Mugs are an item found and used daily in nearly every household, but have you ever considered customizing them? With a variety of styles, colors, and materials available, you can easily customize your mugs with names, sports teams, and more. Whether you’re getting married or own a business, mugs are an easily customizable item that everyone will use.

Learn about the best strategies for customizing mugs below!

3 Steps to Successfully Customize Your Mugs

Before ordering your custom mugs, it’s important to make sure that you love the style, and that they are designed for your specific tastes. There are three steps to follow to get the best customized mug for your next cup of tea or hot cocoa.

Step 1: Choose the Right Style

Mugs come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Get creative by choosing a style that is unique or trendy!

Step 2: Select a Material and Imprint Method

Consider which material is best for how you plan to use your mug, along with the imprint method that works.

Step 3: Design Your Mug

Select the color(s) you want your mugs to be and how you want your design to look.

Following these three steps to create a custom mug is easier than you think! We’ve broken it down even more to help you make your vision a reality, whether you’re marketing your business, supporting a cause, or just wanting to get creative!

Step 1: Choose the Right Style

When you begin creating custom mugs, you want to select a style that is trendy and will stand out. There are a variety of shapes and sizes to consider, along with styles that are meant for different drinking habits, which are listed below.

Traditional Mug

Tried and true, traditional style mugs are a practical classic. This style can also be found in a variety of sizes.

Great for: A relaxing morning and a hot cup of coffee.

Spooner Mug

Add convenience to your morning with a spooner mug! These mugs have a spoon that fits right into the handle.

Great for: Outdoor events or camping.

Novelty Mug

Create a custom a mug won’t get forgotten about because of its unique design. Put your design on the back to add a personal flair this memorable mug!

Great for: Bar and restaurant openings, a family reunion, or summer pool parties.

Travel Mug

If your life is constantly on the go, customize a travel mug with your design on it! The lid prevents spills and keeps beverages warm longer by trapping heat.

Great for: Tradeshows, conferences, travel agencies, and realtors.

Have fun with the selection of your custom mugs. Pick a style or shape that will stand out in your kitchen cabinet.

Step 2: Select a Material and Imprint Method

The material of your custom mugs is one of the most important aspects because each one has benefits for different uses. Do you drink a lot of tea or coffee? Are you a traveler or a parent with a busy family schedule? Each material is conducive to a different type of printing process. Your design can be added to mugs in a variety of ways, so learn which printing method is best for the material you’re interested in below.


Ceramic mugs are highly durable so you can have your design printed in a variety of ways. Pad printing is great for ceramic mugs because of the smooth surface!


Glass mugs are convenient because they are clear, and you can easily see how much liquid you have left. Laser engraving is a great imprint method for glass mugs.

Stainless Steel

Most often, you’ll see stainless steel used for travel mugs. This material is ideal for trapping heat and provides durability for travel and frequent use. Laser engraving is also an ideal imprint method for stainless steel because the material can withstand high temperatures.


Stoneware mugs are unique because each mug contains a different blend of stone, flint, and clay so they don’t look and feel like just a normal mug. Use the digital printing method to add your design to stoneware mugs because the printer can print on the grained surface of stoneware.


Acrylic or plastic mugs have the look and function of a ceramic mug but are cost-effective, versatile, and very lightweight. Pad printing works great on acrylic mugs because the process does not use heat and won’t damage the material.

Whether glass, ceramic, or stoneware fits your fancy, picking the right type of mug is an important step in customizing your mugs. If you don’t pick the right material, you could end up with a broken mug on a camping trip, or cold coffee on a road trip! Knowing which material you like best will also help you pick the right imprint method to ensure your design comes out just right.

Are you curious to see how ceramic mugs are made? Check out this video!

Step 3: Design Your Mug

After you have an idea of the style, material, and imprint method for your custom mugs, it is time for the fun part: selecting the color of your mug, and then choosing your design! When customizing your mugs, you can pick colors that match a logo, cause-specific colors, or a sports team like orange and blue for the Chicago Bears. Check out the helpful tips below.


