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dust bags

Dust Bags

Dust Bags Posted on November 30th, 2016 at 04:30 PM Everyone’s talking about custom cotton Dust Bags… but what exactly are they?! Ok, so you’ve heard the buzz about custom cotton Dust Bags and you want to know more. Picture this, an exclusive jewellers sells you a wonderful watch and puts it in a dinky little drawstring bag to protect it. Or you buy a luxury handbag and it comes inside it’s own protective bag to keep the dust off… that’s a custom cotton Dust Bag. Using the cost effective draw string, rope handle bags to place products inside can take a middle of the road item into a perceived high value item just by the pull of a draw string. It can also give an already high value item that extra special care it needs in one of the most cost effective ways around. Customized Dust Bags Made From Scratch All our Dust Bags are made to order and although we have a standard list of sizes to help people get a feel for what size they may need we are as comfortable to make bespoke bags in whatever size fits your purpose as we are to make the standard sizes. All you need to do is tell us what you’re trying to achieve and for what purpose and we’ll work with you to make it perfect for you. “Having a Dust Bag is like two gifts in one as the packaging is often as desirable as the gift inside” C. Margerison Independant Carers How Do You Know Whether a Dust Bag is Right For You? A Dust Bag may not be the right thing for all products to be displayed in, but if you’ve got this far down the Blog there’s a good chance that you think it might be just the thing for you. Ask yourself the following questions… Does my gift/product need to be displayed as a high end item? Am I looking to impress the market place and consumer? Do I want to stand out from the crowd? If you’ve answered yes to any or all of the questions then it’s highly likely that a Dust Bag could work very well for you. Our ethical trading approach allows us to be confident that every Dust Bag we make meets all compliance necessary and therefore give you peace of mind in the knowledge that you’ve encased your gift in a beautiful and highly crafted item, ethically sourced and made to order just for you. Contact us here for more on our range of dust bags today!

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cooler bags promo gifts

Cooler Bags

Cooler Bags Cooler Promo Gifts Posted on October 7, 2016 at 12:30 PM Why Cooler Bags are Even Cooler Promo Gifts Cooler bags are cool. They’re bright, useful, desirable and ideal for displaying your brand. And because they are almost indispensable to modern life, they have a high reuse value, making them an ideal promotional or advertising platform at the camp-site, picnic, beach or supermarket. A custom-printed or bespoke cooler bag gives your business a cool and colourful way to stand out from the crowd. But even if it’s cold outside and the autumn leaves are turning golden, it’s always the right time to talk about Cool Bags—or thermal containers—as they are more correctly known. Simply put, their purpose is to delay or even stop the contents becoming the same temperature as the world outside. Cool boxes—and hot boxes—have been around for centuries in one form or another. The Romans used straw-lined boxes to protect the alpine snow that they liked to serve with fruit syrup—the original Slush Puppy. And as recently as the 1930s, Iceboxes—literally hollow-walled containers with tin or zinc and packed with various insulating materials such as cork, sawdust, straw or seaweed and chilled by blocks of ice — were used to keep food fresh and palatable in ordinary homes. Many Americans still call their refrigerators the “ice box” today. The familiar portable ice chest, or Esky, was patented in 1951, although its plastic Styrofoam lining was only introduced in 1957. But the fragility of the Styrofoam insulation and the large thicknesses required meant that Eskies were large rigid boxes, and you needed a vehicle to port them round. Sixty years later, modern technology means Cool Bags are now light, thin, flexible and practical for all sorts of uses, from keeping the lettuce crisp and drinks cool for a family picnic, to ensuring that expressed breastmilk stays good for baby or that diabetics can safely take their insulin while they travel on holiday. Highly-insulating polymers and reflective surfaces will keep temperatures stable for many hours, and they can be found in a range of colours, shapes and sizes. Thermal bags to keep pizzas hot as they travel to the front door only date back to 1983, but perhaps a smaller personal cool bag is just the thing to keep those baked potatoes warm on the way to the festive firework display. Use Them wiselyPutting cold food straight from the fridge into the cool bag—and the use of gel ice packs—can mean that the contents will saty cool for hours or even days, depending on how often the bag is opened and warm air is allowed to get in. For the real foodie, there is also the sous vide cooking method which is perfect for a thermal bag. Food is brought to the desired temperature, sealed in a non-PVC bag and placed inside the thermal bag where it maintains the temperature to within a few degrees for long periods. Sous vide produces results that are almost impossible to achieve by traditional means. Beef ribs braised at 58C for 72 hours melt-in-the-mouth but remain pink and juicy, while the delicate, custard-like texture of a precisely poached egg is amazing. For long trips, the wise traveller brings one cooler for beverages and another for food because beverage coolers are opened more frequently allowing the warm air to enter and warm the bag. The food cooler then stays colder for longer. And don’t fill soft-sided coolers with loose ice because sharp edges can rip the lining. You should also note that full cool bags keep food at safer temperatures for longer than half empty ones. One final tip for everyday use. As tempting as it might be, don’t put your soft cool bag into the freezer. You run the risk of cracking the insulation and destroying the bag. Bags should only be washed with warm soapy water and occasionally disinfected with an equal mix of water and white vinegar. Even mild bleaches such as surface sprays can lead to rotting of insulating material. To avoid odours, leave your bag to dry in the open air with the lid open. Putting your cooler in the dishwasher is also likely to ruin the bag. Better Bags by DesignAt Bags of Ideas we have a wide range of Cooler Bags for all customer needs, from the small school lunch cooler or multiple drinks can container for the car boot to larger models ideal for a family picnic or day at the beach, or to carry home the frozen peas and sweetcorn back from the supermarket. The perfect travel accessory with the perfect capacity, cooler bags make the perfect promotional gift for any business. Other design-focused totes in the Bags of Ideas range feature external pockets or zipped compartments to stow other items for the dedicated traveller. All our cool bags feature sturdy handles, and many come with adjustable straps to make them easy to carry on your travels. And with Bags of Ideas’ unrivalled bespoke design service, you can be sure that your cool fresh custom-printed giveaway—in polyester, PVC or woven fabric—will be the perfect promotional tool. Remember that because of the need for waterproofing with cool bags, there is no alternative to man-made materials, ruling out the popular eco-friendly alternatives of Jute and Canvas. But Polypropylene (PP) being a thermoplastic is both recyclable and re-usable. You can see a full explanation of the properties of PP at We will guide you through the complete process from the selection of bag style, colour and material, to ensuring that your brand message gets the best display. Remember that with bespoke bags, delivery can take between 6-12 weeks after the artwork has been approved. To find out more about custom bags, have a look at our Bespoke Bag Page.

