Tom Cruise in Top Gun, Laurence Fishburne in The Matrix, Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s…these are some of the most iconic movie characters of all time. And the one thing they all have in common – a good pair of sunglasses!

Sunglasses exude mystery, charm, and cool, which is exactly why they make great personalized gifts. Are you ready to order your own movie star worthy shades? Check out this buying guide!

Why Do You Need Custom Sunglasses?

You’re probably ordering custom sunglasses in the spring or summer. They’re perfect favors or gifts for any event that takes place in the great outdoors, including all of the following:

Festivals & Fairs

Whether your town is hosting a carnival or you’re setting up a downtown art fair, sunglasses are wonderful freebies to hand out at the entrance. Be sure to order both kids and adults sizes so no one misses out!

Outdoor Concerts

Cheer on your favorite bands at an outdoor concert or music festival. Hopefully the merch tents are full of cool swag like t-shirts, hoodies, and of course, personalized sunglasses!

Beach Parties

If you have a day planned by the water, you can’t forget to pack a good pair of shades in your beach bag! Custom sunglasses are must-haves for a beach bash, but they’re also great souvenirs for water parks, marinas, lakes, and swimming pools.

Picnics

Are you hosting a back-to-school or company picnic in the park? Treat everyone in attendance to a trendy pair of sunglasses. You can choose shades that match your brand colors, or get your logo printed on the frames.

Sports Teams

Football, baseball, volleyball, tennis, golf…a majority of sports are played underneath the sun! With that in mind, custom sunglasses are excellent giveaways for your league or stadium. Try to find athletic wraparound shades with polarized lenses.

Parades

Forget candy – you should throw custom sunglasses to the crowd at your parade! Wrap them in plastic sleeves ahead of time, so they’re easier for everyone to catch.

Theme Parks

Zoos, amusement parks, and even mini golf courses should sell souvenir sunglasses in their gift shops. Look for something fun and a little wild like cheetah print frames or iridescent lenses.

5Ks or Bikeathons

Go the distance and stash sunglasses and other promotional gifts in drawstring bags for your 5K or bikeathon. You can hand these bags out with every athlete’s number tag at registration.

Family & Class Reunions

It’s been so long! Mix and mingle with your distant relatives and former classmates while wearing a stylish pair of sunglasses. They’re great conversation starters and will make everyone feel a little more relaxed.

Weddings

Wedding sunglasses are a no-brainer if your ceremony takes place outdoors. Leave these favors on a table during cocktail hour, and take plenty of pictures when they’re worn on the dance floor at the reception!

Fundraisers

Non-profits, charities, and churches often have a small budget for marketing materials. The good news is custom sunglasses are extremely cheap promotional giveaways for your fundraising events, whether it’s a community car wash or bake sale.

Trade Shows

Following the COVID-19 pandemic, outdoor trade shows became more popular than ever before. Promotional sunglasses are the perfect swag for these events and will be used again and again long after the expo is over.

Tips for Customizing Sunglasses

Let’s start customizing your sunglasses! Picking out your favorite shades is the most exciting part, but before you dive in, keep these design tips in mind:

  1. Choose sunglasses that offer UVA & UVB protection.
  2. Decide on a style.
  3. Go with trendy frames or lenses.
  4. Print a simple design.

#1: Choose Sunglasses That Offer UVA & UVB Protection

Do Sunglasses Really Protect Your Eyes?

Sunglasses that block 99% to 100% of UVA and UVB rays will properly protect your eyes from the sun. The American Academy of Ophthalmology and other medical experts recommend looking for a pair that are big and fit close to your face.

When shopping for promotional sunglasses, select a style that checks the following boxes:

Stops 75% of 90% of visible light

Big lenses that cover the eye from top to bottom

The darkest part of the lens is at the top

Healthcare professionals warn against the dangers of spending too much time exposed to UV rays. You should not only wear sunglasses, but also plenty of sunscreen. Be sure to also shield your eyes with a baseball cap, and avoid being outside from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

#2: Decide on a Style

What Are the Different Types of Sunglasses?

