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During the past decade, there has been no shortage of brand collaborations, and the buzz around some of the biggest partnerships has been huge. From celebrity-endorsed trainers to high street- fast food printed garment pairings, we’ve analysed the audience insights and media coverage to reveal the most hyped, surprising and tastiest collections from the past 10 years to reveal what it really takes to make a successful brand partnership.

The most popular brand collaborations from the past decade

Image credit: ICON Printing


Using Buzzsumo to analyse articles written about each collaboration and Tagger to pull audience reactions on social media, we were able to rank the most talked about brand collaborations from the past decade to reveal the most popular.

Basketball superstar LeBron James has a long history of trainer collaborations with Nike however almost two decades into the partnership, the hype around his new releases doesn’t seem to be dying down. His 2019 edition drove 1,621,947 engagements with articles shared on social media, over 57,900,000 likes and a whopping 504,300 shares making the 2019 Nike X LeBron James brand collaboration the most hyped of the past decade.

But it isn’t just sports personalities that make for super successful brand partners. The 2019 Vans X Harry Potter collection came in 2nd position, raking in 1,727,572 engagements with articles shared on social media and 73% love reactions to social media posts. We can presume this was largely down to the movie franchise’s fanbase.

The first Nike X Apple watch was launched in 2016 to a rapturous reception from sports enthusiasts looking for a new way to track their activities. The collaboration between the sportswear company and tech giant generated 8948 referring articles and 9,400,000 likes on social media making them the 3rd most successful brand collaboration of the past decade.

Most hyped trainer collaborations

Over the past 10 years, sneakerheads have been vocal on social media, making their opinions known about new trainer collaborations. Unsurprisingly, the most popular brand partnership LeBron James X Nike came in first with their LeBron XVII. The release had fans divided on social which drove the highest social engagement and media coverage. The wizarding world went crazy for the Vans X Harry Potter printed trainer collaboration helping them claim 2nd place and Adidas X Kanye West’s Yeezy’s took the world by storm in 2015 placing them 3rd. Unexpected collaborations Nike X Hello Kitty and Adidas X Transport for London were also a hit based on social engagement and media coverage.

Most surprising brand collaborations

Analysing wow reactions on social media, we found the brand collaborations that were the most surprising- Nike X Levi’s secured the first position with their denim-clad, logo-printed trainers. Claiming 2nd and 3rd position were Lego collaborations. In 2nd came Lego’s partnership with the sci-fi series Stranger Things subsequently the toy brand’s more recent 2020 storage collection with IKEA wowed social media users. Claiming 4th and 5th position and taking fans by surprise was football club PSG’s streetwear with BAPE and luxury fashion brand Dolce & Gabanna’s colourful collab with SMEG.

Most successful food collaborations

We all love a tasty treat and when it comes to brand collaborations from the past decade this was no different. KFC’s finger-lickin’ collab with Crocs was the most successful collection based on their media coverage and social engagement. In 2nd came Cheetos cheesy clothing range with Forever 21. High street retailer Primark’s recent clothing line with bakery chain Greggs was perfect for their target audience making it the 3rd most successful food brand collaboration.

With 12 years in the merchandise printing industry, Alex Econs shares his thoughts on what makes for a successful brand collaboration.

Understand your target audience

“Brand collaborations can be a brilliant way to target a new customer base however step too far outside the realms of audience relevancy and your brand collaboration will be a flop. Greggs X Primark is a great example of how brands have understood exactly where their audience shop and launched merchandise that was guaranteed to get fans talking. There is almost no limit to what companies from different industries can come together to create. ”

Novelty works

“Some of the most iconic brand collaborations have come from the most seemingly unlikely partnerships. Whilst it doesn’t work for every brand, novelty merchandise like the KFC X Crocs limited edition fried chicken shoes or Adidas X TFL trainers can be incredibly successful. Understand your audience and their lifestyle before choosing your brand partner and you’ll create a collection that fans will clamour over, consequently we often see these novelty items selling for a much higher resale price.”