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subway colours

Should Corporate Branding Colour your Thinking?

Should Corporate Branding Colour your Thinking? Posted on September 15, 2016 at 12:30 PM At Bags of Ideas, we’ve been supplying branded promotional products to both large and small businesses for more than 30 years now and the message is finally getting through to marketing departments; effective branded merchandise needs some room to breathe. An overly-strict adherence to a business’s brand management policy can damage the impact of fashion-related branded merchandise, be it travel mugs, pens and pencils or a USB flashdrive. This is even more important when dealing with items like promotional bags or any product with a large advertising surface, such as a golf umbrella. In both these cases, what the item actually is says something about the person who is either wearing or holding it for everyone to see. For example, if the base colour is dull and muddy, what might that be saying about the bearer? Colour is important, regardless of branding restrictions, and there are countless creative opportunities to quickly make your corporate logo stand out from the crowd. Any business wants their brand or identity on the promotional product to be as visible as possible, to stand out from the crowd and be seen and communicate a positive message. And colour is key to achieving this goal. As this graphic shows, the Psychology of Colour plays an important part in consumers’ day-to-day buying decisions. Only 7% of people buy without considering the appearance of a product and up to 90% of the decision is based on colour alone. This one’s a keeper Although promotional company merchandise is given away free, the chances of the receiver holding on to it and continuing to use it or wear it – in the case of clothing – in the months or weeks ahead, depends primarily on its attractiveness. In examples given here the company logo itself provides minimal opportunities for effective branding and promotion, but with the appropriate and effective use of colour, focus and attention is drawn to the company name and website address. The non-woven PP “bag for life”, with long robust handles, clearly communicates the company’s values and identity in a fashionable way, without compromising on those all important brand values and corporate guidelines. The added value that a trusted promotional bag specialist like Bags of Ideas offers over and above an appreciation of brand values, is to translate those values into an effective and attractively designed bag, whether it be a lightweight carrier bag, or a drawstring, laptop or sports bag. Rules are made to be bent It’s how you apply the rules that’s the big question. For some successful international brands, colour and brand name have to co-exist at all times Examples include those where colour dictates the brand identity, such as Easyjet orange, Subway green, UPS brown, Cadbury’s purple and Starbuck’s Emerald. The base colours are so powerful in identifying brand ownership that it would be disastrous to introduce others. Both Subway and Starbucks employed promotional bags in an appropriate tone of green and managed to maintain the integrity of the brand in gift items. Both canvas bags are attractive fashion items with sufficient branding to gain attention when used and reinforce brand values and customer loyalty. Fortunately, many brands and companies now have greater flexibility in policies on brand colour usage without damaging brand integrity, allowing them to use a collection of colours. This Fitness First bag introduces a non-corporate colour with the blue nylon material surround to once again provide an optimum focal point for the brand name on a white background. Obviously, this would work well with other colours such as pink or purple. Of course, promotional products – and especially promotional bags – are all about getting your logo or message seen. Hogging the limelight Whether you are at a conference or exhibiting at a professional trade show and want visitors to promote your brand on an eco-friendly jute or canvass conference bag, or on a printed cotton shopper or backpack used for a weekend retreat, the colour will be the first thing that grabs people’s attention. This brings me to my key point: all bags, whether they be branded cotton shoppers, tote bags, sports holdalls or weekender bags, must have an appeal to the user, otherwise they won’t be used. People can look a gift horse in the mouth, after all The fact is that if this means using a different colour to the corporate hue to promote the brand, then so be it. I have daughters who need backpacks for school and when I suggested that I could get hold of a quality promotional backpack, they just weren’t interested … unless they liked the colour. After all, a backpack is a fashion item and an extension of their personality and vision. We all make choices everyday on what we like and don’t like so colour dictates decisions, and whether the promotional bag is a basic paper bag or even a plastic bag, its colour will be the first thing that will determine whether to use it or not. Once colour options have been identified, a multitude of choices open up to create a fashionable and functional promotional bag which will attract consumers of the brand and reinforce the brand qualities with a touch of class. Making the world see red The ultimate success story is to have branded merchandise that people want to buy because of the strength of the brand. There is no doubt that a brand does not get much bigger than Coca Cola. There are even stories told that Coca Cola gave us the red and white Christmas colour combination we have today. While it’s true that at the beginning of the 1930s the nascent Coca-Cola company turned to a talented commercial illustrator named Haddon Sundblom, who created a series of memorable that associated the brand with a larger than life, red-and-white garbed Santa Claus. But as is detailed on the myth-debunking site, images of extravagantly-bearded Santas clothed in red

