Jacqui Vear

Posted on 13th November 2023
by Jacqui Vear

Branded mugs

You may have heard that Systematic HQ is having quite a major makeover at the minute, which is all very exciting. Yet we’ll let you into a bit of a secret! Big investments aside, it’s the little things that we’re often drawn to when we visit business premises.

We’ll take note of where there’s a quality, branded pen next to the visitors book, we’ll definitely pick up on whether the signage reflects the organisation’s current identity, and if we’re offered a drink, we’ll be as interested in the mug it’s served in!

We’re currently projecting forward beyond the dust and debris of our office refurbishment! We’ve immersed ourselves in the sustainable branded accents that are part of our day job too.

Accessories Project #1 – Mugs

Practical, durable, great for brand impressions and return on investment. In your office, featured in your video conferencing calls, popping up on your socials, we love them!

There is a mug ready to respond to every set of brand guidelines, let’s run you through headline decisions.

Shape and capacity – Reflect your target audience, are they big mug ‘builders tea’ kind of people, or looking for something reminiscent of café culture? You might build your brand on timeless values that you reflect in a classically styled mug or want to show your innovative side with a quirky shape. If you’re short on storage, stackable mugs are great, if you’re filling a dishwasher, an efficient shape is handy. Consider a life in the day of your new mug to maximise its usability, along with your brand impressions! These are the core shapes that most branded mugs are derived from. (They are at different scales, step one, focus on the core shapes).


Material – The most common option is stoneware, cost effective and familiar, as it’s the basis of most household dinnerware. Porcelain and bone china are premium options with a more limited range of shapes and colours. That said, they feel superior, something that users will often comment on.
On a more contemporary theme, you have enamel mugs, as pictured below. This retro style is particular popular with campers and gardeners. If you want to use mugs at giveaways at shows, enamel mugs are durable in transit.
With the modern agile workforce, you may want to consider thermal mugs, ready to support those working in the hybrid way whilst on the move. Designs have style and flexibility, lids may respond to health and safety requirements, whilst insulation keep a hot drink warmer for longer, great for busy people or those some distance from the coffee machine!

Branded enamel mugs from Systematic

Mug colour – The white default ‘Cambridge’ mug is showing its age. Recognising the power of mugs in brand marketing campaigns, the colour palettes of materials has really expanded over the last five years. Pantone matching for an exact brand fit is achievable, or select a base colour that will lend itself to Pantone matched personalisation. A colour might encompass your mug, including the handle and base, or you can include a contrast colour, typically inside the mug. Your colour can often be represented in satin or gloss finishes.


Printing – Different printing approaches lend themselves to different mugs and types of artwork. Direct screen printing applies spot colours to the mug, a process that works particularly well for large areas of solid pantone colours. The process is quick and cost effective. In transfer printing, the design is put onto special paper which is coasted and then applied by hand to the mug. It is a more labour-intensive process but supports detailed, tight registration designs, i.e. where different colours are close to one another. Dye sublimation printing uses organic colour dyes for bright, glossy results. A good choice for tonal and gradient colours and photographic images. The final option is digital printing. Instead of films or screens, high quality CMYK images are coated, applied by hand and then fired into a glaze, for a durable, lifelong result.

Artwork – Creativity is king, and our design agency oodle is at hand. If you’re going big on imagery, remember that artwork will generally wrap around your mug, so prepare for a white outline at the edges and around the handle. However on limited shapes, there are new products now entering the market, see the image below. You might choose to have the same artwork on each side, if not, think about whether you want the key message facing your mug user, with approximately 88% of people being right handed. Beyond the body of the mug, in many mug ranges you can have a coloured band around the rim, or a print inside it. You can also print on the handle or on the bottom of mug, creative options that often get overlooked.

Mugs with photographic artwork that covers the outer surface area

Is your head feeling a bit muggy now?

Don’t worry if this feels like information overload, we are happy to lead your project. Share your priorities for the magnificent mugs you have in mind, we’ll scope out the specification, share the samples, and manage the manufacture of your perfect mugs. Let us know when you’re free to chat.

Reach out to talk branded mugs!

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