Smash the marketing

“The most successful brand collaborations are hugely varied in their product offering and price point, however one constant amongst them is how successfully their teams promoted the merchandise ahead of the launch. Social media marketing in particular can engage fans attention right from the conception of the idea and the engagement we saw from the launch of these brand collaborations proves just why it should be a vital part of launching any merchandise.”


To find out how ICON Printing could print your next brand collaboration, head to: https://www.iconprinting.com/services

International travel is firmly back on the cards and whilst Brits have managed to support the staycation market over the last few years, the number of visitors from overseas are ramping back up. Inbound visits to the UK are expected to increase to 21.1 million in 2022¹. For those tourist spots looking to revamp  their image ahead of the influx of visitors, we’ve put together our top tips for creating stand-out merch for your attraction:

Here are our 5 top tips for printing merch for tourist attractions:

Prioritise design

It may seem obvious, but when you’re creating a piece of merchandise that really stands out you need to start with a strong design that represents your brand identity. When a customer buys your merchandise, they are choosing to represent your attraction- it’s another level of marketing. The standout feature that people will pay most attention to is what is actually on the garment, so graphic design is a competitive field to stand out in.

Colour is key

The colour of your product or design can have a big impact on how it’s perceived by potential customers, albeit often subconsciously. Different colours can have drastically distinct associations. If you’re looking to advertise a museum or historical landmark, consider opting for blue – the colour of knowledge, communication and trust. For performing arts locations like theatres and venues shades of red may be most suitable – stimulating feelings of warmth, energy and excitement. For more information on the power of colour, check out our article here.

Try some alternative printing methods

As well as creating a standout design, think about the ink you use! There’s a whole range of unique products which can help your merch standout, including neon colours, metallics, glow in the dark and reflective inks. These are often especially effective when used with restraint to highlight impactful features. It makes for a subtle but attention grabbing detail. While screen printing is often the most common option for merchandise, it could be worth considering direct-to-garment printing (DTG )– especially if you have an ultra-detailed or photo-realistic design which you’d like to print.

Consider embroidery

With embroidery, you are adding something physical as well as  visual to your merchandise. It offers a tactile quality that you just can’t get from  screen printing or DTG. Used, instead of, or in addition to printed design, it can be the perfect way to add some texture to your product. In particular, if you wanted to include your logo or a snappy slogan, embroidery could be the way to go.

It’s not all about t-shirts

While t-shirts are often a versatile option for a number of different tourist attractions, you should also consider some alternative merchandise options. Sweatshirts and hoodies can display the same designs as a t-shirt, however, they are more unique and will be appealing to tourists caught in unpredictable British weather!

You could also consider some more fashionable garments that offer a twist on the classic t-shirt, like a long sleeve t-shirt or a boxier style. Bags, caps & hats also make great tourist merchandise that can be a strong addition to an outfit. Browse a curated catalogue of our most popular garments here.

To help you get inspired, we got creative with our very own brain teaser design – including 10 of London’s most famous tourist spots. Use the list below to tick them off once you’ve found them!

When it comes to choosing which colour to feature in your business’s logo, aesthetics are not the only factor to consider.  Your business’s logo becomes part of your company’s identity therefore it’s important to make the right impression.

Research indicates that consumers make a subconscious judgment about a product within 90 seconds of viewing it and that up to 90% of that assessment is based on colour alone.¹ That’s the power of colour.

The way we perceive colour is never entirely objective, the use of colour in culture means we are guaranteed to make conscious associations with different colours and we will always make personal colour associations depending on our individual experiences. However, there are subconscious ways that colours can make us think, feel and behave- this is colour psychology. 

Many brand logos have become iconic because of their colours like Cadbury purple, Royal Mail red and even the yellow and blue of IKEA. However, when this integral design component is changed, what effect does this have on the consumer?

