Fashion and Function: Stylish and Durable Paper Bag Designs for Retail Brands

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You have to make your shopping bags both stylish and durable but also reflect the stylish side of your brand.

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Last Updated on September 8, 2023 by Packoi Team

In a study done about paper bags, it was revealed that customers reuse paper bags on their next shopping trip or for a different purpose. So it has to be strong enough to last for multiple uses.

It’s not just for sustainable purposes. It’s also to ensure that you’re getting maximum exposure for your brand.

In this article, we’ll discuss the design elements that your paper bag should have so your customers can reuse it while advertising your brand in style.

Merging Style and Durability for Retail Paper Bags

The competition in the retail industry is fierce. It’s not just the products that are competing with each other. The brand image and the customer experience matter as well. Customers are no longer after what’s cheapest among the brands.

They’re willing to support companies that give them the best value for their money. That includes choosing a brand with the best-looking and most functional retail shopping bags on the market.

Retail Paper Bags

It may seem like a trivial thing, but you might be surprised by how much packaging affects a customer’s behavior. With the right paper bag design and materials, your packaging can be a powerful tool. This is true for both retail and grocery stores.

If your shopping bag is branded, visually appealing, and durable, it can attract people’s attention quickly. The durability will increase the chances that your bag will be reused. This increases the exposure that your paper bags will have.

If you’re wondering, why not just use plastic bags? While it’s cheap and durable, it’s not as sustainable as paper bags. If you want to catch the attention of new customers, you have to appeal to their eco-conscious side. That’s easier to achieve if you use paper for your shopping bags.

5 Design Elements to Consider for Your Paper Bags

Choosing paper bag designs is not just a matter of picking colors and patterns or printing your brand name in a visible area. It involves a lot of consideration to ensure that you’re maximizing the number of customers that your shopping bag design can attract.

Remember, you want your paper bags to be stylish and durable. You want it to have a balance of fashion and function. That requires careful planning. Take a look at some of the design elements that you should consider as you put together the design for your retail bags.

customized paper bags

Creative Brand Customization

Creating the best-looking custom paper bags will do no good if people can’t associate it with your brand. This is why putting brand elements in the paper bag design is a must. If you think it’ll make your customers feel embarrassed to reuse it, they won’t.

A study shows that 8 out of 10 consumers find a branded paper bag pleasant and attractive. You’ll notice that luxury brands only have their names on their paper shopping bags. Sometimes, your brand name or logo is powerful enough to make a statement.

Luxurious Texture and Finish

Another idea you can use for your custom-printed paper bags is to give them a luxurious texture and finish. Since a shopping bag can be an effective advertising tool, use it to elevate the value of your brand. Let people know more about your luxury brand by adding foil stamping, glitter, and embossed designs, to your paper bag.

Choose high-quality printing so your design will come out looking opulent. Choose textures that will make people feel how valuable your paper bag is. The more luxurious it is, the more it’ll make an impact on them.

Statement through Handles

The handles of our paper bag play an important role in making it functional. It adds to the convenience of carrying the bags around. But apart from its functional nature, you can also use the handles to make a statement. Although custom-printed bags create the most powerful statements, don’t ignore the potential of the handles.

satin ribbon handles bag

For instance, using satin ribbon handles will elevate your custom luxury paper bags more than twisted paper or rope handles can. This is why you shouldn’t ignore it when you’re designing the overall look of your paper bags.

Stylish Shapes

One of the benefits of using paper bags is that they’re quite versatile. Paper can be created in any shape or form. So if you want your paper bag to stand out, think of a stylish shape that best represents your brand. Create the paper bags in circular, triangular, or even hexagonal shapes.

As you push the limits of your brand’s creativity, ensure that the chosen shape won’t compromise the functionality of your shopping bag. If you choose a triangular shape, your product has to fit inside. Pick the right materials to compliment the overall look. For instance, ribbon handles look luxurious, but can they support the shape of the bag, especially when it already carries the product inside? If not, then you might be better off sticking to rope handles.

Teaser Cutouts

Apart from using unique shapes for your paper bags, you can also put window cutouts so people can peek into what’s inside the bag. Strategically placed cutouts add to the design of your bag. It could be a simple cutout of your brand’s logo or name.

Or you can put it in the shape of your product. If you sell footwear, put a window cutout in the shape of a shoe on the bag. Or if you sell jewelry, a cutout of a diamond ring would look nice on the paper bag.

4 Tips to Create Durable Paper Bags

Creating stylish paper bags is easy. But how can you do it so it won’t compromise durability? After all, even the most beautiful paper bag would cease to impress customers the moment the handles broke. Or if the paper shopping bags tear off at the bottom, that would be incredibly embarrassing for your brand.

Not to mention the fact that durability lengthens the advertising power of your retail bags. The more durable it is, the more customers can reuse it. Every time they use it, that’s additional marketing mileage for your business.

