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Undeniably recognised as the most popular personalised accessory, the Tote Bag is our best-selling accessory for events and promotional merchandise alike, with our Organic Cotton Shopper Tote quickly becoming a client favourite, and with good reason. Let’s break it down. 

Reusability and Sustainability

Tote bags are reusable and can last for a long time, reducing the need for single-use plastic bags. This makes them an eco-friendly choice that aligns with the values of many consumers and is a great hack when wanting to do more implicit marketing launches, as clients are likely to re-use these in more organic settings that would be unreachable from a company without extension marketing budgets. By offering personalised tote bags as a core personalised merchandise offering, company’s can showcase their commitment to sustainability and attract customers who prioritise eco-friendliness – a growing trend between Gen Z’s and Millennial shoppers; with 90% more willing to make a purchase that is more sustainable.

Practicality and Versatility

Tote bags are an everyday practical and versatile essential, making them suitable for a wide range of purposes. They can be used as grocery bags, beach bags, gym bags, or even as a stylish accessory for everyday use. Personalised tote bags can also be used as promotional items at events, conferences, or trade shows, showcasing your brand and increasing visibility.

Cost-Effective and Customizable

Tote bags are one of our most cost efficient merchandise options and at ICON, can be customised to reflect your brand’s identity and message in so many unique ways. Our Long Handle Shopper Tote is amongst the most popular styles we offer; averaging to just under £1.50 per unit, and can be designed with your company logo, slogan, or artwork, making them an ideal personalised merchandise option. Our Tote bags also come in a variety of sizes, colours, and styles, allowing you to choose the best option that suits your brand and target audience.

Trendy and Fashionable

Tote bags have become a trendy statement piece and fashionable accessory, with many designers and brands incorporating them into their collections. Personalised tote bags can be designed to reflect current fashion trends or to showcase your brand’s unique style and aesthetic, with Tote Bag sales reflecting an upwards growth trend regardless of niche or industry. By offering this in-trend form of personalised merchandise, companies are able to appeal to a wider audience; especially those who prioritise eco-friendliness, and increase overarching brand awareness. 

With their reusability, versatility, cost-effectiveness, and customisability, Tote Bags offer an edge over choosing your brand’s next merchandise offering, creating an opportunity to showcase your brand’s values and increase visibility. So, why not make tote bags your company’s next personalised merchandise choice? 

Keen to find out more? Our passionate team of experts is waiting to hear from you and help you guide your next order, Email us at sales@iconprinting.com or click here for an instant quote! 

Priding ourselves as experts in the field, here at ICON we cover all your printing needs from A to Z. Whilst screen printing is our most loved service, and unsurprisingly, is amongst the most popular fabric printing methods in the world, it is also widely scrutinised under the sustainability radar.

Why? Let’s break it down. 

The History:

Requiring practitioners to use a brush to manually force ink through the screens, the origins of screen printing date back as early as the 1920s. With the invention of Vasilantone’s dual rotary printing press; which allowed for fabric to be placed through sets of rotating pallets and print heads, the traditional transfer method was made obsolete and altered the history of this holy-grail printing technique. Initially, limited to hand-made only, screen printing was slow and costly. However, after Vasilantone’s invention, printing happened much more quickly, cleanly and efficiently, becoming a designer favourite. 

For a more in-depth article on the origins of screen printing, read this super cool piece by experts: The man who changed t-shirt printing forever.

Production:

With the use of screen printing now directed towards the production of mass produced personalised merchandise, due to the cost and time efficiency, its use is deemed unsustainable. However, with now being able to control the production for the same cost efficiencies, screen printing may be made more sustainable through limiting the overproduction of unsold merchandise. Yet, not all of it boils down to scale, but more so – resources.

Screen printing makes use of ink to print. Plastisol inks contain PVC; a micro-plastic named the most environmentally damaging of all plastics. Not only does this cause serious health risks throughout the production process but also contributes to the plastics damaging ecosystems on our planet.

Water-based inks on the other hand: pigments suspended in water, provide us with a more sustainable alternative. This no plastics option is as sustainable as can be from production to product, better for your skin; due to the fabric being left more breathable and the screens and equipment, after printed, are washed with plain water. At ICON, we aim to be as eco-conscious as possible and drive the change towards more sustainable printing by leading by example. As our raison d’etre, we take into consideration your order quantity, use and designs when deciding how we complete your order, and target to be the most planet friendly as possible. 

For more insight on sustainable dyes, read: The Eco-friendly guide to screen printing

Picking your apparel: 

When considering your medium for personalised merchandise, t-shirts are the first form of apparel that comes to mind – and we have to agree! Despite it being the most popular type, screen printing can be done on a variety of custom-made apparel such as baseball caps, reusable bottles and more. As part of our printing services at ICON now extended to include these options, we also advise on giving new, and more sustainable apparel, a go.

In comparison to a personalised, water ink dyed, screen printed sweatshirt, custom printed baseball caps are more durable due to the lack of washing involved, and as a result, last longer. Similarly, take into account when deciding on creating merchandise: are you able to set-up a pre order so the printing quantity can be optimised to only those items sold? Can you consider printing on sustainably sourced, organic fabrics? A lot of our sustainability concerns may also be addressed along the journey of your order.

To find out more about sustainable screen printing for your personalised merchandise, contact our sales team or click here to get an instant quote.

Working within the realms of customised printing, ICON has successful delivered personalised merchandise to thousands of clients in the UK and worldwide in our time within the industry. As part of our expertise, we provide white labelling, and more particularly, re-labelling services, which can readily be used to improve quality, enhance brand image and make significant impact in increasing the perceived value of merchandise.  

