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Blog / Style & trends / 11 Political Merchandise Ideas—the Ultimate 2024 List

Style & trends

11 Political Merchandise Ideas—Your Ultimate 2024 List

11 Political Merchandise Ideas—Your Ultimate 2024 List
Karlina Rozkalne

By Karlina Rozkalne

10 min read

Showing support with promotional products during elections is a long-standing tradition that dates back to the 1st presidential election. In 1789, George Washington’s victory was commemorated with inaugural buttons.

Fast-forward to today and people still show their support by buying and selling political promotional items. What has changed is the scale, impact, and revenue of merch. After all, virality is the new currency. That’s why campaign merchandise can be a million-dollar endeavor for those who know how to use it.

You can tap into this lucrative market with 0 financial risk by selling merchandise with on-demand dropshipping. The time to start designing custom promotional products is now—the 2024 US election is ramping up already. Let’s cover 11 political merchandise ideas that can capture the spirit of a campaign and engage potential voters, focusing on tried-and-true, profitable classics.

This article will also be useful to those looking for ​​political campaign giveaway ideas. Campaign giveaways give voters an easy way to demonstrate party affiliation in rallies and elsewhere.

Disclaimer: Printful as a company doesn’t endorse or support any political parties, views, or candidates. Our election merchandise imagery is for illustrative purposes only and should not be interpreted as an endorsement or support of any political figures or their campaigns, now or in future elections. 

Why political merchandise is a business opportunity for 2024

Political candidates in 2024 have bigger political advertising spending than ever: about $10 billion. A portion of the campaign budget will go toward promotional products because, in the past, merchandise revenue has been key to small-dollar fundraising.

This year, more than 160 million Americans are registered to vote. Compared to past election cycles, Americans of voting age are paying more attention to the 2024 presidential election campaigns. They’re also more motivated to vote this year.

a graph with numbers and percentagesSource: Statista

All this shows an ample market of engaged voters ready to support their favorite candidate. One of the best ways to do that (second only to casting a vote) is by buying products that show their engagement in the elections. But what are people looking for?

Design smart—avoid legal complications

When creating political merchandise for your store or campaign, be mindful of legal restrictions. 

Specifically, avoid using designs that directly represent a specific candidate or campaign name, image, likeness, slogan, or brand, all of which are subject to copyright protection. This includes anything officially registered or commonly associated with a particular political figure or campaign. 

Some candidates have taken legal action against creators of unofficial merchandise who have used their name, image, slogan, or brand without permission.

Your designs could also be blocked at the printing stage due to copyright infringement. To ensure the success of your merchandise and avoid legal pitfalls, focus on generic political themes or create original artwork that resonates with your audience without infringing on copyrighted material.

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Let’s move on to the promotional products that are proven election bestsellers. To avoid tying up (or losing) your money in inventory, we recommend selling political merch with print-on-demand. It gives you a risk-free way to sell promotional apparel and other items.

Custom printed or embroidered t-shirts are a quintessential item in political merchandise: they’re practical and highly effective at promoting election campaign solidarity. People wearing political t-shirts are essentially walking billboards that spread a campaign’s message far and wide. 

This visibility makes custom t-shirts invaluable for increasing political campaign recognition and supporter solidarity. Historically, t-shirts like Barack Obama’s “HOPE” shirt from his 2008 presidential campaign have shown the power of well-designed apparel to capture the public’s attention and drive both engagement and sales.

a t-shirt with a man wavingSource: Amazon

Browse Printful’s t-shirt selection to find your own political merchandise portfolio must-have.

Valuable read: 8 Best Quality T-Shirts for Printing

Just like tees, custom sweatshirts are an excellent product for political campaigns, offering both visibility and functionality. Always keep in mind the audience you’re designing for. For example, sweatshirts are especially appealing for campaign supporters in cold weather states, where people want to show their political allegiance while staying warm.

From a seller’s perspective, sweatshirts have a higher perceived value and can generate more revenue per item than smaller merchandise. Especially if they’re embroidered. In the example below, a seller created an embroidery design with the viral image of Bernie Sanders from the 2021 presidential inauguration.

The best approach to creating your political party merch offering is to have something for everyone. Ensuring your products range from affordable to premium means you cater to a wide audience, accommodating different budgets and preferences.

Custom caps can serve as election merch and as a unifying symbol for supporters, contributing significantly to brand identity and campaign momentum. Caps are also universally popular across different demographics and climates, ensuring broad appeal. From a sales perspective, caps have a high perceived value, making them desirable items that supporters are willing to invest in. 

A standout example of successful political caps comes from Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, which made “Make America Great Again” caps one of the most popular pieces of political merch in history. These red caps became a powerful symbol of the campaign. They were seen across media and at rallies, demonstrating how a well-designed cap can become iconic and central to a political movement. 

a red hat with white textSource: Trump Store

But it’s not just caps. Depending on what your audience likes, you can design and sell different custom hats with Printful: beanies, trucker hats, visors, and more. 

Given their versatility and broad appeal, stickers are a strategic choice for political merchandise. They can be put on laptops, notebooks, water bottles, and other personal belongings, offering supporters a way to showcase their political affiliation in everyday settings. 