You’ll find sunglasses in many colors and sizes. They’re made using a variety of materials, and each pair has either round, square, oval, or even heart shaped lenses to flatter your face.

The different types of sunglasses include:

  • Aviators
  • Wraparound
  • Browline
  • Sport/Athletic
  • Plastic
  • Metal
  • Rubberitzed
  • Polarized
  • Mirrored
  • Round
  • Wayfarer
  • Cat Eye
  • Butterfly
  • Oversized
  • Novelty
  • Youth

Aviator Sunglasses

Pretend you’re a high-flying pilot by rocking a pair of aviator sunglasses! These trendy shades are made from thin wire and have teardrop shaped lenses.

Wraparound Sunglasses

Nobody wants to adjust their sunglasses all day! Wrap sunglasses are one of the most practical styles, hugging the sides of your face for a close fit. They’re great for activities that require a ton of movement like running, biking, or rock climbing.

Browline Sunglasses

As the name suggests, browline sunglasses have a straight thick line at the top of the frames that sit across your eyebrows. This retro look became popular in the 1950’s and is still a flattering style for both men and women.

Sport Sunglasses

Go the distance, knock it out of the park, score a goal…whatever sport you’re playing, you can’t go wrong with athletic sunglasses! A good pair has thick polarized lenses that cut down on glare and block any wind, dirt, or debris that may impede on performance.

Plastic Sunglasses

While polypropylene is the most commonly used, you’ll find sunglasses made from many different types of plastic. These shades are lightweight and very affordable, which is great when you’re on a tight budget.

Metal Sunglasses

Throw on a pair of metal sunglasses if your goal is fashion rather than comfort. These shades are sleek, trendy, and exude a cool factor that’s hard to resist. They’re not as suitable for long-term wear, but are great for low energy situations like running errands on the weekend.

Rubberized Sunglasses

Some sunglasses can pinch your nose or ears. You won’t have that problem with rubberized sunglasses. The arms are super soft and squishy, which makes these shades comfortable to wear for a casual day on the beach or walking in the park.

Polarized Sunglasses

Do you plan on being outside all day? Polarized sunglasses are a must! They not only block UV rays, but also cut down on that pesky glare that makes you squint. Try this look for cruises, water sports, or if you’re planning a picnic in a park that has very little shade.

Mirrored Sunglasses

You’ll see the world in brown or gray if you wear mirrored lenses. They alter your vision and decrease the amount of light that passes through, which is helpful in extremely bright conditions. This includes being in sand, water, snow, or at high altitudes.

Round Sunglasses

John Lennon called, and he wants his sunglasses back! The rockstar made this look famous back in the ‘60s, but it’s still a fan favorite to this day. The round lenses have a hippie vibe that pairs well with tie-dye, denim, and fringe.

Wayfarer Sunglasses

It doesn’t get more classic than the wayfarer! These sunglasses have trapezoid shaped lenses that completely cover both eyes. Ray-Ban offers the most famous wayfarers on the market, but you can find generic knockoffs that don’t have the brand name cost.

Cat Eye Sunglasses

Achieve the purr-fect look by putting on a pair of cat eye sunglasses! These shades flare out above the lenses, kind of like a kitty’s whiskeys. They have a fun, youthful look that’s popular with fashionistas, clothing stores, and Gen Z’ers.

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Butterfly Sunglasses

Spread your wings and fly! Just don’t forget to put on your butterfly sunglasses first. These feminine shades are squeezed together in the middle like wings, so there’s no gap between the lenses and your eyes.

Oversized Sunglasses

Celebrities are obsessed with oversized sunglasses as a way to hide from annoying paparazzi. However, these shades are also great casual wear for the summer since they have huge lenses that cover your eyes from top to bottom.

Novelty Sunglasses

We can all use a laugh from time to time, and that’s what you’ll get from novelty sunglasses. These shades are meant to be goofy and weird, and aren’t necessarily legitimate, doctor-approved eyewear. Order this style in bulk for a photo booth, prizes for a game, or as silly favors at holiday parties.

