Blog / Style & trends / 37 Mug Design Ideas to Sell and Gift
Blog / Style & trends / 37 Mug Design Ideas to Sell and Gift
I don’t know if you prefer coffee, tea, or hot chocolate, but something tells me you’re a mug person. And since I’m good at guessing, you’ve probably been looking for mug design ideas on Google and Pinterest, right?
Search no more! Here you’ll find a list of the best mug designs for your online store or to give as a unique gift. From simple to more creative styles, we’re sure that by the end of this post you’ll feel inspired to make some amazing custom mugs.
And the best part? With print-on-demand, you can design them for free in just a few clicks (even if you’re not an artist or professional designer).
Happy inspo gathering!
Coffee is one of the most consumed (and beloved) beverages around the world. And custom coffee mugs are one of the most popular merch ideas online. Coincidence? I think not.
If you’re thinking of selling coffee mugs for your ecommerce business, there’s an infinite number of themes that can become interesting designs. But before you start, think of your audience’s preferences. The more fun and relatable your mugs are, the more likely they are to become bestsellers at your store.
One coffee lover recognizes another from miles away. And when they’re together they love to brag about their good taste and morning coffee routine. So we couldn’t start this list off without examples of coffee mugs with fun coffee quotes.
Pro tip: Make it personal, funny, or even sassy to connect with your audience.
Dog people and cat people may disagree on who’s got the best pet, but there’s one thing they have in common: their love for merch related to their furry friends. Pet lovers are a great niche to tap into since the pet industry shows no sign of slowing down—it keeps growing in the US and all around the globe.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t explore other interesting animals for your mug designs. Just take a look at this cute otter mug we found on Etsy. Otterly adorable!
While some people see their pets as kids, other people prefer to pour their love into plants. In fact, 7 in 10 millennials call themselves plant parents. Allow your creativity to blossom into fruitful designs for this wide audience.
A good slogan sums up the purpose and soul of a company. Does your business have one? Then it can go on a custom coffee mug! Check these examples from Page Six, the New York Post’s gossip site, and the fast food chain KFC:
Mugs have been one of the best company swag ideas for decades, and they’re super easy to make—especially with print-on-demand. The simplest way is just by adding your logo, turning an essential office object into a brand awareness tool for employees, partners, or customers.
If you have some artistic ability, your illustrations don’t need to be trapped in the wall art category only. They can also adorn coffee mugs as part of a whole home & living unique collection. And in case you think that’s not fancy enough, look how classy this Anthropologie mug collection is.
Pro tip: if you’re selling coffee mugs that are dishwasher safe, remember to add that information to your product descriptions.
Words are also art. And with the right font, they can become amazing designs for your coffee mugs. Don’t know what to write? How about terms related to the coffee universe, like these models from M&S London and Urban Outfitters.
Coffee and other caffeinated drinks can be powerful fuel for creativity. No wonder there are so many examples of creative mugs out there. Here you’ll find some of our favorites.
Humor sells. That means that putting a smile on your potential customer’s face can help you increase your store’s profit. Use this as part of your marketing strategy and watch the magic happen right before your eyes.
A small dose of sarcasm is also great to help you come up with some hilarious ideas like these:
Who doesn’t need a little encouragement in the morning? I sure do! That’s why motivational quotes are perfect for this kind of product. Not to mention that a mug with a positive message is also a great gift idea.
There’s so much pleasure in watching your favorite show or movie over and over again! What if we could turn that warm feeling into a product? Oh, wait! We actually can. How? By referencing famous scenes and quotes from your fave flicks to create your own mugs.
Pop culture can be a source of incredible fan art. Just remember to respect the intellectual property of others. Learn more about it in the post Can I Print That? Copyright and Trademark 101.
Sometimes less is more, especially if you’re unfamiliar with design software (or the fundamentals of design in general). But that doesn’t mean your coffee mug has to be boring, and our next examples are here to prove it.
Minimalistic products can be modern, cute, or even sophisticated and still connect with your audience. All you need are two or three colors and/or a clipart graphic to create a chic, simple design.
And you won’t even need Photoshop for that. Printful’s Design Maker offers a variety of fonts and images for you to design mugs and many other products online for free. Try it now.
From cave paintings to Picasso’s famous artwork, fine lines can communicate so much with so little. Line drawings can also become interesting mug designs that are as cool as they are easy to do—such a good option for DIY mugs!
Do you have something to say but don’t know how to express your feelings? That’s exactly what quotes are for. They’re a way of expressing yourself and interacting with pop culture without infringing on copyrights.
You could use quotes from:
From the shapes, colors, and techniques you choose, abstract painting has the power to bring all sorts of emotions to the surface: joy, calm, excitement. . . the possibilities are endless! But how can you express all of that with a mug? Watch and learn from these examples.
If you’ve ever worked in an office, you might have experienced an episode of “the missing mug.” That’s not a problem that someone with a personalized mug needs to worry about. So let’s see some examples of custom mugs that speak for themselves.
Why just print a name on a mug when you can add some personality too? Play with fonts and color palettes to make these mugs perfectly match their owner’s style.
Do mugs with names seem too cliché for you? It’s ok. We’ve got another suggestion: monograms. They’re elegant, stylish, and highly collectible. Combine these with background patterns or visual elements like colorful flowers for a more exclusive look.
Source: Free Stuff Finder
Are you a pet owner? If so, your phone probably has millions of cute pictures that you could simply stare at all day. Bring them into your daily routine by adding the good shots to your mugs.
They’d be even cuter converted into illustrations or with some fun editing like the examples below.
