20 of the best (and worst) British universities’ souvenirs

Sometimes there’s just nothing like a good, ol’ university hoodie. They allow you to show your school pride while keeping you toasty during the colder months, and not to mention providing some extra cash to the university by selling them.

As it turns out, universities are not just a place where people go to study — they’re also a brand and as with any other brand, they worry about their awareness. And like any other brand, they apply marketing techniques to make themselves known. One of such is selling merchandise. 

And here at Printsome, because we care about the important stuff know about branding, have decided to rank this merchandise.  

Keep in mind that we cannot vouch for the quality of these products — we would’ve liked to order each one and try them out ourselves but alas, we don’t have that kind of marketing budget! — so we’re going to judge them based solely on design and what shows up on the websites.

Below you’ll find a list from worst to best when it comes to uni merchandise… Who do you think will be number one?

Note:  This was written on high doses of caffeine and therefore, should not be taken seriously.

#20 University of Surrey

Universities Merchandise: Surrey

While this university’s logo is aesthetically pleasing and works well in almost any format, the online shop leaves a lot to be desired. For starters, there’s no zoom option! How is that possible at an online shop in 2016?

Favourite item: I “deer”(?) Surrey tote bag

Why?: No zoom option?

#19 University of Stirling

University Merchandise: Stirling

Again, no zooming button. Why would you even…?  Anyway, Stirling’s online shop offers several items organised into different collections in which the Memorabilia one stand out. Our only comment is, no T-shirts and hoodies? Stirling, give us a call! We’ll get you sorted.

Favourite item: Squirrel note pad

Why?: Golf balls — really? You’re selling golf balls, but no T-shirts?

#18 University of York

Universities Merchandise: York

Quantity is not the name of the game here, and we’re not saying it should be, what we mean is that we would’ve liked to see more T-shirt options! Other than that, the website also suffers a terrible case of the no zooming disease, but it does have one of the coolest items we’ve seen so far: A Monopoly: University of York edition. I didn’t even know those existed. 

Favourite item: Monopoly, University of York edition

Why?: Monopoly, University of York edition

#17 University of Bristol

University Merchandise: Bristol

While the online shop does offer a varied set of articles, it’s web design leaves a lot to be desired. I don’t mean to offend anyone, but it’s a bit on the cheap side. Although it does have a zoom-in option!

Favourite item: Chunky zip-up, fair-trade hoodie (although you should never pair it with sockless loafers — ever)

Why: A Hooded dress. No. Dresses shouldn’t be hooded.

#16 Nottingham Trent University

Universities Merchandise: Nottingham Trent

I understand it is part of the student’s union, but a bit more variation would help. At the moment of writing this blog post, it’s only got four different garments. Still, it’s got a zoom-in option!

Favourite Item: Shield Sweatshirt

Why?: That’s it? 

#15 Queen’s University of Belfast

Universities Merchandise: Belfast

LARGE selection of garments, enabled by the Prep Sportswear platform. This is also my first time being exposed to the “Maniac” sweatshirt, which I only hope got its name from the Flashdance movie. She is a maaaaniac… maaaaaniac…

Favourite item: “Maniac” Sweatshirt

Why?: Purple and red is not necessarily the best colour combination

#14 University of Buckingham

Universities Merchandise: Buckingham

While this university doesn’t offer a great variety of merchandise, maybe it doesn’t have to because it’s got for sale an effortlessly cool varsity jacket.

Favourite item: Varsity Jacket

Why?: Only one kind of mug

#13 Imperial College London

Universities Merchandise: Imperial College London

This online shop is a bit harder to navigate than the others as it sometimes takes you to third party website where you have to order your customised jewellery. As for the rest, it’s got a good amount of products, giving their shoppers many options.

Favourite item: Fancy Watch

Why?: Weather station

#12 University of Bath

Universities Merchandise: Bath

For its 50 anniversary, the University of Bath launched a line of products commemorating the occasion. Along with the expected printed T-shirts, there are some hoodies and a limited edition teddy bear. The collection goes hand in hand with the rest of the products on the store.

Favourite item: Pewter Pocket Flask

Why?: “Kylie” shorts do not come in gold (if you get that reference you’ll earn my respect forever).

#11 University of Portsmouth

Universities Merchandise: Portsmouth

Out of all the schools so far, Portsmouth is the one that probably has the most corporate-looking merchandise and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Donning purple, like other universities on the list, these items look sleek and well designed.

