Mayer

Album artwork is another way you can promote your work.

Promotional swag has come a long way. People don't just sell or give away the same old print materials, stickers and coasters anymore. Some companies have started lining their booths with some wicked loot like mobile chargers, moleskins, water bottles and even umbrellas. It doesn't change the fact that there are a variety of ways to showcase your artwork, but part of navigating this territory is having a solid handle on what's hot and what's not. You need to know what sells and what your fans are going to like too.

It's like the infamous Flock of Seagulls haircut. It caught on for a bit, but it didn't have any lasting staying power. Some items might seem like a good idea, but if you're not careful they could also go over like Miley Cyrus' new image.

Once you've got that part sorted out, careful not to burn a hole in your pocket in the process of supplementing your promo goods. We recognize that suspender-wearing artists don't always have a lot of money to put towards merch, but after all, the right items should help drum up more recognition and sales for your work, and that's the point. Selling enough of your merchandise would ultimately make you a profit too.

One way to make sure people actually do remember you and your artwork is to include your name and/or website on every item. It might seem pretty obvious, but if people don't remember your name or know where to find you, they can't fork out green for your paintings, drawings or your Play-DOH sculptures either. It's just smart marketing.

So, let's take a look at the kind of stuff you can put your artistic stamp on.

Buttons

Yeah, we might be a little biased, but we think you could make effective use of buttons to show off your wicked pieces, and we've also talked a little bit about that on the blog already.

Simple, eye-catching, focused designs are where it's at.

Magnets

These things stay attached to people's cooling boxes for a long time. They're also handy for holding up pieces of paper, like to-do lists or groceries lists (or other super-secret ninja lists).

If someone buys your magnet, every time they go to grab some grub or a drink, they see it right in front of them. That makes you wonder: how many times do people look at their fridge in a day? Either way, you know that being there is going to keep you top-of-mind.

Postcards

Postcards are great, because you can use the front side exclusively for your artwork. They're also quite cost-effective, both for you and your customers. You could use them as thank-you notes too, if you wanted to.

Stickers

Stickers have a lot of potential, especially when you consider the bumper-sticker realm. How awesome would it be to get people to be mobile billboards for your art? Getting more of your artwork in public is awesome promotion.

Coasters

Coasters have some practical value (although only Yuppies with expensive solid-wood tables seem to know why), and they are also ready-reminders of your artwork. Double-sided might be a good idea.

Hats

Hats sit on people's heads, and since humans are naturally drawn to people's faces, there is some great marketing potential here.

Shirts

This is where clever slogans could go a long way, right? If you've got a sir name that you could rhyme, combine with other words or make a clever pun with, even better. But don't worry; even if you don't have a cool name, there are a lot of other possibilities to consider.

Mugs

People drink out of these things all the time, so you know they like your stuff when they're practically drinking it. Just promise not to buy a bunch of plain Ikea mugs and paint them up with lead-based color, okay?

Flashlights

It's a strange phenomenon, but some people out there actually like camping. And what do they bring along when they camp? Marshmallows, of course! How could you possibly forget those soft, sugary cubes?

A practical person might bring along a flashlight. And maybe you could make them feel cool for having a unique one with your designs on it.

Mouse Pads

True, we have entered into the age of mobile devices, but some of us still rather prefer our desktop counterparts. Don't judge. Mouse pads would give you plenty of retail space to display your artwork.

Perhaps you could also look into smartphone protectors or tablet holders if you feel it prudent to go in that direction.

Towels

Why people choose to get wet and then dry off so often is a bit of a mystery, but they do. That's when these things called towels come in handy, and it's another place you could put your artwork.

Other

If you've already exhausted your options with the above list, don't worry; there's still plenty of fun, odd, impractical and tacky stuff to explore. Some of it might be effective, some may not play host to your artwork very well. It might be wise to talk to other artists as well as your supplier and see what is working well for them. In any case, here is a not-so-comprehensive list of other swag you could have made up if you were so inclined:

  • Paperweights
  • Pens
  • Stress balls
  • Mint tins
  • Tote bags
  • Backpacks
  • Mobile chargers
  • Tablecloths
  • Moleskines
  • Reusable water bottles
  • Umbrellas
  • Notebooks & notepads
  • Sticky notes
  • Lip balm
  • Hand sanitizers
  • Laynards
  • Keychains

Image: JohnMayer.com