Does your business have a signature color or cause you support? Use custom mugs to spread awareness of your brand or charity, such as a pink mug for Breast Cancer month! You can also select different colors for the inside and outside, or add a full color photo when designing your mug.

Match a Logo

If you plan to place a logo on your mugs, you can add accent colors to match such as a different colored handle or rim.

Pick a Pattern

Instead of solid colors, pick a trendy pattern for your mug like marble!

Support a Sports Team

Create mugs with the colors of your favorite team, like the Chicago Bulls!


Consider the mug colors you have chosen when adding your logo or design to ensure they aren’t too similar. A good rule of thumb to follow is to use a light logo color with a dark mug color, and vice versa. Be sure your logo or design is legible and properly sized on your mug.

Dark Colored Designs

If your design has a lot of dark colors, consider a plain white mug with a full color printing option.

Add an Image

Put a full color picture on your mug instead of a logo! For example, put a picture of your kids on mugs for grandma and grandpa.

Light Colored Designs

Designs with light or white colors look best on a dark colored mug.

Being aware of colors, patterns, and your desired design will make your custom mugs turn out amazing! From raising awareness for a cause to crafting mugs to sell in your coffee shop, color and design are the most important factors.

How to Decorate Ceramic Mugs

If you’re crafty and looking to decorate your own ceramic mug, you can do so at home! There are two easy ways to DIY a mug with your own unique design:

Use a Sharpie

Before using a permanent marker to decorate your mugs, use rubbing alcohol to clean the area you plan to draw on. Then, create your designs either by hand or using stencils! Be careful not to smudge the ink while it dries.

Once you’ve drawn your decoration, bake the mug in your oven for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Be sure to hand wash your sharpie decorated mugs only or the ink may fade! *

Use a Paint Marker

You can get a paint marker at your local craft store. Be sure to get oil-based markers specifically made for ceramics. Begin by removing any dirt or grease from the mug with rubbing alcohol, and then use painter’s tape to map out your design area. Remove any mistakes quickly with a Q-tip before the ink dries.

When your design is finished, bake it in the oven for 20 minutes at 350 degrees, and wait until the mug is completely cool before removing it. Be sure to hand wash your newly painted mug! *

Disclaimer: Not all ceramic mugs are created equal. Use caution when placing your mug in the oven and when removing it.

Advertising with Mugs

Do you own a business? Custom mugs are a great way to advertise your goods or services by getting your brand in front of customers. If you plan on customizing mugs for your business, there are a few tips you should follow to make them exciting. A clever way to advertise with mugs is by pairing them with extras such as coffee grounds, candy, tea bags, or hot chocolate ingredients! When you hand out your mugs in creative ways, your customers are more likely to be attracted to your business and what you offer. Check out the ideas below!

Mug Recipes

Hand out your mugs to customers along with a recipe to make inside! You can also make cake, brownies, or eggs inside a mug. If you own a bakery, restaurant, or just want to hand out a useful holiday present to clients, a mug recipe is perfect.

Souvenir Mugs

Make your mugs into a souvenir like Starbucks, who has their mugs with city names on them found in their cafes. If you own a business in an area frequented by tourists, use custom mugs as a souvenir so customers remember your brand and their recent trip!

Gift Set

Blue Moon Tea is a café located in Seattle, WA who offers gift sets complete with a mug, tea, and cookies. Gift sets are great to send as a thank you to clients, or to advertise other products your business offers.

Every morning is better with coffee! Save on your custom mugs with this exclusive coupon.

*This coupon is valid for new customers only between 3/25/2020 and 3/1/2030. All products within the ceramic mugs category are eligible for 5% off. Offer cannot be combined with any other offer.

The Bottom Line

Customized mugs are fun, trendy, and practical. Enjoying your morning coffee in a mug you designed is just as satisfying as that first sip. Whether you own a business or just want to create something unique, designing a personalized mug is always a good idea. Happy designing!

About the author

Gianna Petan

Meet Gianna - no stranger to all things promo products. Her background in research-based writing, linguistics, and advertising gives her an edge in blogging about the marketing industry.