Youth Sunglasses

If you need gifts or giveaways for kids, you can’t go wrong with youth sunglasses. They come in the same styles and colors as adult pairs, but are designed for smaller faces, whether it’s adorable babies or precocious preteens.


#3: Go With Trendy Frames or Lenses

What Style of Sunglasses Should I Get?

The right type of sunglasses is important, but you also want to make sure they look stylish. Be on the hunt for trendy frames or lenses that people will be genuinely excited about. Now’s not the time to be boring!

Try any of these looks!

#4: Print a Simple Design

What Can I Print on Sunglasses?

It’s not like t-shirts, tote bags, or massive billboards. Personalized sunglasses are relatively small, which means you should only print a simple design or a small amount of text.

Here are a few ideas!


#1: Print Text

Think of it like a text message, or a post on Twitter. You should only use a few words to get your point across. Aim to print 5 to 15 characters, and use a font that’s easy to read.

Name

Impactful Word or Phrase

Monogram

#2: Print an Image

A picture says a thousand words, so you can get away with printing only an image and no text on your sunglasses. Use your company logo or download a free clipart image.

Logo

Clipart Image

#3: Keep Them Blank

It’s also possible to order promotional sunglasses without anything printed on them! This is a great option if you plan on writing a message on a gift tag and tying it to the frames, or printing your logo on goody bags that the sunglasses are stored inside.

Pro Tip

Your text or image will be printed on either the frames or the lens. Each product has this area predetermined, and it can’t be changed. Keep that in mind before you order!


Frames

Lens

Other Considerations When Buying Custom Sunglasses

You’re almost ready to place that order for personalized sunglasses! Before you get going, it’s a good idea to also think about the following:

Polarization

Polarized lenses are an excellent additional feature to look for in sunglasses. They don’t necessarily block more UV rays, but they do help stop the glare coming off water, pavement, windows, or other cars when you’re driving.

Lens Colors

Contrary to popular belief, darker lenses won’t necessarily block out more of the sun. You can get gray, green, blue, or rainbow lenses, just make sure they stop 99% to 100% of UV rays. Each color will affect the contrast of the objects you see, which is why blue, pink, or orange lenses are often recommended for athletes.

Straps

Let’s say you’re buying custom sunglasses in bulk for a triathlon, sky diving competition, or the announcement of a new roller coaster. You should consider buying sunglasses straps that everyone can use, so they don’t have to worry about losing their shades!

Cases

If you have room in the budget, it doesn’t hurt to order custom cases for your sunglasses. They’ll help keep the sunglasses safe from scratches, or breaking in the bottom of a bag or purse.

Made in the USA

Wave your patriotic flag and shop for U.S.A. made sunglasses. This is a no-brainer if you’re getting sunglasses in bulk as giveaways for a Fourth of July or Memorial Day barbecue.

Shipping

Oh no – your event is only a few days away, and you still need to order promotional items! Why not look for sunglasses that arrive fast? Your custom order will be at your door faster than you can say “sunshine!”

Minimum

The last thing you want is to be buried alive by too many sunglasses! Shop for low quantity options if you only need a small amount. You can get as few as 25 pairs of custom sunglasses at one time.

Price

It’s kind of like when you’re buying a new house or car. Try to stay as close to your budget as possible. The good news is you’ll find personalized sunglasses that start at under $1, so you don’t have to worry about going broke!

Why Should You Order Custom Sunglasses?

You should order custom sunglasses as promotional gifts because they’re stylish, useful, and with the right color or lens shape, can also be very unique.

Take for example the sunglasses handed out as free giveaways at Ribfest, an annual festival in Naperville, IL. Everyone who came to the event in 2018 received a free pair of sunglasses at the entrance tent. These shades came in handy for a fun day marked by rides, games, vendors, live music, and plenty of delicious BBQ!

The Bottom Line

You don’t have to be a movie star to love sunglasses! In fact, 83% of U.S. men and 89% of U.S. women wear sunglasses on a regular basis. It’s an accessory that’s well-loved by many people, especially on a hot summer’s day!

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.