5 Things You Need to Know About Custom Printed Bags

It’s no news that promotional products are good for your business. The likelihood of a person doing business with an advertiser shifts from 55% to 85% once they have received a promotional product.

“Bags generate more impressions in the U.S. than any other promotional item.” – Advertising Specialty Institute,2016 Global Advertising Specialties Impressions Study.

When it comes to custom printed bags, it’s extremely important to understand the production process and ordering details. Making decisions based on price alone can result in an inferior product that costs more in the long run.

What do you need to know to get the best quality product? Here are 5 points to keep in mind:

1. What is the bag’s purpose? What type of bag do you want?

Bags are designed to carry something, but their functionality varies according to the intended specific use, for example:

  • Retail/shopping—usually roomy, helpful and easier to carry when they have handles
  • Industrial—various sizes and configurations used
  • Snap Handle—strong, reliable handles that are often used in trade shows and retail
  • Drawstring—these have a sporty appearance and offer multifaceted uses
  • T-Shirt—sturdy handles and smaller size
  • Non-woven Polypropylene/Reusable—a popular choice that is often a rewards tactic in retail

2. Quantity of bags

Quantity/volume determines whether the bags will be:

  • Post-printed—hand-fed through the press
  • Inline production—mass printed for high volume of bags

Small quantities can be printed with shorter lead times using a post-printing process, but the per-bag price of printing is higher. Inline printing usually requires a minimum of 5,000-20,000 bags and it may take three hours to set up. Inline is high volume, high quality, and less expensive to execute.

3. How many ink colors are needed?

Both quantity and the number of ink colors required affect the printing method (and cost of the overall print job).

  • 1 or 2 colours spaced ½” apart can be post-printed, typically less than 2,500 bags
  • Multiple colours, up to 10, are possible using an inline printing method.

4. The weight of the item(s) going into the bag

The bag you choose needs to be sturdy enough to accommodate the item that goes inside and puncture resistant to hold it. So make sure to have a weight range specified for the type of bag you are choosing. This will affect the thickness of the bag. Most bags range from .0005 mil – .008 mil, but use the following as a general guideline for bag thickness:

  • Economical packaging and lightweight products: 1 to 1.25 mil bags
  • Storing, shipping, or displaying everyday items: 1.5 to 2 mil bags
  • Protecting and supporting heavy or abrasive items: 3 to 4 mil bags
  • Total protection for heavy items: 6 mil bags

5. Allow 4-5 weeks of lead time after artwork approval

Bags aren’t laser printed. They are ‘flexographically’ printed, which means that a printing plate is created with your design parameters, and the design is stamped on the bags. Ink drying involves a process that uses UV lights. The process is more labor intensive than many people realize, so scheduling ahead is highly recommended.

Also, is it advantageous for you to feature the logo of your company along with your website address, phone number and social media platforms (if so, which ones?)

! Last but not least: take your time. Seek referrals and schedule meetings to discuss your brand and marketing needs before a deadline looms. This way you set yourself up for a smooth production experience.