There are many factors to consider when deciding how you want to advertise and present your brand to potential customers. The first things that come to mind might be through online advertisements or a social media campaign. There are many ways to get your brand recognized over the sea of competitors, but in this guide, we’ll focus on one versatile type of promotion you may have overlooked—the There are many factors to consider when deciding how you want to advertise and present your brand to potential customers. The first things that come to mind might be through online advertisements or a social media campaign. There are many ways to get your brand recognized over the sea of competitors, but in this guide, we’ll focus on one versatile type of promotion you may have overlooked—the custom shopping bag.

The Benefits of Personalized Shopping Bags for Businesses

Eye-catching custom shopping bags with logo, brand color, and other complementary features are an excellent way to provide your business with a medium for free advertisement. When your customers carry these bags and catch the attention of other potential customers, it entices them to visit your store and make a purchase, further increasing your brand awareness and sales.

However, the potential of customized shopping bags for business goes far beyond just advertising and marketing. For starters, implementing custom bags significantly increases a customer’s shopping and unboxing experience — another crucial factor that can mean the difference between customers choosing you over your competitor.

Finally, utilizing custom bags—specifically paper—also allows you to cater to another essential thing consumers value: sustainability.

Why Use Custom Paper Bags?

Paper bags offer the same benefits as traditional packaging while promoting a greener image of your brand and being cost-effective to create in bulk. They are flexible and versatile in shape, size and color, which, according to Smithers, lends to their forecast that flexible packaging will continue to replace more traditional packaging methods.

Furthermore, regarding environmental considerations for custom paper bags, utilizing eco-friendly packaging shows your brand’s commitment to protecting the environment while contributing to a product’s premium perception, as IPSOS reported.

Sustainability has become a topic of concern for consumers in the past years, and for good reason! According to McKinsey’s survey insights, the impact of ocean litter has become the primary environmental issue across all generations among concerned individuals, and most consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable packaging. In fact, about half of US consumers are willing to pay 1 to 3 percent more for sustainable packaging, and 4 to 7 percent of consumers are willing to pay over 10 percent more for sustainability.

So not only do paper bags lend to an eco-friendly initiative, but customers are also willing to pay more and perceive sustainability as a premium trait for your brand!

The Basic Terminology of Paper Bags

Now that you know the value of using paper for your custom shopping bags, it is essential to understand that paper bags come with a whole set of industry-specific terminology that you should familiarize yourself with to make an informed decision about how to plan your paper bag project. Let’s look at the most important things you need to know:

Paper Basis Weight

Paper Basis Weight refers to how the weight of paper is standardized and measured, typically in pounds (lbs). It is defined as the weight of a ream, which is 500 sheets of paper when cut to its specific base or standard size. One thing to note is that each type of paper has a designated standard size, so a conversion will be required.

For example, if the standard size for bond paper is 17 inches by 22 inches, and you have a ream of this paper labeled as 20 lb., it means that 500 sheets of this size will collectively weigh 20 pounds.

This measure helps compare the relative thickness and quality of different types of paper, even if they come in different sizes.

For instance, a ream of 80 lb. cover paper will be much thicker and more durable than 80 lb. text paper, because ‘cover’ paper has a larger standard size and is designed to be heavier.

Paper Grammage (GSM)

Paper grammage (GSM) is a universal unit of measurement that represents the weight of one square meter of paper in grams per square meter (gsm) for all paper types. Unlike basis weight, which is based on a ream of paper of varying standard sizes, GSM is applicable worldwide and is much more convenient to measure. Generally, the higher the GSM, the heavier and thicker the paper.

Points (PT)

Points (PT), or the point system, is another unit of measurement primarily used in the US to determine the thickness of cardstock and other paper types. The higher the PT value, the thicker the material is.

What’s the difference between GSM and PT?

While both measurements seem very similar, GSM is better for high-end products with a value on aesthetics. A higher GSM indicates a heftier and thicker paper that can commonly be associated with quality and customer experience. On the other hand, PT is better when product protection is a higher priority. A higher PT value indicates a thicker, sturdier packaging.

To learn more about the GSM and PT unit systems, check out the other article here.


Gussets are the folds on the sides or bottom of a paper bag. They are the key feature in many paper bags, giving the bag its expandability.

Flat Bottom Design

Flat Bottom Design are bags with a flat base that make it easy to stand upright. They are the standard, versatile option ideal for various grocery and retail uses.

Choosing the Right Paper Bag

Now that we’ve covered the basics of the paper bag, you might wonder how to choose the right one for your project. While there is no right or wrong answer for custom branded bags, a handful of factors can significantly influence your decisions and impact the outcome of your project. These factors include;

1. Type of Business

The first factor you must consider is the type of business you operate. Each industry has different paper bag needs and wants from customers and companies. Some industries may have stricter requirements that need to be adhered to, like the medical industry, or customers might have higher expectations, such as in jewelry. Understanding these differences when deciding the right paper bag for you is one of the most important things to consider when beginning your custom packaging project.

2. Volume and Size of the Product

The next consideration is knowing the size of your product and the volume you need to fit it within a bag properly. Thankfully, measuring a bag is the same as measuring a box! If you need help with measurements, PakFactory has an article that will walk you through how to correctly measure a package for your product.

