Our tips to create totes

The tote bag is a classic. It’s simple, easy, versatile, and nowadays you’ll find one slung over shoulders in most directions in which you care to look. For that reason, it’s a great option when creating custom merchandise for your brand. You know that many clients or customers will be open to having one, and the nature of the tote – simple, with a large expanse of space – lend themselves to whatever design or aesthetic you have in mind.

But how to stand out? With such an abundance of totes around, how can you make it that it’s your bag which people want to own, rather than any of the others they’ve seen? Of course, your brand and their relationship to it plays a big part in this, as people will be more keen to wear a bag if it sports the name of a brand they want to be associated with. 

At the same time, however, this is a two-way street. If you’re a small business starting out, and you can create a bag that people want to wear, then the ripple effects could lead to greater brand recognition and awareness. So it’s worth trying to do something a little different, and create a product that grabs people’s attention.

Below are our top tote bag printing tips to make your bag stand out.

1. Use special inks

As well as creating a standout design, how about the ink you print it on? We offer a range of special inks which can help your bag standout. These include neon colours, metallic, glow in the dark and reflective. These inks are often especially effective when used with restraint – positioned to the corner of your bag, or in one part of your design. It makes for a subtle but attention grabbing detail.

2. Bespoke dyed bag

There’s another way you can do something different with your tote bag: the bag itself. While there’s much to be said for the plain canvas bag, you can also change things up with a different colour for the bag. There are two ways you can do this. On the one hand, we have a set of options for ready to print bags in certain colours, so you can pick one of these. Or if there’s a more unusual colour you’d like – if you really want to have something different – then you can print a bespoke dyed bag.

3.Print in CMYK 

Printing in CMYK is a screen printing method that can produce interesting effects, and it can be used to great effect on tote bags. In practical terms, it means separating your design into four different colours – though this is something that our production team may be able to do for you – to then be printed with four different screens. You can use this to get a photo-realistic print, or to create interesting effects (such as the awesome bag, above, which ICON printed for Olly Burn.)

(To learn more about screen printing head here.)

4. Embroidery

Embroidery is most commonly used for hats or workwear, but there’s no reason to say it can’t be used on a tote bag too. This could be instead of or in combination with a printed design, and is a great way to add a textured bit of something different to your bag. In particular, if you wanted to include your logo or a snappy slogan, embroidery could be the way to go.

5. DTG printing

While screen printing is the most common option for tote bags, it could be worth considering DTG – especially if you have an ultra-detailed or photo-realistic design which you’d like to print.

Want to create your own custom tote bags? ICON Printing offer fast turnaround tote bag printing and embroidery, counting a number of clients ranging from such as WeWork to Boiler Room and the Tate. Get a quote in 2 minutes online.