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beer festival

Great British Beer Festival

Great British Beer Festival Posted on August 29, 2016 at 2:30 PM We recently published a blog on the benefits of promotional bags for conferences, exhibitions, festivals and trade shows. This can be found here: LINK. Next we thought, as it’s the summer, and the sun is trying to come out, let’s focus on a particular event, to give real insight into the marketing strengths of bags which should be adaptable to your event too. I give you the Great British Beer Festival. Below we will discuss the best bags for your bottles and why, to ensure that you can make the most of event down at Olympia this August, and keep you customers refreshed throughout the summer. What is the GBBF Well, as the name says, it’s a beer festival – but not just any beer festival – it’s the biggest event of its kind in Britain, with a staggering 900 beers, ciders and perries on display to try and buy. Over the five days, from August 9-13th, over 60,000 parched punters will walk through the doors, ready to taste some of the best beer the world has to offer. And if the breweries play it right, they should be stumbling out with their hands full of goodies to take home too. So, with 60,000 people walking through the door, you don’t just have the opportunity to impress with your beer, but make a mark with your brand. And we are going to show you how, by picking the right bags. At the GBBF branding is clearly important, as the organisers themselves had over 100,000 glasses printed up with the GBBF design on. Sampling the beers requires a glass, and the first thing most visitors do on arrival is to buy the latest version. The cost of the glass is refundable, if you leave it behind when you stagger home. Most people however keep it. Why? Something to take home from the day, a memento, a reminder of the fun they had, and ultimately something to help to bring them back for another year. Which Bag? Now, to understand the philosophy, you must understand the event, and its two sides. First, it is an all-ticket ticket event – the punters are paying. This also means you have an organiser. Second it is an event based around a purchase. Organiser Let’s focus on the event organisers first – they have their brand to uphold – the Great British Beer Festival. We’ve already touched on the use of the glasses. On top of this, there is great opportunity to introduce a bag as a free giveaway that will be practical but also allow the word of the festival to spread far and wide. A cotton shopper would be an ideal bag to use, which you offer to customers upon entry – within this bag there are details of the festival; a floor plan, a programme, a music list, maybe some additional advertising material from third parties to cover the costs of the bag itself. Plus, the GBBF logo plastered on each side as big as you can get. Like the glass, this will be kept as a souvenir for the day, but unlike the glass, this bag will prevail in spreading the word; on the day, as people leave the venue, high spirited, which is quite possibly the best type of advertisement, and beyond, tomorrow’s hung-over trip to the supermarket and Monday’s trip to the gym. The bag can be used as a great tool to push the festival to the next level. Exhibitors What about inside the event – when the attendees are already inside – the event has already been sold to them at this point – what’s next? Now its over to the exhibitors themselves. The event has to be profitable for them, so they need to consider their choice of bag carefully, which means they must consider the cost of the goods they are selling too. Now – had this been a technology convention, and exhibitors were selling laptops, or tablets, spending £2- £10 per bag to present the product in may be fine, as the margins are there to cover the costs. But with the average price of a bottle of beer to be taken away for later consumption and delectation being around £3-10, bags should be cost effective. Perhaps you need a tier strategy based on the customer expenditure. Tier 1: If someone buys one or two bottles, with a total value under £10, a carrier bag is given – the most cost effective option. These can be picked up for a few pence, and will do the required job on the day – advertise your brand, and ensure the customer has something to hold their recently purchased brew in. Have a look through our selection of carrier bags here where you will see they can be picked up from as little as 7pence each. Tier 2: if the amount spend is a few extra quid – £20+ lets say – why not provide them with firstly a more suitable bag to carry the beers, and secondly something a little nicer to show your gratitude. It won’t go unnoticed. For example, the jute shopper bag below can hold six bottles of wine/large beers, and has dividers. This would also have great use outside of the show itself, ideal for trips to the supermarket to do the big shop, and having your beer logo on each side, it’s the perfect place to advertise – the alcohol isle. Tier 3: This could be when someone buy a singular beer/cider or perry that is particularly expensive on its own – a “limited edition” brew, etc. – and this could be presented in its own individual bag, like one of the below, to show its prestige. This may not get the same after-use, but will have the impact required on the customer who purchased the product, adding that touch of luxury to the brand. Tier 4: Now this tier may be when a customer

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Conferences and Exhibitions

Conferences and Exhibitions

Conferences and Exhibitions Posted on July 11, 2016 at 12:30 PM About a year ago, Bags of Ideas looked Exhibitions and Trade shows. You can find the original blog at Exhibitions and Tradeshows.  However, reading it back, we realized there’s so much more to tell you about in terms of getting your bag choice right on the big day. So, here is the all new definitive guide to exhibitions, conferences and tradeshows. We aim to show you what the best bags are – depending on your budget – the benefits to using bags at events, and how they can continue to push your brand long after the day has finished. Choosing the Right Bag Get it wrong, and it’s a wasted marketing opportunity. Get it right, and you will reap the benefits long after the lights have dimmed and stands have been packed up. First, think about the type of event you are going to be exhibiting at. Each of the suggestions below has it’s own special requirements. For example, a small paper bag at a University Fair will not be much use with the bulky, heavyweight prospectuses that they will be expected to carry: Conference Trade Show/Exhibition Festival University/Career Fair Further than this you should also consider the following factors when looking at the bags. If you can nail both lists before making a decision, you‘ll be on the right track. How many people are expected to visit? How many people are exhibiting? How long is the event? How much literature you have (and possibly others)? Will people be walking, or sitting? How large is the venue? What’s the theme of the day (Eco, IT etc.)? What’s your budget? Now you can start thinking which bag will help you get the most out of your event or perhaps even run through some scenarios. Conferences There are two definitions of the term conference within our context. 1 A formal meeting of people with a shared interest, typically one that takes place over several days 2 A commercial association for the regulation of an area of activity or the exchange of information Just look at this picture of a typical commercial conference to see immediately some factors to consider … There is limited space, Everyone is sitting down, and Everyone is taking notes. People going to conferences are likely to have a bag when they arrive to carry notebooks, laptops and other personal items, so depending on the amount of literature you are giving away, it’s best to keep your giveaway bag to a minimum size; a document wallet would be an ideal solution from our section Conference & Document with any of the below being suitable: On the other hand, sometimes people are paying to be at a conference, and may have travelled from afar to be there. In this case, your promotional bag could be something a little more special. For example, a lecture on ICT – for which the audience have paid to see – might be the perfect place to offer a nice Laptop Bag. It will still hold all the leaflets and brochures but its use would continue long after the event, acting as a memento of their participation. WAll of these can be offered as branded conference giveaways at reasonable unit cost which you can be certain will be retained by the receiver. It’s even worth considering a notebook within the bag to at such conferences, which can be supplied within the bag itself, and used to record the important information from the day. Have a look at our notebooks section here. Tradeshows/ Exhibition The dynamics of trade shows are very different to conferences. They normally consist of a large space, divided into stands, with a variety of different business trying to sell or promote their ideas or products. With trade shows, especially product-based ones rather than services, your choice of bag should be dictated by practicality. Every stand will be trying to give visitors something to remember them by. So they will obviously need a big bag to carry all their booty, be it catalogues, flyers, other promotional items or samples. For this reason, the bag also needs to be heavy duty with strong handles and durable construction. So, while a paper bag might not be quite what you are looking for, a large canvas bag, or woven bag with a gusset would be ideal. Also think about user comfort; a bag with dual handles will allow them to alternate between using shoulders and hands to carry it. It’s also worth pointing out that at any of these EVERYONE will be giving out bags. Simply put, the biggest and strongest bag will win because it will be the bag that everybody puts their smaller bags inside. The aim should be to ensure your branded carrier is the must-have bag because it will be the one that gets the most visibility on the day. Festivals Festivals are another matter: festival-goers are not usually there to buy things, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t marketing opportunities. It all depends on the context. Take for example, the Great British Beer Festival – held every August. The GBBF is not so much a festival as a trade show albeit with a party atmosphere. In contrast, as a music festival organiser you’ll most likely be giving away a pack to everyone who enters with some event essentials: Sun cream, baby wipes, event programme, sunglasses, etc. Provided in the correct bag, this could be a great advertising tool, not only throughout the event but afterwards. Here too the choice of bag is important. At festivals, the last thing most people want to do is carry a bag by hand – therefore the best option would be a rucksack of sort, either a drawstring, or small backpack. University/Career Fairs Like the GBBF these almost always resemble a trade show, the big difference is that you can guarantee everyone there will have hefty prospectuses or company brochures and that there will be a lot of

