The Imprinted Tote Bag is Back!

Imprinted tote bags and other economical imprinted bags are really coming back as a business promotional item. Tote bags have always been appreciated because they allow for a large imprinting area and are by nature usually carried in public places. This is what made tote bags so popular throughout the 1970s and early 80s, especially as fabric printing technologies matured to make them inexpensive. You’ll probably find a few of these old style tote bags tucked away in a corner of your home, your parents’ home or your grandparents’ place – they really were that ubiquitous.

Tote bags did okay in the late 1980s and the 90s, but they had to compete with evolving printing technologies that made paper and plastic more popular. Furthermore, a lot of businesses started to hear about online advertising and read futurists who claimed everyone would “cocoon” themselves and stop going out.

But now, the tote bag is back thanks to three big changes in technology and culture:

  • First of all, laser and inkjet printing can now be used on virtually any object at a reasonable cost. Mass printing for tote bags in the 80s relied on stencils, specialized offset machines and no small amount of manual labour. Colour was crude, and it was hard to print detailed images. That’s no longer true. High quality printing is cheaper than ever.
  • Source manufacturing costs for tote bags and similar items have dropped. It’s possible to source bags for less from abroad. Even if you prefer to support local manufacturers, you still pay less thanks to improved technologies and source materials such as fabric
  • Finally, there’s been a huge shift in consumer preferences away from plastic. Consumers are environmentally conscious and both companies and governments have followed suit. Municipalities across Canada are contemplating taxes on plastic bags and bylaws discouraging their use. Grocery stores charge for plastic bags and encourage consumers to bring reusable alternatives. In this environment there’s a genuine need for imprinted tote bags, and that’s a great opportunity to promote your business.
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