Top tote inspiration

The tote’s brilliance lies in its simplicity. Composed of just a rectangle of fabric and two straps, this no-nonsense vehicle for your stuff is also a wonderfully effective advertising board. For this reason, and despite its lightweight heft, the tote carries a lot of weight with the UK public. 

Walk down any high street and you’ll see cotton totes slung over the shoulders of men, women and children. Totes in hot pink, blue, black and white. Totes printed with funny slogans, the wearer’s favourite celebrity, and those that show their allegiance to a brand (like the now ubiquitous New Yorker bag).

They can be worn almost anywhere, by anyone. And they can be printed with almost anything. That’s why so many brands are investing in totes as a part of their brand strategy – and why you should too. (For more on why totes are an effective marketing tool, head here.) If you’re thinking about tote bag printing, here are some awesome examples to get your ideas whirring.

Fatto a Mano

The name of this esteemed Brighton pizzeria translates as “Made By Hand”. With ICON, the team created a classy-looking tote, in a clean navy and cream colourway, nicely underscoring the restaurant’s polished, quality feel. The English translation of the restaurant name is printed on the reverse, a simple statement of the ethos behind their food, and an enjoyable touch for any fans who speak a bit of Italian.


Founded in 1875, this West End department store has garnered a reputation for – amongst other things – its beautiful patterned fabrics, which in the years since have been used on everything from shirts to trainers, pocket squares, dresses, and, of course, tote bags. This example shows how pattern and print can be combined to striking effect.


Tranferwise is a game-changing startup that has allowed millions of customers worldwide to send money abroad much more cheaply and quickly than before. With ICON’s help, they designed a tote that spoke to that bold, ambitious ethos, using a bespoke blue dye to half-coat their bags. (For more on different options for dyes, designs and everything else you need to know about tote design, head here for our guide.)


Noble Rot

Like a skilled sommelier, this gastronomy magazine, restaurant and wine bar, founded by former Island Records boss Dan Keeling, pairs the finest celebrities of the music and film worlds (Brian Eno, Keira Knightley, Francis Ford Coppola, to name a few) with Britain’s best foodie talents. Its “Sex & Drugs & Pinot Noir” tote reflects the brand’s combination of stardust, silliness and serious drinkability.

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We're excited about taking part in this Sunday and Monday's RAW wine fair in London. Come and see us for tote bags, back issues and the new Noble Rot 13 featuring Francis Ford Coppola, Mike D, Giles Coren & Marina O'Loughlin.

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Olly Burn

Photographer Olly Burn has worked creative magic on campaigns for brands including Adidas, British Airways, Nike and Sony. When it came to making a tote bag, he wanted to shake things up, too, enlisting ICON to screen print the bag in CMYK. It’s the first time we’d done printed in CMYK on a tote bag, and it resulted in a fantastic, eye-catching finished product.



The steamed buns at this pan-Asian mini chain have become become a star of London’s casual dining scene and so, too, have the designs on their posters, t-shirts, and tote bags, simple line drawn sketches that communicate the personality behind the brand.

Daunt Books

This Edwardian book shop in Marylebone is a dream of dusty tomes, big leather chairs and dark wood panelling, where readers can hole up for the day with a classic novel, or one of the expertly chosen selection of new titles. Its tote bags are printed with delicately rendered images of the shopfront and interior.


There are no apologies at this London coffee and food business, where the drinks are strong enough to wake you from the deadliest hangover, and the branding is millennial pink, pink and more pink. Likewise, their bags take a bolshy tone that plays on their enjoyably brash brand.

Need to print custom cotton tote bags? At ICON Printing we offer a range of tote bag printing, from fast turnaround ready to print totes to elaborate bespoke orders. Get a quote in 2 minutes online.