We teamed up with Karen Haller, the leading international authority in the field of Applied Colour Psychology to reveal just how important colour is to some of the UK’s leading brand logos.We took 9 of the UK’s leading brands ranked by BrandIndex Index score and switched the logos to the opposite colours on the colour wheel. Karen has then revealed what effect this might have on the consumer to affirm just how powerful colour can be in branding.

Cadbury- affordable luxury to an optimistic treat

Karen said: “When we think of Cadbury, the colour that springs to mind is none other than the iconic purple. Dark purple conveys the message of quality and luxury, and what Cadbury is saying is they are an affordable, everyday luxury. Not just for special occasions.

“If Cadbury changed its branding to bright yellow it would instantly lose brand recognition. Its entire marketing message would no longer be about affordable luxury, instead, the message would focus on yellow’s positive psychological traits which are uplifting and happy.”

Royal Mail- eye-catching icon to indistinguishable

Karen said: “Although red is not the most visible colour in daylight, having the longest wavelength, red appears to be nearer than it is. It grabs our attention first, making red the ideal choice to spot from a distance. Like most iconic brands, Royal Mail use a specific red to ensure its brand is instantly recognisable.

“If Royal Mail went back to green, even with a bright, vivid green, whilst better than the dark green of the 1800s, it would still be difficult to spot and lose its iconic presence and status.”

IKEA- everyday function to childish playfulness

Karen said: “The positive psychological traits of blue conveys reliability and dependability: IKEA is knowledgeable in what it does and can be trusted to deliver. If IKEA was just blue, it could come across as a very corporate brand, focusing on the functional side of the business, likely coming across as cold, impersonal, and unfriendly. The addition of yellow adds happiness, warmth, and cheerfulness.

“Change the brand yellow to orange and the focus would shift more to one of fun and play. There would be a sense the brand was more child-focused, making it appealing to families with young children, but it might alienate its core age group.”

John Lewis- sophisticated elegance and exceptional quality

Karen said: “From a colour psychology perspective, brands who use black convey sophistication, elegance and class. They are innovative and see themselves as an industry leader.  Think Black American Express, Chanel and Cartier- aspirational with an air of exclusivity.

“There are brands which use black because they aspire to appear this way. However, it’s not just a matter of changing a brand’s colour. Fail to deliver on the promise, and a brand can very quickly come across as cold, unfriendly, unapproachable, and uncaring.”

Netflix- serial excitement to natural zen

Karen said: “There’s a reason why red is used in cinemas and theatres. When we sit on red seats, it encourages us to get excited, full of anticipation for the show to begin. This is because, in colour psychology terms, red stimulates the physical. It raises the pulse rate. By using red in its branding, Netflix is building on that emotional experience and association we are already familiar with.

“There’s no doubt that Netflix wants to get noticed and be seen. Red is the perfect colour because its wavelengths advance towards us the quickest, meaning we see red before any other colour. This ensures its logo stands out amongst its competitors.

“If Netflix changed its brand colour to green, we would straight away lose that sense of anticipation, that excitement. Instead, we’re being encouraged to relax, unwind, like we feel when we are out in nature, amongst the trees.”

Boots- knowledgeable care to playful frivolity

Karen said: “Over 80% of healthcare companies have logos that feature dark blue. The positive psychological traits convey credibility, trust, knowledge, and professionalism, along with logic, rationale, and efficiency. In the context of healthcare, you want your healthcare professional to be calm and focused and dark blue aids in focusing the mind.

“If Boots were to change its core brand colour to orange, we would see it as being fun and playful, not really what you want from your chemist when you need professional advice? Depending on the amount of orange it used, we might even feel the adverse effects of orange and see it as being frivolous which is not what we want from a chemist.”

