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The Perfect Promotional Bag: Within Reach

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Promotional bags are a highly versatile and budget-friendly way to advertise your business and raise brand awareness. However, to ensure success, there are a few elements to keep in mind. We have outlined the main aspects to guide your selection process, including fabric choice, brand identity, bag type, and customization techniques. The trick is that these should not be considered independently but as interdependent pieces of a puzzle. For the marketing strategy to work, all of the components should come together in a complementary way, with the final product being a true statement piece of your brand identity.

Fabric Selection


Fabric choice for your promotional bag is essential since it has to be customization-friendly. The safest route would be to opt for natural materials like canvas and cotton since these offer a good base for virtually any personalization technique. There are a lot of ways to express your creativity and realize your marketing strategy through eco-friendly items.

Here is a short list of the most reliable fabrics for customization and some of the techniques they support:

  • Cotton: digital printing, screen printing, heat transfer printing, embroidery, painting.
  • Canvas: digital printing, heat transfer printing, drawing, painting, spray painting.
  • Jute: embroidery, digital printing, screen printing, spray painting.
  • Polyester: digital printing, heat transfer printing, block printing.
  • Silk: digital printing, painting.
  • Denim: screen printing, embroidery, paint, spray painting.  
  • Clear vinyl: digital printing.

Price Range


Bags are such a popular and beloved promotional item because they can fit any budget. Depending on what amount you are prepared to invest, you can opt for premium items or more economical ones. However, it is worth investing in a durable and long-lasting bag that will serve your clients for years to come. If the product will have a longer life span, it means that you will be able to reap the benefits for an extended period.

However, you can also have a budget-friendly approach to quality products. Start by looking for items on promotion; many vendors offer daily, weekly or monthly deals. With a bit of luck and research, you can find quality bags under $1. Also, consider purchasing larger quantities. Again, some vendors offer considerable discounts per item for higher orders. 

The price range for a promotional bag is closely linked to fabric types. For example, non-woven items are less expensive than cotton ones, while jute is more expensive than cotton. Although jute might be more durable, it might not meet your customization needs. As discussed before, all these aspects are interlinking. Try to stay flexible and adapt the product to your needs and available resources.

Color Theory


Chromatics has a central role in marketing and design. Therefore, pay extra attention to selecting the color of your bag in relation to the logo. To find the perfect chromatic combination for your promotional bag, use the color wheel. This was invented by Sir Isaac Newton in 1666 by mapping the whole color spectrum on a circular pattern. The color theory was formulated to highlight the relationships between different elements and how to combine these in a visually pleasing way. 

Artists and designers have been using these theoretical principles to guide them in achieving chromatic harmony in their designs and evoking a pleasant visual experience in the viewer. The world of colors is governed by a set of rules. These are based on the relative position of each element on the wheel. Here are the basic combination variants:

  • Complementary colors create a striking visual effect. This is achieved by pairing elements that are at opposite ends of the spectrum. The interesting aspect of this alternative is that the colors highlight each other.
  • Monochromatic combinations rely on different shades/tones of the same color. This approach creates a rather different visual effect, evoking a more discrete feeling. 
  • Analogous colors are neighbors on the color wheel, and they offer a versatile chromatic scheme for a design. 
  • Triadic combinations consist of three colors at opposite ends of the chart, leading to daring and vibrant visuals. 
  • Tetradic pairings are similar to the previous one, with the sole difference being the use of four colors rather than three. 

Bag Type


Consider the bag type based on your brand identity and the target audience. Think about how you want the promotional bag to be used by your clients. Invest the item with a specific purpose, be that holding documents, carrying heavy loads, or keeping lunch fresh. Below are some suggestions for different types of bags you can integrate into your marketing plan:

The Design


The most common approach to the design of a promotional bag is to print the company logo. Although it might not be the most out-of-the-box approach, it is effective. Still, you can include other elements next to your logo or go a completely different route. You can choose a message or an appealing drawing as the centerpiece. Depending on your strategy, you can also include contact information, like a website.

When preparing the design there are a few essential elements to consider, namely location, size, and colors. Place the image strategically on the bag to appear naturally integrated. Also, take into account the available area a particular bag offers. Of course, if you go for a blank tote bag, there is plenty of space. However, a clear fanny pack allows for only a limited free surface. 

Design is at the intersection of visual arts, marketing, business, and psychology. The last of which is often overlooked. However, psychology is crucial in connecting to your target audience and evoking feelings through visual stimuli. Here are a few basic psychology principles to consider for your creative process:

  • Pleasing visuals improve usability and influence decision-making.
  • Simplicity protects the viewer from being overwhelmed.
  • Visual language is a form of universal communication.

The Technique


There are different customization options you can choose for promotional bags. Each technique has a specific set of advantages and shortfalls. The main differences between methods revolve around the medium and the instruments used. These, in turn, may favor a more (or less) complex design; the durability of the image also varies between methods. 

Some techniques (like embroidery) are also more time consuming than others (digital printing). Furthermore, material selection plays a crucial role as well, since not all materials support any kind of customization. When deciding on a method, keep all these aspects in mind in addition to the size of the order, your budget, and design. Here are some of the main customization techniques that can be used for promotional bags:

  • Screen printing: creates a long-lasting design. However, it can be time-consuming if you have a high order to meet and complex images that require different colors. To recreate more intricate patterns, go for monochrome. Select a color that represents your brand and create a striking contrast with the shade of the bag.
  • Digital printing: can recreate a complex design and has a high production ratio. However, it is not as long-lasting as screen printing.
  • Heat transfer: relies on heat to transfer an image onto the fabric.
  • Embroidery: it offers products an elevated feel. However, it is limited in reproducing complex designs. 

To learn more about customization methods, read our previous article on 10 Ways to Decorate Blank Tote Bags.

Stay True to Your Brand


Let your brand identity guide you through the entire process of creating the perfect promotional bag. Choose the fabric, color, design, and all other elements to resonate with your business. However, this entails a deep and intimate knowledge of the brand. 

If you are a youthful company paving the way in a niche domain, consider a canvas tote bag with a creative and striking screen printed design. Go for bold and fresh colors to complement a minimalistic image. While a company that is more focused on earthly delights and raising ecological awareness could build a marketing strategy starting with a burlap tote bag. An embroidered logo accompanied by a small detail like a representative image or message would be in line with the sustainable trend.

If you are uncertain about your brand identity, here is a simple and fun exercise to help you out of the jam. Think of your business as a person. How do they look? Outline their physical characteristics. Then imagine what a typical day would look like in that person’s life. Create a timetable with their main activities. Finally, connect these activities to values and beliefs. Personifying your brand will make the concept more tangible and infuse it with an emotional connection, which will appeal to the public.

Also, having a clear brand identity that is reflected in your marketing strategy can help you stand out among your competitors. Be the magenta umbrella that rises above the sea of black umbrellas. When outlying your plan of action, try to think outside the box and go for a less conventional option. For more inspiration, check out our article about 5 Whimsical Promotion Gift Ideas in the Hospitality Industry.

Within Hand’s Reach

The above-mentioned aspects help bring the perfect promotional bag within hand’s reach. Creating a statement piece product is a process that requires time and energy. Contour your marketing strategy and the requirements a promotional item should meet to genuinely reflect your brand identity. Here at Tote Bag Factory, we have a wide range of products that can serve as a solid starting point for your creative design. Access our customization service and let us bring your vision to life.