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jute bags

Hey Jute. You’ve got it in the bag

Hey Jute. You’ve got it in the bag Posted on May 27th, 2016 at 2:30 PM Early 2015 at Bags of Ideas we did a post on Jute as a material, why it was eco friendly, and made some suggestions as to what jute bags you may choose.  But other than quoting Jute’s green-credentials, we didn’t give a huge range of detail as to why and when you could use it as a promotional tool, and what benefits it offered over other materials such as cotton, paper and canvas. So let’s start with the main use in the UK of Jute bags today – the “Bag for Life”. Jute is a really great material for this role. Not only is it strong and hard wearing, its hessian-style look adds to the “eco” image associated with a Bag for Life. If you want your brand to clearly shout “environmentally conscious” – jute is the way forward. There are also Fair Trade options. With England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland now having one form of bag tax or another, there’s huge demand for a range of ethical, environmentally-sustainable carrier bag alternatives. Generally speaking, cotton bags are a more cost effective option, but Jute is hard to bead for longevity. Strength Compared to cotton, jute is simply much stronger, whether it’s for day-to-day usage, or extreme circumstance – like getting caught on sharp edges – jute always comes out on top. It’s much more robust and will withstand the daily battering a Bag for Life will inevitably be receiving as it gets thrown around, packed into car boots, pulled from cupboards or put under wholesale stress and strain. It’s also readily able to hold items such as tins and bottles with a high item weight, and in quantity. Practicality When using bags as a marketing tool you have to consider practicality; in other words, is the bag easy to use? This may seem like a silly statement, as surely a bag is a bag. However, you may be surprised. One practical element of a Jute bag that sets it head and shoulders above the rest is the rigidity; the ability to stand up on its own. A jute bag can stand up, so when loading shopping at a supermarket, it’s a doddle. And equally, when not in use, it can be rolled up or folded to take up a minimum of space, unlike cardboard or plastic boxes. It also retains its shape even in hot conditions. Style For the fashion conscious, jute is also a great option. Its rustic appearance, whether as a shopper, like the simba shopper here, or as a shoulder satchel, like the Soko, looks great. Added with the fact being eco-friendly is now also trendy, jute offers affordable and attractive bags for promotional and retail purposes, which massively increases perceived value and longevity. Showing your Brand Now let’s look at some of the myths around Jute, the main one being that because course-feel makes it hard to print, it is a poor solution for a branded promotional bag. There is some element of truth in this; any fibrous, course material will more difficult to print on than a soft, smooth surface, but it’s far from impossible making it is a versatile product with great scope for branding potential. Screen-printing on Jute is not an issue. Though a naturally course material, with items such as bags there is a focus on cleaning up the edges so that they print well. In addition, most Jute bags will have a clear laminated surface on one side (the inside), which firstly adds a level of water resistance, but also allows the ink to better hold to the surface of the bag, making printing easier. If you want intricate detail, screen-printing may not be the solution. Though a screen print will hold well, with the light weave, detail will not show well. But there is a solution: Transfer printing! This works quite well on jute bags, and offers a long lasting solution if you need a full colour image; despite the course and fibrous nature of the surface, as the transfer is sealed by heat, not just a sticky surface, the adhesion is great, and will last. Juco If you are not a fan of transfer printing though, all is not los; Juco – a combination of cotton and jute – may be the answer. Juco’s manufacture offers the best of both materials, retaining the strength, durability and practicality of Jute, with a finish more like cotton, allowing for more detailed direct printing. As you might expect, it is more expensive than plain Jute, but that is more than made up for by the additional flexibility if required for branding. So if you are in need of an eco-friendly, durable alternative to the traditional plastic bag, a jute Bag for Life may well be your answer; a jute shopper is bound to make a strong lasting impression on any target audience as a promotional marketing tool. Can’t find the bag you’re looking for? Try our Bag Finder and narrow your search in minutes! TRY BAG FINDER

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The England Bag Tax: 6 Months On

