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Printed Bags Buying Guide

There is a huge variety of bags that you can choose from for gifts and giveaways. Narrowing down your options starts with taking a step back and looking at your choice from the recipient's point of view. Who is going to receive your promotional bag? What will they use it for? Ask yourself these questions before you begin shopping for bags in bulk, and take a look through our buying guide below for more details.

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Step 1: Choosing the Right Type of Bag
Step 2: Choosing the Right Material
Step 3: Choosing the Right Imprint Style

Step 1: Choosing the Right Type of Bag

Different bags serve different purposes. This is where knowing your audience will come in handy. The key to a good promotional product is usefulness. If the item is one the recipient can use frequently, it is most likely to be seen by others and will therefore be more effective as a branding tool. Here are some types of bags and which audiences might benefit from each:


Traditional shoulder backpacks are ideal for students, though can be used by others as well. From kindergarten all the way through college, they offer convenient storage and transportation of textbooks and school supplies. They are durable and will last for years to come. Students will have use for them on a daily basis, which will gain your brand a ton of exposure. If your business offers a product or service that students (or their parents) would buy, a traditional backpack is the perfect giveaway.

Backpacks are also used for travel. Because they don't require any hands to carry them, many people will often choose a backpack for short trips, hiking, camping, etc. Consider these audiences as well. If your product or service will benefit them, traditional or even drawstring backpacks might be the best option.

Tote Bags

Promotional tote bags are useful for just about anyone who wants to find a use for them. From groceries to paperwork to clothing, tote bags can be used to carry a lot of items conveniently. Even with tote bags, however, you still have some decisions to make to narrow down the selection. Again, think of your recipients as well as the message you want to send them.

Tote bags with a sturdy plastic bottom, gusseted sides for expansion, reinforced stitching and strong handles make great reusable grocery bags that tell your audience you care about the environment. Slim tote bags are great for carrying files and papers, making them ideal for teachers and other professionals whose job requires the transport of paperwork. Stylish tote bags with interesting designs or handles might be best for targeting people who travel often, providing them with a trendy alternative to duffel bags.

Golf Bags

You don't have to have a target demographic of hard-core golfers in order to hand out promotional golf bags, but these are very specific promos that will appeal to a limited audience. Golf bags are ideal for businesses that provide a product or service that has to do with the sport itself.

You can find everything from inexpensive bags for golf balls, tees and accessories all the way up to wheeling and stand-up bags for housing clubs. If your audience consists of avid golfers, choose a quality golf bag that will portray your brand as classy and sophisticated.

Computer Bags & Cases

Computer bags and cases come in all different shapes and sizes. But the goal remains the same. From sleek, sleeves to multifunctional briefcases, the point of these bags is to protect precious pieces of technology. The biggest factors to consider when choosing computer bags are age and profession.

Students, teens and young adults may prefer a simple sleeve-type bag to protect an iPad or laptop when it's not in use at home, while a group of professionals might benefit more from a pocketed and multifunctional bag that can safely transport these items frequently to and from the office or business meetings. Consider what your recipients will be putting in these bags and if they will be useful for other purposes as well. A promotional computer bag will probably prove more useful to a younger demographic with knowledge and possession of such technology.

Coolers & Lunch Bags

These promos show that your company or organization cares about the environment. Reusable lunch bags and coolers are better for our planet than paper or plastic bags that get thrown away; by distributing these eco-friendly items, you send the message to your audience that you want to help them go green.

Lunch bags are great for students and working professionals. You can even target your audience further by zoning in on health-conscious individuals that are more likely to bring their own lunch everyday rather than buying lunch. Coolers are perfect for sport fanatics who love tailgating or frequent beach-goers. Small cooler totes can even be ideal for keeping frozen grocery-store goods cold on the ride home.

Duffel Bags

Duffels make great overnight and gym bags. They zip shut, they're light and they can hold a lot of stuff. If your target audience consists of frequent gym-goers, promotional duffel bags are perfect for you. Choose one that rolls or has a shoulder strap to give your recipients more carrying options.

