If you’re a musician who wants to tap into show-goers’ “I want this now” impulse to buy some of your awesome band tees, posters, limited-edition pressed vinyl, and CDs at your concerts, you’ll need a killer merch table display. Here’s how Doers on a budget can create a one-of-a-kind merch display that pops out at passersby at concerts, and help you sell more swag.
Come up with the big concepts.
First, take inventory of your merch – posters, records, CDs, T-shirts, stickers, buttons, and so forth. Which items do you plan on selling at your shows, and which ones do you plan on putting on prominent display? For instance, if you just released a new album, you’ll want to display your latest record more prominently. Or if you just worked with a T-shirt designer to create a piece of clothing you absolutely love, drum up clever ways to display the tee.
Know what it is that you want to say. This goes beyond the genre your music falls into. It has to do with your music’s brand identity ( your musical body of work, as well as you and the members of your band are all part of this brand identity), and the general look of what you’ve already created.
“Try to have a point of view, agenda, or message that you are conveying through the design of their collateral,” says Hector Torres, a graphic designer at A Studio Named Desire. How will your merch display complement your music, your digital presence, and the other objects in the space?
Look for sources of inspiration.
Discover inspiration beyond merch tables of bands you liked. Did a visual display at a booth at a recent designer toy or comics convention catch your eye? Poke around the internet for clever ideas for displays that are cost-effective, or may need to bit of tweaking to make it budget-friendly and doable. Save them to a shared folder on the cloud, or create a Pinterest board.
Establish a budget.
Sure, it’s fun to have pie-in-the-sky aspirations for your merch table, like creating a elaborate, fold-out triptych. But you’ll need big bucks for something like that. Instead, figure out how much you can reasonably afford. Then figure out what you can realistically make. While you may not be able to go all-out right now, you can still have a killer display created by going smaller, or using less pricey materials. Maybe a well-designed banner with your band’s logo, along with some unique pricing labels and an email sign-up sheet will do the trick.
Find talented designers.
Scour Fiverr’s marketplace for qualified packaging designers and general graphic designers with print expertise. You’ll want to collaborate with talented designers who understand the message you’re trying to send out. Make sure you determine which ones have samples in the style you’re going for, and are in sync with your album cover art, aesthetic, and brand.
Bonus points if they know a thing or two about working with space constraints, as there’s a chance your merch table may be squeezed in a corner. And while you may not know the exact dimensions or space at the venue where you’ll be setting up shop, see if you can get dimensions of the table you’re bringing.
Be specific in your wants.
When working with designers, the more specifics and information you can relay, the better. This means everything from bands you admire, to the style you’re going for, and details such as colors, textures, and the type and thickness of paper stock.
Will you be dangling strings of twinkling lights? How about a smoke machine? To help designers help create print collateral that meets your vision, let them know what other tangible elements you plan on adding to the space to enhance concert-goers’ experience.
Ask for deliverables ahead of time. While, technically, you can get the labels and banners printed within 24 hours, you’ll want to have the prototypes and files delivered beforehand. That way, you’ll have ample time in case you need to make changes.
Creating a killer visual display for your merch table doesn’t have to be elaborate – or pricey. By being resourceful, knowing what you want and finding the right talent, you’ll create pieces that will help the stuff you have for sale pop.
Have you designed any merch for your band recently? What are your tips for a killer merch table? Tell us in the comments below!