The England Bag Tax: 6 Months On

The England Bag Tax: 6 Months On Posted on May 9th, 2016 at 3:30 PM More than 6 months ago, at Bags of Ideas we looked at the newly-instated Carrier bag tax in England in our blog: The 5p Plastic Bag Charge & How Your Business Can Benefit. At the time of writing the English bag tax was in its infancy – but now, half a year down the line, we thought we would take a look at how the tax is working, and if there really are opportunities to take advantage of in terms of your promotional marketing strategy. In 2014, British supermarkets alone gave 8.5 billion plastic throwaway carrier bags to their customers. It’s figures like this that led to the bag tax, in order to reduce this unnecessary consumption, and the burying of all that plastic in landfill sites. How long it takes plastic bags to degrade is debatable, mainly due to the fact that they’ve only been around for about 50 years; however, scientists are divided on timescales, with estimates ranging from 25 years to 500 years. Considering all of this, the obvious fact is that none of it is necessary anyway. Bags can be recycled easily. Some UK councils even collect them straight from the doorstep. If plastic bags were widely recycled, it would reduce the damage caused to the environment – including a build-up of indestructible plastic waste in rivers and seas, and reduce the usage of oil, the finite fossil fuel from which almost all plastic bags are made. Sadly, worldwide, it is estimated that only around 5% of these bags are recycled. Scary statistics like this led to the bag tax, in a bid to reduce unnecessary consumption and waste. Actually, England was very much a latecomer to the party; Wales and Scotland had both already adopted a version of the bag tax along with many other countries around the world, and to great effect; with a fourfold increase in the sales of so-called “Bags for Life” and an estimated 80% reduction in the use of disposable plastic carrier bags, it was an obvious step to take. So has the Bag Tax been a success? Well in short, yes! It’s done exactly what was intended, and that’s to reduce the number of plastic bags consumers are using, and move them over to more eco-friendly solutions, such as Cotton and Canvas or Non-woven Bags for Life. Tesco claim that the number of bags they dish out has dropped by around 78% since the introduction of the tax, and, the sale of reusable bags had soared. “What does this mean for us promotional marketers” you say. Well, it’s time to start reacting to the demand, because there is a huge opportunity to get even more out of an already massively beneficial advertising tool. With consumers being forced to “pay-or-change”, the visibility of your promotional bag can grow exponentially. What may have left the house once a month – if they remembered to pack it – will now be an essential item for any trip to the supermarket, where it will be in-sight to potentially hundreds of people per trip. So, whether your business is in retail or not, every consumer now needs a good Bag for Life in the UK, and not just one. This means that the next event you do, if you offer a bag as a give away, there should be some careful consideration as to which one you choose; not only should it meet your requirements on the day of your event, but it should also be an ideal bag for that individual to do their shopping with the day after. Now consumers must pay for their carriers, there’s even more resilience to that bag having a logo plastered all over it. To put simply, why should the customer pay to advertise the shops brand? This adds even more value to a promotional shopping bag than ever before, as customers are usually happy to advertise something they have received for free. Now isn’t the time to scrimp on a below-par promo bag, as the chances are it will simply go in the bin. As a marketer, you should be considering the best offering within your budget. A solid cotton or canvas bag, or a robust jute bag, with solid handles, that can take the heaviest of shopping loads when your target market does the weekly “big shop”. It’s also an added bonus if the bag please’s the fashion conscious because they could be using it on a daily basis! Think practically; a bag with a gusset, such as the market shopper will be more beneficial to a consumer than a bag without, as it will offer more space for those bulky shopping items. A bag with a short handle will be better too for a shopping trip than a shoulder bag, something like the Funo Shopper Bag would be ideal! As a promotional marketing tool, there’s never been a better time to look at bags. The demand for them across the UK and Europe has never been bigger. The cost per impression can only get more attractive; this year we have a tax on plastic bags – next year there is talk of a total ban, thus demand for reusable bags can only increase. And if you get it right, not only will you be offering a practical product to your consumers, also you will project a solid company image, high lighting a green approach to marketing. Can’t find the bag you’re looking for? Try our Bag Finder and narrow your search in minutes! TRY BAG FINDER

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cotton canvas

Cotton and Canvas: Don’t weave now, I’ve Cotton idea!