One of the most famous examples is the “I Voted” sticker, symbolizing civic pride in the US. These stickers are handed out at polling stations on Election Day and are widely shared on social media by voters.

a woman taking a selfieSource: CNN

If you’re selling these custom stickers with print-on-demand, you can quickly create new designs based on the latest events or popular moments from a campaign.

Small and lightweight, personalized pins can be easily handed out at events, used as an upselling product during checkout, or mailed to supporters as part of promotional efforts. Pins are the oldest political promo merch on this list, dating back to the very first election campaigns

We recommend offering a variety of designs because pins are collectible pieces that people gather as mementos from different political campaigns.

Case in point—Franklin D. Roosevelt’s campaign pins from his unprecedented four-term presidency during pivotal times like the Great Depression and World War II. These pins were used as promotional tools but have since become cherished keepsakes embodying his era’s resilience and transformative spirit.

a pin with a man on itSource: Etsy

Since pins are inexpensive and complement other products like bags, shirts, and sweatshirts, consider adding them to your checkout flow.

Personalized patches are an excellent choice for political merchandise because people can easily add them to items they already own to show their political stance. It’s good for 2 reasons: your shoppers can support their candidate without cluttering their closet, and you get a bigger profit margin because of their perceived value.

Here’s a great example of embroidered patches used in political campaigns: the Ronald Reagan presidential campaigns of the 1980s. These patches were distributed to supporters and volunteers as tokens of appreciation and served as visible symbols of support for the Republican ticket during both of Reagan’s successful presidential campaigns.

a close-up of a blue patchSource: eBay

To increase the average cart value and maximize your profit, you can offer a complete set of matching merch. For example, create bundles with custom patches, tees, pins, custom drawstring bags, and phone cases.

Tote bags are practical, highly visible accessories with ample space for creative designs and messaging. They can serve as mobile advertisements long after the campaign has concluded, accompanying supporters to grocery stores, farmers’ markets, or daily errands.

If you sell totes with Printful, you can have them printed or embroidered on demand. Printed tote bags allow for intricate or photo designs, while embroidered tote bags are more suited for text-based designs and have a more tactile, premium feel.

You can let your shopper personalize their tote bags to cater to a wider audience, like in the example below.

a white bag with blue textSource: Democratic Stuff

Position custom tote bags as a better alternative to plastic bags or market them as fashion statements if your design allows it.

97% of Americans own a mobile phone. That means designing phone cases is a strategic move. Ensure you have a diverse collection of different designs and cases that are compatible with different phone models. With their highly visible nature, phone cases serve as constant reminders of the campaign message and can spark conversations in public settings. 

a white cell phone case with a man in a mugshotSource: Etsy

To ensure you have designs that resonate with your audience, create a phone case lineup before the elections and follow the campaigns for viral moments to capitalize on trending topics.

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Custom-printed flags offer a versatile way for political parties to promote their message and engage supporters. You can sell flags not just to supporters but also to political candidate teams! 

Voters may proudly display these flags outside their homes or businesses to promote a particular candidate or message. During campaign events or rallies, attendees may wave these flags to show their enthusiasm and solidarity. Flags can also be used to decorate campaign headquarters, parade floats, or event venues, creating a visually striking atmosphere that reinforces the campaign’s branding and message. 

a man a sign on a wallSource: Printful

Not many sellers have custom pet products in their product lineup, so designing political merch for pets could be a wonderful way to set yourself apart from the competition. Adding political-themed pet products to your dropshipping store taps into the deep sentimental care people have for their four-legged companions. 

For example, during the 2020 presidential election, Joe Biden’s campaign capitalized on the charm of his German Shepherds (Champ and Major) with merchandise like pet bandanas and toys featuring their images alongside the campaign logo. These items not only connected with pet lovers but also added a warm, personal element to the political messaging, enhancing their appeal.

a dog wearing a bandanaSource: Etsy

With Printful, you can design all-over print bandanas, pet bowls, pet leashes, and pet collars.

Drinkware is an excellent product group to add to your store. Mugs, tumblers, bottles, and glasses are daily essentials, providing constant visibility for any message they carry. Drinkware with political designs caters to passionate supporters who want to express their beliefs in every aspect of life, from home to office. 

Bernie Sanders’ campaigns creatively used drinkware, offering “Feel the Bern” mugs and water bottles that resonated with his younger, more digitally engaged audience. These products served as functional items and symbols of a broader social movement, enhancing their appeal and collectibility.

a white mug with a man in a suit and glassesSource: Coffee Mugs Never Lie

To expand your store’s product selection beyond the products mentioned on this list, you can visit our article on 23 best-selling print-on-demand products.

Time to create custom political merch

Now that you have a list of merch ideas you could sell on your store or use as gifts during public events, it’s time to start designing. Put your design on custom products and give election supporters a simple way to endorse a political candidate or political party of their choice.

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By Karlina Rozkalne on May 3, 2024

Karlina Rozkalne

SEO Content Writer

Karlina is an SEO Content Writer specialist at Printful. As a firm believer in attitude over aptitude, Karlina gives her 100% whenever she works on something new. Karlina spends her free time reading, traveling, and doing yoga.

Karlina is an SEO Content Writer specialist at Printful. As a firm believer in attitude over aptitude, Karlina gives her 100% whenever she works on something new. Karlina spends her free time reading, traveling, and doing yoga.