Mugs are the perfect product choice for personal designs. That might be the reason why they’re so popular with couples. A mug can be a romantic gift for anniversaries and weddings or just a sweet gesture to show a partner how much you care.
These mug designs prove that love is always in the air—even if you’re creatively blocked.
Love has no borders, and a good design can help reunite two hearts living far apart. This example featured on the Lasting Long Distance blog shows how LDRs (yes, they have an acronym) are a great niche waiting to be explored.
Source: Lasting long distance
The first “good morning” after tying the knot is one of the most special ones. And having a pair of mugs as a daily reminder of that day is always a good idea to make even the most bitter coffee that much sweeter.
From winning someone’s heart to maintaining a long-term relationship, humor is the key to a healthy relationship. Don’t you agree? So mugs with witty or playful artwork are an excellent gift idea.
Source: Prezzy Box
There are many ways of saying “you complete me.” Matching designs are one of them. And for store owners, they’re also a marketing move to double your income.
Pro tip: complementary prints also make great hoodie design ideas.
In the retail world, holidays are a great opportunity to boost sales. From Christmas to National Pizza Day, there are so many occasions to create seasonal mug designs.
Of course, you don’t have to make seasonal products for every holiday. Instead, pick the ones that fit your brand and are relevant to your audience. If your average buyer is someone who has kids, Easter designs might be the perfect gift idea for their little ones. If your brand is all about fun, quirky designs, then Halloween should be a must.
Whatever the case, our free ecommerce holiday marketing calendar will help you plan ahead. And, to ensure you’ll turn your seasonal mug design into profit, here’s a Holiday Preparation Checklist.
And here are some suggestions to inspire you:
Source: Hot Topic
Source: Dunn Directory
Source: Dunn Directory
A custom mug in the office can be a conversation starter (or a small talk avoider). It can also be a strategy to never lose your mug if someone happens to grab it by mistake in the kitchen.
Uncommon Goods offers custom mugs tailored to each team member, decorated with their names and favorite hobbies. It’s a great way to create some spontaneous team-building, don’t you think?
Source: Uncommon Goods
Online meetings have become part of a regular routine for many office workers. With them came a set of phrases that are the norm for every corporate video chat. In fact, many people can’t stand even hearing them anymore. But what about saying it with a coffee mug?
Source: New York Post Store
And for those who work on-site, some cliches never die, like that colleague who’s always too busy for a coffee break.
Fictional references can also make work more fun. There are amusing quips about teams from Seinfeld or Grey’s Anatomy, but it’s hard to think of a more iconic office reference than The Office. Just take a look at this hilarious mug design for lovers of the sitcom.
Source: Always Fits
The ultimate way to show you know your audience is by creating custom designs that speak directly to them. For this section, we picked some popular hobbies and interests—and some offbeat ones too, just to show you there’s a way to make money with any passion under the sun.
A 2022 report from Statista shows that cooking and baking is the number 1 hobby in America. Looking for ways to capitalize on this national pastime? Try printing recipes on a mug.
Source: The Recipe Preserve
Pro tip: Print your artwork in a ceramic mug with color inside to recreate this gorgeous effect.
In case you’re not aware, Millennials and Gen Z kids are obsessed with astrology and have turned it into a billion-dollar industry in the last couple of years. The result? Everyone wants a piece of the pie. Even Le Creuset, a premium design brand loved by kitchen professionals, launched a mug collection inspired by zodiac signs.
Videogaming also made the top 10 on the list of America’s most popular hobbies, but that doesn’t mean gamer mug designs are for everyone. To break into this niche, the best starting point is being a gamer yourself—or at least doing careful research.
That’s because, as in many communities, gamers like exclusivity. So the more specific, the better. The goal is to create a design only a true gamer would understand.
Sports are a niche with endless possibilities too. They can be superb gifts for so many different types of people—from NBA fans to triathlon athletes.
These licensed mug designs have the map of famous baseball stadiums—hallowed grounds for baseball lovers. Source: Uncommon Goods
Source: Uncommon Goods
And a map of the top golf courses across America is a cool idea for golfers to track where they’ve been (and where they want to go) while sipping their morning coffee.
For this hobby, mugs are more than souvenirs—they’re necessary companions for breakfast in the woods. Your design will be even more practical when applied to an enamel mug.
Source: Urban Outfitters
Just like gamers or sports fans, some professions are like exclusive clubs. If you get it, you get it. And if they get it, you can sell it. Check out these mugs specially made for developers and designers.
We promised we’d bring some quirky ideas to this list, so here you go. I heart guts is a brand that sells plush organs. Too specific? People who love science (and awkward toys) made the brand a hit. Now their product line also has a coffee mug collection full of anatomy fun.
Source: I heart guts
After seeing so many outstanding ideas, we hope you’ve picked up a few for yourself. And don’t worry if you lack the photoshop skills to make your coffee mug idea a reality, try out Printful’s Design Maker. You can access tons of different fonts, clipart, and templates that’ll give you the professional results you need—all for free.
Learn more: Brew-tiful Creations: How to Design Your Own Custom Mug
And remember that print-on-demand is an easy way to start your own online business if you need that extra push.
On-demand production and fulfillment lets you add a variety of different product designs to your store, but you only pay for the products you actually sell. That means endless design possibilities without losing money on unsold inventory.
Great way to experiment with a range of different mug design ideas, right?
Gabriela is a creative copywriter, professional blogger, and passionate content marketer with experience in publicity agencies and international companies. She loves sharing her ideas and new trends to bring inspiration to everyone around her.