Here’s everything you need to know about it.

The What:

White labelling is the process of ordering already assembled products from a manufacturer or wholesaler and then customising these products to include your own labels, branding and unique offering. Here at ICON, we work closely with clients who want to commission this service and provide the product i.e., our Organic Unisex T-shirts, our Heavy Blend Hoodies and other printable apparel we sustainably source, and customise these with their chosen colours, designs and even customised company or logo-specific labelling.

For our current clients and prospect users alike, the method of white labeling has now made it exponentially simpler; and more cost effective, to create their own personalized merchandise. An industry in particular that has been momentously impacted by the widespread growth of white labeling is the Music industry.

Professionals in the industry such as Cochrane (2022) reported a significant rise in the demand, and the corresponding sales of fan merchandise, with Travis Scott’s London O2 show in August of this year, selling nearly £1 million pounds worth of merchandise at these concerts. For smaller or independent artists in the UK within the industry, a study conducted by Spotify (2022) found an identical sentiment, with revenue generated from fan merchandise providing a sustainable financial stream of income for these artists during a time where revenue from streaming is negligible and the cost-of-living crisis is continually impacting ticket sales.

The Why:

With ICON’s white labelling services being simple, sustainable and cost effective to execute, it’s now easier than ever before to start your business, improve your brand awareness and grow a stronger audience. Whether you’re an independent creator or hosting a local triathlon, making use of our white labelling services enables a stress-free journey to design and sustainably executing your ultimate personalised merchandise.

How?

It’s cost effective:

By using a white labelling printing provider, the costs of sourcing a supplier, having to order in large or minimum order quantities, and the price of working with multiple vendors; such aa a graphic designer, a wholesaler and an embroidery specialist, are removed. Here at ICON, we streamline the process of creating your personalised merchandise and manage every stage of the process, all in-house and all within our quoted price. (there’s no surprises!)

It’s simple:

The complexity of creating personalised merchandise, especially with the plethora of textiles, printing techniques and more, can be hard to understand and fulfil. White labelling allows for a large majority of the hard work; and time, associated with production to decrease – or be removed all together. Now, without the need to sample fabrics, find a manufacturer and manage a production team, your time can be used towards building your business or working on making viral content for your audience.

It’s more sustainable:

Without the associated energy and waste used to mass produce merchandise with minimum order quantities for more competitive prices, you can now produce only what you need or what has already been sold. By placing sustainability and environmental impact at the forefront, here at ICON you can purchase quantities as low as a single item, and choose your desired fabric, apparel type and according to your design, a printing technique as well.

Want to find out more? To get an instant quote, click here or contact us at sales@iconprinting.com and one of our team will be in touch to get you started.

In the print world, screen printing is one of the most common methods used in personalised merchandise production, and with good reason. At ICON, it’s often our main method of printing for time sensitive, high-quality and long-lasting personalised t-shirts, whilst allowing for expert levels of detail and a wide variety of customisation. However, this holy grail method of printing has been labelled unsustainable in the past and is largely a result of the dyes involved in the process. Let’s break it down.

The concept:

Screen printing comprises of using the technique of creating a picture or pattern by forcing ink or metal on to a surface through a screen of fine material. The cost of using this printing technique is based off the artwork involved; the level of details, the range of colour, as each colour requires a separate screen, adding to the additional cost, and the volume of the order. Each of these factors combined then impacts the type of ink and dyeing process that can be used.

Want to dive deeper? Read our expert’s ultimate guide to screen printing here.

Inks:

What inks are used to fulfil an order is ultimately based on the suitability of the dye for the merchandise order requested. Screen printing works ideally for larger orders that encompass artwork with spot colours, as opposed to photographs or full colour prints with gradients, and are most commonly made using plastisol ink. Although widely applied when screen printing and renown for it’s durability and cost-effective nature, the main component in plastisol ink is made with PVC and is essentially liquid plastic, making it difficult to recycle, break-down after the product lifecycle, and overall is harmful to the environment.

The more sustainable solution? Water-based inks.

Water-based inks use water as the main solvent in carrying pigment, which allows for the inks to be sharp and vibrant, making it much easier to extract, produce and better for the environment. With water-based screen printing, the inks used are thinner and more transparent than other types of printing dyes and, in comparison to plastisol ink, water-based dyes penetrate deeper into fabric, resulting a softer and more breathable print, not crumbling when the t-shirts are scrunched up. According to Bristow (2021) making use of water-based inks and organic cotton for your apparel allow for deeper absorption into the fabric, increasing wearability and product longevity, driving further within the eco-friendly nature of the dye.

While water-based inks are the more sustainable screen-printing option, it has its limitations.

Cottons only: The problem with water-based screen printing is that you cannot print on 100% polyester.  This is because when water hits polyester, it creates a film on top of the fabric that keeps the ink from seeping in. Instead, here at ICON, we use 100% organically sourced cotton for your garments. For more options, check out our catalogue of apparel here.

Know your dyes: There are all sorts of water-based inks, from high solids water-based inks, which are excellent for stretchy fabrics, to discharge inks, which works through a bleaching process where the colour of the ink replaces the shirt’s colour. Look for dyes that are made from natural, sustainable materials and these dyes work just as effectively as synthetic dyes, but are much better for our planet.

At ICON, we pride ourselves as pioneers in sustainable screen-printing industry. Want to find out more? Click here to get an instant quote or email us at sales@iconprinting.com and someone from our team will get in touch.

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