Great for travel, duffel bags can be used as carry-on luggage for many airlines. They're also good for short trips overnight or in the car or bus. Sports enthusiasts can benefit from promotional duffel bags because they can be used for equipment that may otherwise be bulky or awkward to transport. They also make ideal gym bags because they are roomy, flexible and easy to clean. Top

Step 2: Choosing the Right Material

The material of the bag you choose will be a contributing factor to the cost. Look at your budget and, again, your audience to determine the best material for your promotional bags. Decide what the most important feature of the material should be – its durability, ease of cleaning, appearance, etc. – and that will help you determine which one to go with. Here are a few options you can choose from:


Nylon is a synthetic material that is water-resistant, making these bags ideal for rainy or humid climates. They are also fairly durable and easy to clean. This material can often be very lustrous, which would make it stand out from other bags. Because nylon is heat-set, it is highly resilient and resistant to insects, fungi, mold, mildew and even many chemicals. Nylon promotional bags might be best for children or even adults who require a storage and travel solution that is low-maintenance.


Promotional bags made from canvas are extremely durable. This material is known for being heavy-duty and strong. It's made to withstand wear and tear, making it ideal for rough environments. Canvas also dries quickly, but only certain kinds are waterproof or water-resistant. Choose canvas bags for a promo that will withstand the test of time.


Cotton is a natural fiber, which appeals to an eco-friendly demographic. Though a friend to the environment, cotton is not as sturdy as synthetic materials like nylon and polyester; it is, however, much desired. Cotton is known for being soft and breathable. It is one of the most ancient fibers used for textiles and makes an excellent choice for items like t-shirts and bags. Choose cotton promotional bags for an audience that will appreciate their nature and care for them as needed.

Non-Woven / Polypropylene

The term "non-woven" refers to a form of plastic (polypropylene) that is not woven like fabric but gives the appearance of fabric. It's basically one large sheet of plastic that can be measured in weight, or grams per square meter (GSM). Higher GSM will mean higher density, which in turn means a stronger, more durable material. For example, a tote that measures 100 GSM is stronger than one that measures 80 GSM. Non-woven bags are often used as reusable grocery bags because of their durability, affordability and easy cleaning. Many polypropylene bags are also eco-friendly.


Leather is one of the more sophisticated-looking materials for a promotional bag. It appeals to business men and women who want a professional look. Often more expensive than other materials, leather sends the message that your company is classy and chic. It's also very durable and will hold up well throughout the years. Made from animal hide and skin, it may not be the best choice for certain audiences. Consider your target demographic carefully when making the decision for leather. If you decide to give promotional leather bags as gifts or giveaways, you might also want to include leather protectors and cleaners with your logo on them as well. Top

Step 3: Choosing the Right Imprint Style

The type of imprint style or method will depend greatly on the type of material you choose. Here are a few options for printing your logo and/or company name on promotional bags:

Screen Printing

This is a very common type of imprint method that works best on cotton and canvas promotional bags. The screen-printing process transfers an image to the printed surface with ink that is pressed through a stenciled screen. A unique screen is created for each color, and they are pressed on separately.


Embroidery is best for nylon promotional bags because the image is actually stitched into the fabric through high-speed, computer-controlled sewing machines. First the artwork is "digitized," and then it is sewn in using a specific type of stitch, color and design. Embroidery could be used on cotton bags if they were thick enough, but non-woven materials cannot be embroidered.


An increasingly popular imprint style is the transfer method. It works on virtually any material with full color. Transfer involves a sheet that is digitally printed and then affixed to the bag. Your logo and/or company name is first reverse-screened onto a paper-like material and applied to the bag's surface with heat and pressure. This method is deal for bold, colorful logos that have crisp lines.


If you choose a leather promotional bag, debossing is the best imprint method. Debossing leaves an impression of your artwork on the bag's surface, which you can see and feel. It does not involve any color, instead leaving a permanent tone-on-tone imprint. Top

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