Favourite item: Coaster (I’m as surprised as you are)

Why?: A tablecloth

#10 Liverpool John Moores University

Universities Merchandise: Liverpool John Moore Since this Liverpudlian (just found out that’s a word) school has got a major sports science program, it only makes sense that their merchandise features some cool looking sports gear. May it be for running, playing rugby or going to the gym, you’ll find something you like here for sure.

Favourite item: Premium diagonal polo

Why?: No “maniac” Sweatshirts

#9 King’s College London

University Merchandise: King's College LondonAt first glance, this might seem like the website for a high street brand rather than the online shop of a university, which is not a problem. It just means it’s glossy. Worth noting that it features seasonal collections and they sell a photographic printed T-shirt, which is the first on our list.

Favourite: “Appeal” T-shirt

Why?: Shot glass set (is it appropriate for a university to sell?)

#8 Leeds Beckett

Universities Merchandise: Leeds Beckett

This University has chosen purple as its signature colour and is not afraid to use it. In terms of web design, this is one of the best. The online shop is very clean and easy to navigate. As for the merchandise itself, there’s nothing terribly creative, just your standard university merch.

Favourite: The Badge

Why?: Hip flask is not really hip

#7 London School of Economics

Universities Merchandise: London School of Economics

LSE’s merchandise features some serious hoodies, some bold slogans and many pieces featuring the school’s mascot: the beaver. Out of all the shops we’ve seen so far, this one features the most variety and it also marks the first one on our list that sells a quote T-shirt.

Favourite item: George Bernard Shaw quote T-shirt

Why?: The fact that economists never agree on anything

#6 University of Manchester

Universities Merchandise: Manchester

Another school with purple as an official colour (did they run out of Pantones?). In its online shop we’ll find the typical branded clothes like T-shirts, sweatshirts and polos, but along you’ll also find a onesie of all things.

Favourite item: The Whitworth Hall Mug

Why?: Onesie

#5 Durham University

Universities Merchandise: Durham

The university from the city in north-east England features a varied and healthy catalogue of merchandised products. From tops to mugs, the collection does a good job at representing Durham’s culture and heritage. The thing we don’t get is, all of the Sir Thomas Allen stuff — it made us feel like groupies.

Favourite item: Zip-Up Hoodie

Why: Sir Thomas Allen “Great Operatic Arias CD” — I know he is the chancellor, but do you have to sell his music?

#4 University of Cambridge

Universities Merchandise: Cambridge

Cambridge’s online shop definitely gets points for being interactive — it allows you to design your own scarf! Ravenclaw uniform, here I come. Aside from the scarf-making witchcraft, this online platform also sells all kinds of jumpers decorated in the university’s colours and symbols, going from sweat-shirts through hoodies to lambswool v-necks.

Favourite item: Lambswool sweater

Why?: The scarf tool doesn’t allow you to add a Hogwarts logo

#3 University of Edinburgh

Universities Merchandise: Edinburgh

If you (like me) are wondering why a sheep randomly pops up every once in a while at this university’s online shop, worry not — this is Dolly. For those who don’t know, Dolly was the first cloned mammal ever and she was conceived(?) at the Roslin Institute which is part of the University of Edinburgh. I don’t think she’s the official mascot, but Dolly is definitely appreciated and for that sole reason the University deserves a high mark on our list. Other than that (do you need anything else?) Edinburgh offers a healthy collection of tops and accessories.

Favourite item: Tie between the distressed sweat-shirt and the infographic bag

Why?: Christmas Bauble

#2 University of Oxford

Universities Merchandise: Oxford

Being, arguably, the most famous university in the UK, Oxford has a lot to live up to. May that be academics, sports or — you guessed it — merchandise. The Oxford brand is a powerful one and the university is putting it to good use. Their online shop has got a healthy selection of your typical items like stationery, cufflinks and scarves, but then it also got a special section for official Quidditch team uniforms! Did you hear that, Cambridge?

Favourite item: The Rugby Quidditch Shirt

Why?: Glow in the dark dinosaur

#1 Glasgow

Universities Merchandise: Glasgow

The University of Glasgow has got its merchandise game down. They’ve done everything right. First of all, the online shop is good looking and easy to browse. Second, all of the products seem to be of good quality and look great. Third, they collaborate with artists like Libby Walker to create special collections. Fourth, they sell third party items that fit into the style and culture of the university. And to top it all off, they got a section called “Typically Scottish stuff.” That’s how Glasgow has earned the first spot on our list.

Favourite item: The shield pendant, the illustrated tote bag, the canvas bag, the fish charm… there so many cute items I cannot choose just one!

Why?: Tartan bonnet

Did we miss your university? Do you think it should be featured on this list? Then please, let us know. We always love to hear from you! Leave us a comment below or reach us via any of our social media networks.

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