New year, new you! Your resolution should be to act smarter with your marketing budget, and the best way is with promotional calendars. Whether it goes on the wall, sits on a desk, or fits in a bag, a good calendar gives you 365 days of free advertising!

The key is to create calendars that are stylish, easy to use, and maybe a little bit funny. Follow the design tips in this buying guide, and you’ll have custom calendars that people won’t want to throw away at the end of the year.

Why Do You Need Custom Calendars?

Bakeries, zoos, auto shops, grocery stores, and many other businesses can advertise with calendars. These promotional items are particularly great for the following:


Your school likely has a full schedule. With clubs, sports teams, parent teacher nights, and institute days, there’s a lot going on in the year. Stay on track with personalized calendars that your students can bring home and your teachers can hang up in their classrooms.

Office Décor

It’s possible that your team is working remotely following the COVID-19 pandemic. Bring a little bit of your office culture into their homes by mailing out branded calendars. Your employees can hang them on the wall to keep track of Zoom meetings, important deadlines, and lunch dates.

Gifts to Clients

Follow in the footsteps of Coca-Cola. Back in the day, the brand offered free calendars to gas stations and grocery stores when they purchased a certain quantity. This is a genius marketing strategy that you should try, especially if you work closely with vendors or clients.

Direct Mailers

Calendars are the perfect choice for direct mailers. Send them out to everyone in the local community the last week of December, and watch as a ton of new business comes in the following year!

Social Media Contests

Since custom calendars are pretty cheap to buy in bulk, you can offer them as giveaways in a social media contest. Create a simple campaign like “the first 500 likes get a complimentary calendar,” or “share with the most friends and win a free calendar.” Your engagement will go through the roof as a result!

Holiday Gifts

Create your own calendars and hand them out as gifts. Families can order photo calendars with cute pics for all 12 months of the year, while businesses can stick with some kind of fun theme. Everyone will love unwrapping their cool calendars!

Trade Show Giveaways

Is your business setting up a display at a winter trade show? Promotional calendars are excellent freebies for the crowd. Just make sure yours don’t look too corporate and boring. Nobody wants to look at something dull and lifeless all year!

Tips for Customizing Calendars

Are you ready to create advertising calendars that everyone will love? Follow these design tips!

  1. Decide on the type of calendar you want to use.
  2. Choose a fun theme.
  3. Use either 1 ink color or dye sublimation.
  4. Be ready to reorder.

1. Decide on the Type of Calendar

You can’t go wrong with any of these advertising calendars, but if you want to settle on one style, ask yourself:

  • Do I want promotional calendars that people can write on?
  • Am I interested in large or small calendars?
  • Would it be better to have all 12 months on one page or have a different page for each month?
  • Is it important for my custom calendars to be portable?

Once you answer these questions, you can better choose the right promotional calendars for your business. It’s worth doing some brainstorming ahead of time, so the ordering process can be as easy and fast as possible.

2. Choose a Fun Theme

What Are Popular Calendar Themes?

If you get wall calendars for your business, you can choose a fun theme for the entire year. Think about who you are and what makes the most sense for you!

Here are some popular calendar theme ideas:

National Parks & Landscapes

Great for:

  • Travel companies
  • Hotels
  • Airlines

Cool Cars

Great for:

  • Mechanics
  • Car dealerships
  • Insurance companies

Motivational Quotes

Great for:

  • Sports teams
  • Community centers
  • Gyms

Cute Animals

Great for:

  • Animal shelters
  • Pet stores
  • Zoos

Water Life

Great for:

  • Aquariums
  • Seafood restaurants
  • Lakes and marinas

Delicious Meals

Great for:

  • Restaurants
  • Catering companies
  • Banquet halls


Great for:

  • Farmer’s markets
  • Botanical gardens
  • Greenhouses

You can find over 100 different calendar themes, not limited to horses, birds, golf courses, planes, lighthouses, and even funny calendars with jokes for each month. Shop around and pick the theme that you love!

3. Use Either 1 Ink Color or Dye Sublimation

How is Your Logo Added to Custom Calendars?

It’s important that the design you print is noticeable. Customize your calendars using either:

  1. Screen printing
  2. Dye sublimation

Screen Printing

With screen printed calendars, you only get 1 ink color included in the cost. Luckily, 12-month calendars have the images preset by the factory, so they’re typically pretty colorful already. Look at the calendar featured here. The mountain image is pretty on its own, so the “Your Design Here” pops in a simple black ink.

Dye Sublimation

Dye sublimation is another great option. You get as many ink colors as you want included in the final cost. This is a good choice if you want an advertising photo printed on the calendars, such as the one used here for Vankersun Industries.

4. Be Ready to Reorder

How Do You Reorder Custom Calendars?

Calendars are usually only good for one year. With that in mind, you’ll want to reorder new ones 12 months from now.

The best way to place a reorder is to work with a distributor like Quality Logo Products® who assigns your very own sales rep. You’ll work with the same person every time, and they already have your logo and company information on file.

All you have to do is call or email, and you’re well on your way to more custom calendars for the new year!

Other Considerations When Buying Custom Calendars

You’re almost ready to order promotional calendars for your business. Before you pull out your credit card, here are a few other things to think about!

Spiral Bound or Stapled

If you’re packing the calendars in a box, it might be better to go with stapled calendars so they don’t get snagged. If you’re selling them in a gift shop or bookstore, spiral calendars might be better since they look more professional.


You don’t want a bunch of leftover 2021 calendars in 2022, right? Try to order the right quantity so you’re not throwing a bunch of calendars in the garbage.

Delivery Date

Do you need calendars fast for an event this weekend? Give yourself enough time for the order to be shipped. The turnaround time on advertising calendars can be anywhere from 2 days to 1 week, so don’t procrastinate!

Made in the USA

It’s always a good idea to support the American economy. Order calendars in bulk that are proudly made in the USA!


Above all, you shouldn’t go broke ordering custom calendars. Set a budget and stick to it! You’ll be happier with your order if it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.

Why Should You Order Promotional Calendars?

You should order promotional calendars for your business since it means free advertising for a full year! Plus, people are busy and need a way to keep track of their full schedules.

Consistency is key. Reorder the same unique calendars. Your customers will associate the custom calendars with your brand and look forward to receiving one year after year.

The Bottom Line

Calendars may not be as cool as t-shirts or as trendy as wireless headphones, but they’re still great company swag! All it takes is the right design and maybe a fun theme to make these promotional items more special.

About the author

Alyssa Mertes

Alyssa is a promo expert with over four years of experience in the industry. She is the Lead Copywriter at Quality Logo Products and has had work published for the Promotional Products Association International and the Advertising Specialty Institute.