Cotton and Canvas: Don’t weave now, I’ve Cotton idea! Posted on April 11, 2016 at 12:30 PM At Bags of Ideas, our biggest selling promotional items by a long shot come from our Cotton and Canvas range. People love them! However I regularly get asked: “What is the difference between Cotton and Canvas”. My usual answer refers to the weight of the material – but actually there’s more to it than that. So prepare to be wowed as I weave my way through the finer details of Cotton and Canvas bags! The confusion starts with one simple fact: a Canvas bag is made from cotton, though not a lot of people know that. Cotton is a classic yet comparatively cheap material for promotional items. It’s organic, natural and durable, and sourced by us from ethical, fair-trade and eco-friendly suppliers. It’s popular with women users and a favourite with young and old. But the real difference lies in the way the material is constructed – its weave. This blog aims to detail the different types of weave, so that when you come to order a Cotton bag – you know exactly what you need! Calico Cotton – as used in our most popular product the 5oz shopper bag – is known as Calico. This is closely (but lightly) woven – meaning it doesn’t stretch but will let light through – unbleached cotton. It has natural character with random specks of colour throughout, as seen in the close-up below. The material has a low level of transparency – meaning the contents of any bag will be slightly visible. For example, the shape and colour of a product will be apparent. And please note: Calico is definitely not waterproof! Nevertheless, it’s a great option for a promotional tote or duffel bag, being strong, hard wearing and cost effective in any quantity. At Bags of Ideas, printed classic shopper bags start at less than 57p per unit (plus VAT)! Added to that, the bag surface is perfect for printing, be it screen, transfer or digital full colour designs – good quality detail can be achieved, even photos, and the material absorbs inks well, allowing for long-lasting brand awareness, simply add your logo. Cotton Calico also lends itself to colour dying without too much added cost; a huge selection of hues are available “off-the-shelf” so you will find one that compliments your brand image without breaking the bank. Canvas Canvas by definition is a strong, unbleached, course material, and though it does not have to be made from Cotton to be Canvas, in the promo business, when we refer to a Canvas bag, Cotton Canvas is assumed What differentiates between Cotton Calico and Cotton Canvas is the structure of the material. Canvas – what many would call Heavy Cotton – features a tight weave, as can be seen below.  A bag like this one constructed in 10oz material is a great example of a standard Canvas tote. The weave of Canvas, unlike Calico, renders it opaque so the contents of a bag are hidden from view. Natural Canvas has similarities in look to Calico, including those random speckles, but its weave makes it is a lot stronger – meaning it is perfectly suited to large shopping or ready-for-anything kit bags for school or the gym. As with Calico, Canvas is not naturally waterproof but it can be treated to become so because its weave is tight enough to hold on to a sealant material. Generally, however, promotional bags are sold untreated. The tighter weave also means more Cotton is used in production so a Canvas bag will be more expensive and heavier, though of course, you are getting more bag for your buck! Heavy Canvas is a great option for a “Bag for Life”, and with the UK Bag Tax introduced in 2015, there is great opportunity to market your business with a robust, long-lasting Canvas shopper. Drill Cotton The final option we look at today is Cotton Drill. While similar to Canvas in the sense that it has a tight weave, the pattern created is much more attractive. This twill weave – as featured below – with its attractive ridges, adds a lovely texture to the material and is similar in finish to denim. We generally do not routinely stock Drill Cotton promotional bags since they are made from quite a specific quality material, which makes them more expensive than the Canvas or Calico. For this reason, Drill Cotton is generally used only for a high status bespoke item. Our custom dust bags – designed as a protective cover for quality items like handbags, shoes and jewellery – are a perfect example of the correct use of Drill Cotton. With luxury, prestige items, available from high-end retailers and outlets, having a classy-looking branded promotional bag to compliment is quite important, and maintains commercial presence every time the treasured item is taken out of the wardrobe. Drill Cotton is also used in a variety of other products such as clothing, home furnishings and aprons, and there is a huge variety of colour ways already available. That means there is a good chance of finding a match for any corporate colour, rather than having to dye the material for a project, which can be costly. Now you’re cottoned on As a rule of thumb, if you’re looking for a value shopper bag, Calico is your choice, for a mid-range offering, use Canvas and, if you are going bespoke, or want something more luxurious, consider Drill Cotton. If you are unsure about anything we have discussed or would just like some advice in choosing a promotional Cotton bag, the friendly team at Bags of Ideas is always here to help, so please feel free to contact us.

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Alternatives to printing promotional bags

Alternatives to printing promotional bags Posted on March 22, 2016 at 12:30 PM Following on from our last blog (which was a long one!) where we focused on the different printing methods, I promised I would follow up with information on alternative branding methods. Printing may not always be right thing to do – be it personal preference or product limitations. This blog will look at two further options , when to use them, and what their limitations are. Engraving Certainly not really something that you’d think was appropriate for bags. It’s more often used on metal pens, or glassware and awards but the opportunities might surprise you. The Method Similar to direct-to-garment, laser engraving is computerised. The artwork is set up one the computer, the product placed in the jig, and the machine does the rest. It’s a fairly straightforward method, and depending on the complexity and size of the logo, it can be very quick. And because, the process is computerized the standard of work and quality control is excellent. The video below gives you an idea of the process and while features a pen – not a bag – the principal is very similar. Why Engraving It’s simply a great alternative to printing if you are looking for something a little different. And even with promotional bags there are opportunities to engrave products you may not have known about. Engraving’s one big advantage of course is i great advantage to engraving is that it lasts – there is no ink involved, no transfer – it is simply a mark made on the product that cannot be scratched off, or fade. No other method offers such longevity. While printing a large logo can sometimes look a little over the top, engraving often provides a more subtle, understated finish. For example, a top of the range laptop bag used by your sales team on a daily basis; an engraving on a metal tag or plate will give a more professional look when meeting clients than a full colour transfer. And engraving also is not limited to metal . Laser engraving means you can decorate fabrics such as fleece, cotton, felt, leather and jute to give a unique effect. Essentially the laser “burns” the fabric in a precise way to create a darkened patch which forms the design or logo – see the picture and video below for reference. Unlike printing, laser engraving allows for very detailed designs to be created in the smallest of spaces. One small discrete metal emblem could stylishly show off your logo, without the risk of ink filling. This also means you can subtlety place your logo on additional areas, such as a zip, or a button, where it’s impossible to print the simplest design. Engraving also doesn’t have to be colourless; we can colour fill etchings with Pantone to your specification – giving the best of both worlds. Have a look at the image below to get an understanding: Smaller quantities and pre-production samples (PPS) can be done much more quickly and cost effectively since setup costs are not generally charged for engraving and the process is not as time consuming as a screen print. One possible drawback to engraving on metal is not knowing what is underneath the surface For example, you might have a silver tag which, when engraved, reveals a possibly unattractive brassy tone below. In some cases this might be undesirable, so you should be aware. Always get a PPS prior to bulk production. There are also variations in the finish from machine to machine; some lasers react differently with the surface of the metals, which can create different coloured engravings, from subtle grey, to black. So again, always get a sample so you can see the result before you commit to bulk production. r a halogen light. The heat of the halogen hardens the emulsion, and burns the logo. The screen is then washed to reveal the logo – this part of the film has become thin enough to allow the ink to pass through. Now you are good to go – the screens are placed in the machine, colours mixed, and the printing can begin. The logo is printed by using a squeegee; this runs along the screen, pushing the ink through then onto the bag underneath. Finally, you are of course limited by the bag itself: some designs come with metal plates ready for engraving, but paper gift bags and plastic bags are not an option at all. Some fabrics may also be too light to laser engrave, including the eco friendly 5oz cotton totes, as the material may burn through. Embroidery Embroidery is a great option for promotional bag branding, and can really add a touch of class and professionalism to your campaign. The Method Embroidery, similar to engraving and DTG requires digital setup, and quite a complicated one too. The process – called digitization – turns your logo into a format that the embroidery machine can understand, and the design is created stitch by stitch. The images below show how a digitized logo compares to the original logo, and the finished result: Once the digitisation is done, the product is loaded into the jig as the image below shows. Many embroiderers have large machines with many heads, like this six-headed beast below. And this one has 42! Why Embroider Having a bag embroidered is not normally out of necessity – more aesthetical preference. Certain types of bag that look better with embroidery too depending on the material. Embroidery offers a more upmarket style of branding than printing. On more expensive items, it often increases the perceived value, so as a corporate gift, or as a sales tool, embroidered promotional bags add an extra touch of class. And it’s quite a durable branding option too. Because the colour is in the thread, there is no ink involved, which means that fading over time due to washing and sun exposure never becomes an issue. Another real benefit is

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bag screen printing

To screen or not to screen, Print is the question?