Measurements of Paper Bag

3. Paper Bag Styles and Purpose

Next, you need to consider your bag’s style and purpose, but remember that all bags should be strong enough to hold the weight of your products, provide customizable options, and ideally be eco-friendly. PakFactory offers many style options, each with its own set of benefits for specific purposes. Below are just a handful of PakFactory’s offerings.

  • SOS Bags are 100% recyclable and perfect for takeaway restaurants.
  • Pinch Bottom Bags are great for food items because of their envelope-like openings and interior grease resistance.
  • Flat Bottom Paper Bags are bags with a flat base that make it easy to stand upright. They are the standard, versatile option ideal for various grocery and retail uses.
  • Euro Tote Bags offer high-end brands the protection and an elevated sense of luxury customers expect.
  • Merchandise Bags come in various styles and sizes, offering excellent customization.
  • Die Cut Bags offer a unique handle design that lends to increased customer experience.
  • Custom Kraft Paper Bags are a cost-effective and eco-friendly option that elevates your brand by promoting sustainability.
  • Wide Gusset Paper Bags are ideal for a wide range of products. They provide more space, structure and convenience for customers.
  • And More!
Different Paper Bag Styles

4. Paper Bag Materials

Another factor you need to consider is the materials you use. There are various types of paper, each differing in strength, durability, weight, cost, reusability, and texture. For example, stronger papers can be used for heavier products, while lighter paper with a more luxurious texture might be better suited for smaller jewelry items. Once again, it all depends on what you’re selling!

Below, you’ll find a comprehensive chart comparing the pros and cons of each paper type. This information will help you decide which materials to use in your packaging project.

Pros and Cons of Different Paper Bag Materials

5. Design Elements and Printing

Now, with the materials decided, it’s time to think about the design, print and color you want on your bag. Custom print paper bags elevate your project to the next level. At PakFactory, we offer many different printing and ink options for custom shopping bags that we guarantee will fit your every need. We offer;

  • Offset Print for larger runs and high-quality
  • Digital Print for cost-effective, smaller runs
  • UV Print for fast drying and a glossy finish
  • Water-based Ink for an eco-friendly alternative that offers high-quality color output
  • Soy/Vegetable Ink for another eco-friendly alternative with vibrant colors
  • Oil Base Ink provides high-quality color but is not eco-friendly
  • Pantone/Pantone Metallic for color consistency and precision

6. Customization

Next, let’s look at the different customizations you can choose for your custom retail bags. In addition to the various materials, styles, and print options, paper bags offer many additional options you can add that will further increase the value, convenience and experience for your customers.

Custom paper bags with handles, in particular, play a massive role in the design of paper bags. They align with current trends, offer convenience for the customer, and provide extra customization options with styles such as ribbons, tipping ropes, plaited ropes, cotton, twisted paper, and folded paper that offer unique looks and feels for your paper bag.

But aside from custom handles, some other additional options worth considering include;

  • Packaging Inserts to add a little surprise for your customers inside the bag
  • Paper Tags you can attach to your bags to add an extra flare
  • Foldable Bags to save space in storage
  • Easy Closure to ensure the items inside are secure
  • Compartments to neatly separate items in an organized, professional manner
  • Lamination to enhance your bag’s finish and durability
  • Embossing/Debossing to create a touch of luxury on your bag
  • UV Varnish for glossy, elegant patterns
  • Foil Stamping for a bold statement that catches the attention of customers

7. How Much Does Paper Bags Cost

For our final consideration, you might be wondering how much do personalized paper bags cost. To put it bluntly, there is no concrete answer, as all the factors mentioned above play a heavy role in determining the final cost of your custom shopping bag. The size of your bag, the materials you use, the quantity you order, turnaround time, and customization options all affect the end price.

Choosing the Right Manufacturer

With the design of your paper bag fresh in your mind, there is one more thing you need to consider: custom paper bag manufacturers. Choosing the manufacturer is crucial to the success of your project, as they will play a massive part in the quality of your bags. Some advice we can offer when searching for a paper bag manufacturer includes researching the company thoroughly. Ask yourselves the following questions to determine whether a manufacturing company is right for you:

  • Do they meet your project needs and requirements?
  • Do they have a strong and reliable reputation within the industry?
  • Do they have advanced manufacturing equipment?
  • Is their team experienced and professional, responding promptly to your needs and questions?
  • Are they cost-effective?
  • Do previous customers provide positive reviews?

PakFactory is Here to Help

There’s much to consider when planning a packaging project, and paper bags are no exception. But the most important takeaway from this guide is that a good paper bag should be strong enough to hold the weight of your products, convey a strong brand story and values, be environmentally friendly and be cost-effective for your business to implement.

At PakFactory, your success is our success. We can help you achieve your paper packaging goals and offer a plethora of paper options, such as personalized paper wine bags, custom merchandise bags, shopping tote bags, grocery bags and gift bags. But we don’t just have paper bags; PakFactory also has options such as custom-printed pouches, custom mailers and custom reusable shopping bags!

So, if you’re looking for a place to begin your packaging journey, PakFactory is the one-stop shop for everything related to packaging! Speaking with one of PakFactory’s product specialists is the best way to figure out the details of your next packaging project!

Looking for Inspiration?

If you’re not ready to take the next step in your packaging journey just yet, check out some of the previous packaging projects we’ve completed or some of the recommended sites below to get your creative juices flowing!


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