Fortunately, making your shopping bags durable isn’t complicated. You just need to follow specific rules to make sure it doesn’t break while your customer is using it.

Use High-Quality Materials

paper bag

The foundation of a durable paper bag is the type of paper that it uses. Even if you use rope handles, if the paper they’re attached to isn’t good enough, it can still compromise the durability of your paper bags.

So before you choose anything else, think about the premium paper that you’ll use. It helps to consider the products that will be put inside it. For instance, paper shopping bags usually carry a lot of items. That means the material of your bag should be strong enough not to break.

Since there are many suppliers out there, choose one that sources paper materials from responsibly managed forests. These are the trustworthy packaging companies that can provide sustainable and durable paper for your bags. Check out FSC-certified companies as you start finding high-quality materials for your paper bag. When it comes to the handles, they usually provide the same materials, or you can get referrals from them.

Reinforce the Handles

When you’re designing custom paper bags, pay special attention to the handles. More often than not, these are the ones that break off easily, especially if the contents of the bag are too heavy.

Even if you use high-quality ribbon handles or thick twisted paper handles, these aren’t enough to make your shopping bags durable. They have to be attached to the paper bag in the right way.

Now the challenge is how you can attach the handles in such a way that you don’t compromise the overall design of your retail bag. You can put a hole in the bag and insert the handle, then tie a knot at the end so it doesn’t slip through. Or you can use grommets. You can also attach a paperboard to cover where the handles are attached.

Choose the best option that blends well with the overall design of your shopping bags.

Put Side Gussets in for Space

A technique to make paper bags more spacious is to add side and bottom gussets. This will allow you to put in a bigger and thicker product—or multiple ones.

This also provides additional structural support so the bag doesn’t give way while carrying heavy items.

The side gusset can also help the paper bag maintain its shape despite carrying thicker items. It won’t have a bulge in the middle, which could compromise the aesthetic appeal of the bag.

Include Bottom Inserts

Besides the handles, the bottom of your paper bags should also be reinforced – especially if you’re going to use it for heavy items. The best way to do this is to add a cardboard insert at the bottom. This insert is laid flat at the bottom to provide the bag’s structure with support. This also helps the bag maintain its shape and stand upright when the customer decides to put it down.

durable paper bags

7 Ways to Increase the Functionality of Paper Bags

At this point, you already have clues on how you should design and put together your paper bags so they’re both visually appealing and durable.

To take your shopping bags to the next level, implement these 7 tips to increase their functionality.

Convenient to Carry

Start by thinking about the ergonomics of your paper bags. What products will be put inside, and how will the customers carry them? This will define the paper bag materials that you’ll use and the placement of your handles. For instance, ribbon handles look good. But a rope handle may provide an easier grip.

Ensure that there’s ease in carrying the bag so customers can hold it for long periods of time. 

Easy Closure

Not all paper bags have closures. Some are fashioned in such a way that the rope handles can be used to close the bag. You can also use velcro, snap buttons, or self-adhesive strips to close the paper bag.

There are many options to provide easy closure for your shopping bag. Just make sure your customers can easily figure out what these are so they know how to use them.

Make It Foldable

In general, paper bags are designed to be foldable. After all, they’re shipped from the supplier that way. However, the foldable elements of the shopping bag should be evident so customers will know how to fold it properly for safekeeping. This way, they can store the paper bags properly so they can be reused.

But more than that, you may want to design the bag so it can be folded into a small piece. That way, the customer can carry it with them as an additional bag.

Put Compartments

paper bag with Compartments

Can you create paper bags with compartments? Yes, you can. This will make it more functional and allow your customers to be more organized with their items. 

These compartments can be in the form of loops attached to the wall of a paper bag for jars, bottles, and other fragile items. It can also be like a pocket outside of shopping bags for smaller items.

Add Inserts

Do you remember the cardboard insert that you put on paper bags to secure the bottom and make it stronger? This can also be positioned vertically, so it can act as a divider. This will allow customers to separate different items in the retail bag.

Giving customers a chance to organize the items in the paper bag will surely be appreciated – especially if it involves small or fragile items.

Create Custom-Printed Paper Bags with Packoi Printing.

Creating custom-printed paper bags that are both fashionable and functional isn’t rocket science. There are many ways to create visually appealing paper shopping bags that are durable and functional. You can get a lot of paper bag design inspiration online, or you can partner with the right supplier to help you out.

If you want the best shopping bag for your retail business, get in touch with Packoi Printing. We have the experience and expertise to design great-looking paper bags, and we have samples to show for it.

Call us so we can discuss your plans. We’ll get back to you with a fair quote as soon as possible.

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Hey there, I’m Shelly!

I really enjoy the packaging and printing industry because my work makes my clients’ products more beautiful and enjoyable. If you have any questions about packaging and printing, feel free to contact me!

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