To screen or not to screen, Print is the question? Posted on February 22, 2016 at 2:30 PM Throughout the Bags of Ideas website we make references to many types of printing for your promotional bags, but chances are, not everyone knows what the difference is, or what is best for them. Now your questions have been answered – below is the definitive Bags of Ideas guide to printing techniques that we offer, and when they are best. Go on, have a read – we have even thrown in some videos to make things more exciting! Screen Printing Screen-printing is the most common method of branding within the promotional industry. It’s a great method that started out as a manual process, but now, in many factories, its completely automated, which makes it even more efficient, and means we can deliver your orders quickly. The Method As with all printing, we start off with a logo – this is always better if it is a vectored file (means we can adjust the size without pixilation). This is loaded into the relevant software – and is printed onto what are called transparencies. Next the screen is coated in an emulsion on both sides; the logo is applied, and then placed under a halogen light. The heat of the halogen hardens the emulsion, and burns the logo.   The screen is then washed to reveal the logo – this part of the film has become thin enough to allow the ink to pass through. Now you are good to go – the screens are placed in the machine, colours mixed, and the printing can begin. The logo is printed by using a squeegee; this runs along the screen, pushing the ink through then onto the bag underneath. If there were a large number of bags to print, we may opt to create more than one screen, and use more than one printing head in order to speed up the process. Depending on the factory, we could have five or ten printing heads running at any one time. Also, if the logo has more than one colour additional screens are required as they only allow for single colour use. After each colour is printed the bags would then be dried, before being packed. Below, the video goes a little further into the details of the stages. Why Screen Screen-printing should be the first port of call for branding – it’s a tried and tested method, which gives a long lasting, clean and professional result. It lends its self better to spot colour printing, as opposed to logos with gradients – though they can be achieved, there are other methods better suited. Screen-printing is also the most cost effective method of printing, even if a large number of colours are required. Also, in some cases (always worth checking) the printers will keep the screens, so repeat orders will come at a reduced rate, and you can be guaranteed the same logo as before (size and placement). Screen print also allows you to do large prints – the whole side of a bag, without an increase in cost. Generally speaking a screen is around 30x30cm – and any size logo within that area will be the same price. Some other methods of printing use such a vast amount of ink, that a small increase in logo size will push up the price – this is not the case with screen-printing. Screen printing automation has also come a long way, and now with machines like the below, you can brand irregularly shaped products fast: Finally screen printing offers the best colour match when trying to achieve a dedicated pantone, unlike a CMYK print, which maybe be close, but cannot guarantee it. One downside to Screen printing, is that for small runs of items it can be a costly method, due to the set up charges involved. But, this would only be for the first order – as once the screens have been made, they can be re-used for exact repeats. The comparatively large screen charges also means pre-production samples (PPS) will be costly – though most companies will deduct the cost from the bulk if you proceed. As a rule of thumb, factories will maintain the screens for between 6 months and 1 year, after which they may be recycled. It’s always worth finding this out, and also the screen policy – sometimes repeat orders will have half price screens, other times they are free, and in some cases, but less frequently, factories do not save them at all, so the charges will apply every time. Recommended Products For Screen Printing: Transfer Printing Transfer printing is another popular method for promotional bags. As the name would suggest, the logo is essentially a sticker that reacts to heat in order to seal the transfer to a surface. The Method As it stands (as far as I am aware), the method for transfer printing has been the same for a very long time – though there are now some presses are automated. A logo (or design) is required, as with all of the methods I will discuss (you can’t print without a logo). But for this method, the logo is printed early on, and later applied to a bag. Look below; a mid sized industrial printer, which will print the desired amount of logos on to vinyl sheets, and cut around the design, where required (this can be programmed). Most of the time, the logos will be printed as if they have been flipped- so when they are applied to the product they end up the correct way. In order to get that logo or design onto the bag it should be placed in the heat press, and lined up. Markers should be made to ensure all products are printed in the same place. The logo should be lined up, the heat press set to the correct temperature and a sheets of greaseproof paper (or similar)

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PP, what is it good for?

PP, what is it good for?

