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Packaging tips

Here are some essential tips for creating bags and packaging solutions that will work effectively for your business and deliver results. Avoid the packaging pitfalls by understanding the key aspects of producing a great bag.

Choosing Handles

When designing a carry bag always look at the different handle options available and make sure it suits your bag, your design and your bags function.


Which carry bag handle is best for you?


Diecut Handles are most commonly used on plastic carry bags, it is the cheapest handle option and also very easy to carry. The variation on this handle is a patch handle and a turnover top handle (double layer of plastic) which is used when heavy items are going into the bag, or when the bag size is large and needs the extra strength. When using this handle you need to remember that it cuts into the overall length of your bag.


Soft Loop or Flat Fold Handles are slightly more expensive than diecut handles but will lengthen the bag. So if you are a shoe store and your bag fits 80% of your shoeboxes but the other 20% are slightly longer/bigger, then this handle will work for you by giving you a bit extra in length. Also gives your bag a slightly more exclusive look.


Ridge Tube, Soft Tube or European Clip Handles are used on plastic carry bags generally for a gift bag. The European Clip handle will clip together, so great to use on a bag where you want to secure the contents for your customers. Not as popular in New Zealand as the other handle types.


Cotton Rope Handles are more commonly used on paper carry bags, however they can also be used on fabric and plastic bags. The cotton rope is a softer feel than a flat fold handle, nice to carry around if you are doing a lot of shopping. On a plastic bag it can really lift the bag to a more exclusive look.


Paper Twist Handles are used on paper bags in very much the same way as flat fold or soft loop handles are used on a plastic bag. By using this handle type on a paper bag with no lamination, the bag will be fully biodegradable in a shorter time than if it is laminated.


Ribbon or Woven Handles are used both on paper and non-woven eco bags. By using these handles, good artwork and materials you will create a very exclusive looking bag.


Shoulder Strap Handle is the term used for non-woven eco and cotton bags where the handle is long enough for your customer to carry over their shoulder. This handle type is the most popular for non-woven bags.


Postman Sak Handles are used on non-woven eco and cotton bags and go from one side of the bag to the other, creating a long handle that your customer will wear diagonally over their shoulders. Very hip in surf stores, designer stores and promotions involving certain age groups.


Carry Handles are smaller handles on the non-woven eco bags and are used more for conference bags, where the customer is not going to be over filling the bag and carrying it for a length of time. Also good on small bags that are being used as a gift, or used as an outer wrapper for a larger bag.

Great Design

To get it noticed on the street its worth investing in great design for your packaging.


Great design is functional – a well thought out bag will effectively carry your product out the door. Make sure the size you order will fit most, if not all your products. If one size is not going to work then go for two, this will save you using large bags on small items or having to squeeze large items into a small bag.


Great design is thorough – the devil is in the detail. Make sure your bag size works, you have correct logo and design details, accurate contact details, correct print colour, the right bag material and handles and it is ultimately practical for purpose.


Great design is clear – less is more. Having too many things going on in your design can sometimes create visual confusion. Is your design easy to read or understand from a distance?


Great design is sustainable – Create a carry bag that your customer will want to keep and reuse. Designing your bag for future uses beyond its initial product requirements is not only smart marketing but shows you care for the environment.


Great design is great advertising – Promote your business by using a well-designed bag that gets you plenty of eyeballs. Customers will reuse a great bag over and over again. A branded carry bag is your mobile billboard.


Great design is well made – Make sure you use a supplier who will stand behind the quality of the product. Will they take the time to talk to you about a bag that will work for your business? You do not have to settle for a standard bag if you want something unique.

Applications for your branded bag

There are many ways that you can reinforce your brand with printed carrier bags.


Exhibiting at trade shows – Utilising a branded bag increases the likelihood that a visitor and potential client will remember you and your conversation after the show. You don’t necessarily need to have an expensive bag or go overboard with expensive goodies, just include relevant promotional information, price lists or a competition forms. You can also keep the cost down by making sure that only potential clients get a bag.


Gym membership renewal – Give your new customer a bag that is specifically designed to take their gym gear. They will love to use it and advertise your business at the same time.


Sport club start of season – Supply your members with a bag of information that they will need when signing up; this will prevent important pieces of information going missing.


Accountants end of year – Return your client’s books and end-of-year information back to them in a great looking carry bag. Make sure the bag will fit a couple of ring binders. It’s a wonderful way to add value to the client along with that tax refund.


Food Stores launching a new range – A great way to reinforce your store by giving away a good size carry bag that will take a range of your products, tie it in with a new launch of a range or a birthday celebration.

Example Packaging