to do a giveaway.

If you are trying to make a wise decision about what to use for promotion, a coffee mug has a couple of advantages:

  • Useful. The vast majority of Americans drink coffee or tea, so the chances are good that a promotional mug will come in handy. Even if customers have their own favorite mug, most people choose to keep a couple of extras around for friends or family. 
  • Positive associations. For many of us, that first cup of coffee in the morning or cozy cup of tea at night has some very positive associations. That’s not a bad connection to make to your business.
  • Frequent use.People use coffee mugs every day or even multiple times a day. That makes it more likely that they will remember the messaging and form a positive association with your business.

Print-on-Demand Mugs

Print-on-demand is a great option if you want to create designs for sale or promotional uses, but you don’t want to manage a lot of inventory. It could be a great option if you want to have access to promotional mugs when you need them, but you don’t want to commit to producing a large number of mugs. 

As an added benefit, print on demand services take care of a lot of the aspects of printing for you, making it much easier. All you need to do is work with a graphic designer to create a great design for your mug, put your design up with an on-demand service, and encourage customers to buy it or buy a number of them as needed for promotional purposes. If you’d like to try selling your own mug design, but you’re not sure how it’s going to go, a print-on-demand service may be the perfect solution. 

What Kinds of Designs Work Well for Coffee Mugs?

Whether you want to sell your own coffee mug with a unique design or use them for promotional purposes, you want to choose a design that works well. All kinds of different designs can look great on coffee mugs, but there are some important things to keep in mind depending on what kind of printing process you’ll be using and what your goals are in designing a coffee mug:

Vibrant Colors are More Challenging

For many types of printing, vibrant colors offer more significant challenges. If you have chosen one of the more affordable options for printing your coffee mug, you may find that the colors are not as vibrant as you had hoped. 

Even if you have paid for the highest quality printing, bright colors have a harder time remaining consistently vibrant, on average, compared to more discreet colors. Another important note to keep in mind about coffee mugs is that they are typically used in the morning, so you may want to choose a more mellow and less abrasive design.

Complexity is The Enemy

Very complex designs can be more difficult to print, but more importantly, an extremely complex design is harder to see and understand clearly on a small space like a coffee mug. You may be surprised by how much more intricate a design appears on a mug than on drafting paper. 

It can be very tempting to design a beautiful and complex image or print photographs, but in general, it is best to choose a simple, straightforward design that looks attractive on a breakfast table and communicates your brand effectively.

Be Original and Niche

Whether you’re trying to sell coffee mugs yourself or are using them for promotional purposes, you want your mug to stand out. Ideally, customers will feel something special about the mug. Consider focusing on your area, pick a subject that is relevant to your customers, or in some other way, find a niche where you can excel.

Pick a Great Graphic Design

If you like the idea of designing your own coffee mugs, your first step will be to pair with a quality graphic designer who can make your dream a reality. A graphic designer will work with you every step of the way to make a mug that is memorable and effective at accomplishing your goals. Furthermore, a quality graphic designer will have contacts in the printing industry to help you get the best deal and quality for your mug. Have fun working with your graphic designer to design a great mug, and enjoy drinking in style. 


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