Cathedral City- indulgent treat to diet option

Karen said: “One of the many ways a brand can choose its colours is through an association, something symbolic or culturally significant. Perhaps the “rich, regal garnet” of Cathedral City’s core brand colour has been based on the liturgical colours worn by priests at the nearby Wells Cathedral, Somerset.

“When it comes to food packaging, over the years, blue has become associated with low fat and dietary products. When we are in the dairy aisle of the supermarket, we can easily spot these products- blue becomes a helpful navigation aid.

“We take in colour before anything else. If Cathedral City were to change its brand colour to all blue, we would make the initial assumption that all its products were now in its ‘lighter’ range, potentially losing customers who were looking for a full-fat rich cheese.  Using too much blue on the packaging could also activate our instinctive response to blue and food, which is to see it as poisonous and unsafe.”

Visa- dependable service to unattainable opulence

Karen said: “Dark blue is a colour that many major financial brands have used to assert their authority as being reliable, trustworthy, and dependable. These positive psychological traits show they are conservative by nature, not rash or impulsive. They want to show they are a safe pair of hands with managing our money.

“If Visa switched to just using gold, that sense of accessibility, and the notion of its an ‘every-person’ card is now gone. Gold branding gives the impression of prestige, desirability and of exclusivity. It’s creating the illusion this brand is now unattainable for its  core target market.”

Samsung-trustworthy communications to premium exclusivity

Karen said: “Dark blue, when it comes to colour psychology, conveys trust. Samsung’s colour scheme suggests they are reliable and not a brand that takes risks. It is a knowledgeable and a leading authority in its field. Dark blue also communicates they are cool and calm under pressure.

“If Samsung changed its brand colour to gold, straight away it looks like a far more premium or a high-end product. Gold creates an air of exclusivity so Samsung becomes an aspirational brand and no longer a brand for everyone.”

Methodology:

We took 9 of the UK’s leading brands ranked by BrandIndex Index score which takes into account consumers’ perceptions of a brand’s quality and reputation amongst other factors and switched its logos to the opposite colours on the colour wheel. Having studied colour for over 20 years, Karen Haller, a leading international authority in the field of applied colour psychology, specialising in business brand colour, revealed what effects this might have on the consumer.

Sources: 

1 CCICOLOR – Institute for Color Research

https://journals.christuniversity.in/index.php/ushus/article/view/1761/1508

https://www.statista.com/statistics/310007/top-uk-brands-across-all-industries-ranked-by-buzz-score/ https://www.postalmuseum.org/

Your sustainable and independent guide to Christmas shopping in London.

Waste and overconsumption is rife during the festive period, with Brits throwing  away £26m of waste every year1. Christmas shopping presents an invaluable opportunity to support independent businesses and is one of the ways that we can work towards a more socially just and environmentally sustainable future. 


Consequently, many of us however are making changes to have a more conscious Christmas this year. We recently  surveyed over 2,000 people, and two thirds (67%) of respondents said they are considering shopping sustainably this Christmas and over half (59%) think supporting independents is high on the agenda when buying gifts. If you’re planning on having a more conscious Christmas but are unsure where to go–fear not- here is our carefully curated sustainable shopping map of London to help you along.

At ICON Printing, we believe that sustainability requires an integrated approach that takes into consideration environmental concerns along with economic development. Therefore, our sustainable shopping map features 50 destinations including independent retailers, businesses with strong environmentally friendly credentials and stores working in a socially responsible manner. Whoever you are shopping for, you can be sure to find the perfect gift from one of these stores.

Fashion

By avoiding fast fashion and investing in select, quality brands, we can minimize our effect on both people and the planet.  Browse some of the world’s best independent and sustainable sourced brands at the below boutiques to find a gift for the stylish individuals in your life. 

Aida

69b Boutique

The Third Estate

The Keep Boutique

Beulah London

Couverture and The Garbstore

Bottletop

Wolf & Badger

Atika

Beauty

What we choose to put on our skin is as important as where we buy the products from. Treat your loved ones to some skincare from one of the below retailers who prioritise working responsibly with suppliers. 