PP, what is it good for? Absolutely everything Posted on February 10, 2016 at 2:30 PM Two questions that keep coming up are: just what is PP? And what’s the difference between woven and non-woven PP? There’s a third question which necessarily follows: Which is best for me? It’s such a common question, it made me wonder if there wasn’t a straightforward answer already out there, and I couldn’t find one either. So, the aim of this blog is to answer these questions, in simple terms, and help you find the bag you need. Let’s start at the beginning. PP – what is it? PP – or polypropylene – is a thermoplastic. In Layman’s terms, that’s a plastic which comes in many forms from resins to pellets and which, when heated and set, takes on the properties of a solid plastic, hardening as it cools. Best of all, this process can be repeated again and again, making it recyclable and re-usable. Many Uses PP is one of the most versatile plastics known to man, and can be found in everything from carpets and cars, to plates and planes. It can take many forms, from completely solid – like a garden chair, to fibrous, like the back of carpets – or bags. PP has some great properties that make it especially good for promotional products. Firstly, it doesn’t absorb water (unlike nylon or polyester which makes it really good for the likes of school bags, shopping bags, cooler bags or beach bags, where water resistance is an important feature. It’s also a brilliant insulator – which is why you’ll find products like flasks and cool bags made out of PP. Its characteristics allow temperatures to remain constant for longer – keeping cold things cold and hot things hot. PP is also very cost effective. In terms of bags, it comes in two forms, and though there is a price difference between them, both are affordable when compared with other materials including polyester. So and Woven and Non-woven. What’s the difference? The names are self-explanatory. One is made from woven PP fibres, and the other isn’t. More specifically, woven PP is composed of fibers woven together in sheets, aligned at 90 degrees to each other, with the fibers going over and under one another, as shown in the image above. Non-woven is made in special heated presses under pressure, to create a sealed sheet. Both materials are strong but woven PP is the strongest. The videos below show how sheets of non-woven PP and how woven sheets are made. The time involved to make a woven bag makes them more expensive than non-woven, but and both are very cost-effective when compared to rival materials. Shopping Around Non-woven is better at keeping the water out, as it is a solid sheet of material, whereas woven bags can let water through the weave. An alternative here is a laminated woven bag, which will add the level of protection required, while retaining the positive features of woven PP; this is always something to check when ordering a woven bag as to whether it is laminated or not. For promotional materials, both materials lend themselves towards shopping bags – with the woven type being more suited for big loads, such as bottle bags or even sand and building materials. Below are some prime examples of woven and non-woven PP bags. In general, however, non-woven PP tends to have more uses in the promotional market. It can be manufactured much more efficiently, and cost effectively, increasing its appeal as a material. And Now in Colour For example, from stock (i.e. off the shelf) you can find all of the following made from non-woven PP: beach bags, cooler bags, dress/suit bags, messenger bags, aprons, rucksacks & backpacks and even car windscreen shades. Also, the manufacturing methods allow easy dying of the material, therefore not only do you find a large product range, but an extensive colour range too – take a look at this non-woven shopper bag and the standard colours it is available in. With woven bags, off-the-shelf choice is limited – in many cases a woven bag would be custom-made, so it’s worth bearing in mind the extended lead times; from scratch, delivery time could take anything from 6-12 weeks after approval of artwork. To find out more about custom bags, have a look at our Bespoke Bag Page. One feature of both woven and non-woven bags is that the surface has texture. From an aesthetic viewpoint it gives the bags a unique look, which looks especially nice with the bright colours, however, for some there is an issue with print clarity. If your artwork is intricate with a lot of detail, it’s worth checking with en expert to see if the print will work. If it’s too detailed you may want to opt for a bag with a smooth finish, like light cotton, or polyester. But it is still possible to get a great finish with a detailed picture, so don’t write off PP just yet: At Bags of Ideas we believe PP bags are a great option, with an attractive price point, durability and great versatility. Even the printing limitations are actually not that limiting. But don’t take our word for it – try a PP bag yourself!

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Bag yourself some brand-awareness!

Bag yourself some brand-awareness! Posted on January 25, 2016 at 11:30 AM Promotional products are everywhere!! I bet there’s one on your desk right now plastered with a logo, be it an old classic like a mug, or an eco solar power bank for keeping your smart-phone alive. Promotional products have been used for years in the UK – but why? Why do companies spend hundreds of thousands every year on printed merchandise, giveaways, goodies, stocking fillers, what ever you call them? Hopefully I can shed some light on this, and show you the benefits of promo items. More importantly I’d like to show you why the humble bag is the best – and in many cases the essential – promotional item for any campaign. Rather than bore you with the long and illustrious history of promotional items, I’m going to go straight into the benefits they can provide, and offer some tips on choosing the right products. Before we do, first consider the alternative; unbranded giveaways. Do you think a product with no logo would make a lasting impression – do you think you would remember who gave if to you a month down the line? Even a week down the line? Selling point no.1: Brand awareness The term is self-explanatory – how aware the consumer is of you. A great example, though an extreme example of strong brand awareness is Sellotape – a brand is so stuck in our minds (excuse the pun) that we call sticky tape by the brand name (brainwashed?). What about Post-it Note (Sticky Note), Hoover (Vacuum), Fridge (Frigidaire), Portakabin (portable building) and Coke (Cola) ? Even the word tabloid, used to be a brand name! Promotional merchandise is great for brand awareness, and branded items can be distributed in many ways in order to get your logo in front of potential and existing customers. It also sends the right signals – to be seen to be spending on merchandise suggests you are a stable organisation, in a strong financial position. On top of this, once your brand is printed on the product, and in the hands of the lucky receiver, there are many future opportunities to make an impression. It could be that this one individual is subject to continual awareness (a pen). Or – if you choose your product wisely – the product will travel (a bag), meaning that your brand could one day be on the tube, the next day on the beach. Each time it is seen by more and more people, the cost for that advert reduces. In simple terms, promotional products, if chosen correctly (high quality and useful), can offer long lasting, cost-effective advertising. Selling point no.2: Staying Power Choosing a product that will not only travel but also last is important. The right promo can offer great longevity as a marketing tool, especially compared with alternatives. Let’s consider a flyer – it arrives in your letter box, you may read it, then it goes in the bin, It doesn’t get pinned up on the wall, or put in the photo album. Now consider a promotional bag – it has a use. It may be used for trips to the gym – and with the advent of the 5p plastic bag tax – to the supermarket. If you’ve supplied a good quality this will continue day after day. Every trip to the gym or the shop is adding to the awareness and visibility of your brand. With the introduction of the bag tax in England, the opportunity levels have increased dramatically for bags as a promotional item – making promotional bags a ‘no brainer’. At Bags of Ideas, we believe that the best way to get these benefits using promotional items is through the good old fashioned bag. Bags are the best. They’re useful, purposeful products. They also look great, with many on trend options available. Everywhere you go, someone is holding a bag – why not have your logo on that bag. And bags never run out, like a pen, or a notebook – bags are for life! But don’t just take our word for it – studies prove that there are bag loads of bags out there, making them the most popular promotional item even more than the most popular trusty pen. I think our argument for bags is pretty strong – but even if you decide to give away other items at your next exhibition, surely it’s best those items are in a bag with your logo on!

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