Personalized Photo Coffee Mugs: 5 Tips for a better design.

Coffee mugs are one of those cozy objects that make everything more enjoyable. At home, at the office, at grandma’s: It’s like  life slows down once you take a sip, which is refreshing because life doesn’t usually come with settings. These personalized coffee mugs not only give you an overwhelming sense of peace but are incredibly ideal for promoting your business or event, like a family get together. However, these mugs can be hard to find or produce. Or are they? Luckily for you, I have put together everything one may need to personalize a coffee mug with photos or slogans! Try finding that in someone else’s resume.

Personalized Photo Coffee mugs, but which photo is right for me?

Putting a message in your customer’s hands is a fun gift, something you provide without selling anything, so it must be functional and distressed. It’s a message that gets to the mind on a smooth road, the easiest way to your client’s hearts. Rest assured they will receive the message loud and clear. Simplicity. Less is more. Try to catch their attention with a nice idea, do not think on an image like a sunset just because it is pretty, that doesn’t work, think on an idea and then find an image for it. Have fun and use inner jokes if you have to. If it’s a logo, and your intention is just brand recognition, do not waste the opportunity to use the background to add a complementary idea. It may be a color or a fade image you want to associate with your brand; Don’t use just a logo, don’t be that obvious. It’s photo coffee mugs: you can use photos, remember? Use an image that surround or support the idea of the logo. Let’s say you have a Barber shop logo, then the image in the background could be a salon in a monotone of the logo color. Use a background that adds more impact, like the sample here: If it’s an event, try to think on a connection or a result of that event, think always with a simile or a metaphor: think always like you are among friends. Be creative: Surprising messages makes people smile.

What about the message? I mean: it’s a coffee mug, not a flyer!

The lesser the better. Be concise, clear and simple. Do not describe your products or capabilities. It’s not an inventory.  Choose a phrase over a sentence, a sentence over a list. And, Oh God, do not use bullet points on a coffee mug! It must be readable from far away, catchy and it should complement the image, do not describe what the image is already describing. That is the secret to be remembered: The image and text should complement themselves. After all it’s a personalized coffee mug, so do it with your own image and likeness.

What to include?

The Logo!

When you are creating a personalized photo coffee mug for your business, you must include the business face: the logo. If you are using the logo over a photo, you must be careful which version of the logo you are using. For example, it must be the negative version in white if the picture is dark. Forget about your corporate colors when they are not working over a background: legibility is the name of the game, try to use the white version and gain in clarity instead of grabbing to a useless color gamut for that specific situation. And this is mandatory, if you have to use something: use the logo; if you run out of phrases, use the logo; if you have no muse because it on a  vacation to the Bahamas, guess what? Use the logo my friends!

The message.

Besides that, you will need a phrase with a clear text. Be the concise guy in the classroom. Again, be fun and creative. Be short, try not to use more than 7 words as a reference. 7 words is the largest you can go to stay focused.  It must be readable and remembered.


If, and only if it’s extremely necessary: Use the phone number, or the email, or if you have a website with all the contact information please use it (read here: as a last resort). The shortest version of the website should be present, without that “www.” nonsense. But try not to overwhelm the fun part, it’s not a newspaper.

How to design it?

The photo coffee mugs are cylindrical, not flat. Even if we design on a flat surface, we need to have that shape in mind when we design. For example, if we are using a logo, we need to choose from only one side or two sides like front and back of the coffee mug. Another important aspect is the size which is basically a rectangular shape. If we are using a collage, we need to know that we have enough space for about 3 pictures on a mug. Coffee Mugs have two main sizes, the more standard: 8.5×3″ and 9×4″ Here is a diagram of the area you will have in order to design them successfully:
11 OZ Coffee Mug
15 OZ Coffee Mug
When we are designing any piece, we need to take care of a few things:
  1. The print area: There are two main sizes, 8.5×3 and 9×4 inches. There is no point in designing something for a letter size when we are actually using a third of that surface. So, it would be very useful to use one of our templates to design based on the final area.
  2. The safe area: This is the space we keep from the border of our design area. For example, if we are using a phrase or text, try not to get too close so it will look cut, uncomfortable or incomplete. Or if we are using a picture, try not to leave the important elements in the picture too close to the borders.
  3. The image resolution: It’s important when you design elements to print, you keep the image resolution at 300 DPI at final size, otherwise your image may look blurry or in low quality. This is true especially if you are including text because it will become not legible.
  4. Color mode: Do not use RGB color space, we have to make sure that the file we provide to print is in CMYK, which is the color mode used for the modern presses.
  5. File type: When you are using files to print, the best option is PDF. This is a format file that can carry images and vectors together. Other popular files like JPG are not as good because it is simply a picture of our design, even if it’s smaller in size, it’s not magic: They are smaller because it reduces the color deep dramatically.

Why choose coffee mugs?

Because of its advantages:

  • Coffee mugs are useful: It’s not like a photo, or a postcard where their only function is to be read. Photo coffee mugs are meant for something utilitarian and be more than useful but reusable.
  • Can be microwaveable, and “dishwasher-aveable”.
  • Portable. It helps you stay hydrated anywhere you go.
  • Personalized, thus truly unique.
  • It can be very expressive since it is printed in full color and personalizable.
  • It’s a gift from the heart, the extra touch.
  • The most modern form of advertising media.


Personalized photo coffee mugs are truly a unique advertising piece for the modern day entrepreneur. Always use the logo with an image, or a color associated in the background. If you have to use text: use a short phrase (no more than 7 words if possible) and be fun and creative. We like to associate good feelings to things that surprises us. Stay away from the borders. If you have to organize a closet, you don’t put things one on top of the other until you have to put pressure to close it (nobody does that except my brother). Try to use the less contact info you can, usually the website will be enough, if you have one, of course. Think on a surface that will be cylindrical and design accordingly. The coffee mugs will have 3 sides that can be facing the user. You can use all the space available, or repeat or complement your images on the mug. Use only high-quality images and your gift will be kept for life. If you  still have any doubt, this link will give you another example of this modern advertising media.
Personalized Photo Coffee Mug
Here is where you can print your personalized photo coffee mugs on our website Download free any of these templates. You will find EPS and JPG files. Template files may open in 72dpi. Please check the resolution/DPI before placing your artwork over the top. Download template for 11 OZ Coffee Mug here Download template for 15 OZ Coffee Mug here