Hair Organics

Buller and Rice

Planet Organic

Fresh

Content Beauty & Wellbeing

Blomma Beauty

Nini Organics

Food

What is Christmas without great food and drinks? There is no better time of year to support your local independent delis and grocers who stock all the delicious British produce and artisan goodies.

Lina Stores 

Eat 17

Giddy Grocer

Honey and Spice Deli

Melrose and Morgan

General Store

Terroni 

Italo

The Larder

Panzers

Homeware

From candles to plants, books to antiques, you’ll be spoilt for choice with all the unique gems and one off pieces available at these homeware stores.

BYO 

Cissy Wears

Deterra London

Labour and Wait

Mooch London

The Old Cinema

Earl of East

Prick

Cuemars

Kids

Whilst Christmas is a magical time of year for all, it is the kids that will be most excited about the prospect of Santa arriving. Fill their stockings with sustainably sourced kids clothes, books and toys from these independent retailers.

Triangle

Baby Mori

Pickled Pepper Books

Caramel

Luna and Curious

Markets

You’ll be able to find gifts for even the hardest to buy for recipients at one of London’s many markets. The following are some of the best, stocking an array of handmade, British sourced items. 

Pebbles Sustainable Market

Old Spitalfields Market

Eccleston Yards

Vinegar Yard

Greenwich Market

Brick Lane Market

Alfies Antiques

Broadway Market

Pets

Even pooches deserve to be spoiled at Christmas; however rather than shopping at larger retailers, it is possible to source items from independent businesses who are more conscious about where the ingredients come from.

Yoko

Pack and Clover

ICON Printing offers fast-turnaround printing on a range of garments- they count numerous independent businesses amongst their customers. Get a quote in 2 minutes online.

Survey methodology

The research was conducted by Censuswide, with 2,024 respondents aged 16+ in the UK between 02.11.2021 – 05.11.2021. The survey was conducted from a nationally representative sample of UK adults. Quotas were applied to nationally representative proportions for age, gender and region. Censuswide abide by and employ members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles. 

Sources 
1https://www.mattressonline.co.uk/blog/family/christmas-waste-unwrapped/

Christmas jumpers are a popular choice of clothing this time of year, but many people aren’t aware of just how damaging these novelty garments can actually be to the environment. 

A report last year warned that these festive sweaters are actually helping to fuel the world’s plastic pollution crisis – with many made wholly or partly from plastic materials. The eye-opening research from Hubbub also revealed that two out of five Christmas jumpers are only worn once over the festive period, yet one in three under 35s buy a new one every year! 

These findings didn’t sit very well with us, so we set out to offer a more sustainable option to consumers this year – through launching an innovative new limited-edition collection of alternative Christmas jumpers, with a real difference.

All three jumpers within the range are:

Reversible – with one side featuring a Christmas design and plain fabric on the other, it makes it the ideal winter staple

Designed with a serious environmental issue in mind – subtle environmental messaging has been weaved into each creative in order to raise awareness

Made from 100% organic cotton – no plastic materials or embellishments are in sight!

Raising funds for an environmental charity – proceeds from every sale will be donated to Hubbub

Part of a ‘swap shop’ initiative – once purchased, customers are given the option to send their old Christmas jumper back to get upcycled/donated to charity

View the collection here: https://www.iconprinting.com/icon-christmas-jumper-collection

100% of the profits from the ICON Christmas jumper collection will be donated to Hubbub (which equates to £10 minimum per sale).

Hubbub is an environmental charity that designs creative campaigns that raise awareness and engage the mainstream in important sustainability issues.  They focus on things that are relevant to people’s day to day lives such as fashion, food, our homes and where we live and work and empower people to take practical every day actions that make a difference. They recently won the Charity Awards’ Charity of the Year 2020 for their work.

Charity Number: 115870

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