Made from soft materials like cotton and polyester, tote bags are easy to carry and can be a neutral addition to any outfit. This makes them a popular bag choice for individuals all over the world; they're great for travel and are large enough to hold a substantial amount of supplies for regular use.
Tote bags are also very eco-friendly as they encourage reusing and recycling. If you want to sell more sustainable products, offering a tote bag in your shop is a wise business decision.
These features make tote bags an easy piece of merchandise to sell in an ecommerce shop, but first, you'll need some killer designs that attract customers to your style.
As a designer, it's up to you to determine your niche and target audience for your products. Fortunately, tote bags appeal to the masses, making it possible for one shop to create many designs that cater to very different styles and preferences.
For design inspiration and ideas, this post highlights 12 of the best tote bag designs in 2023.
Ways to target different demographics with slight design changes and customization
How current events, pop culture, and inspirational quotes can be your biggest-selling designs
Why personalization in a tote bag shop is essential for return customers and brand loyalty
The following tote bag designs are vague enough to create your own spin on each one, making a unique design for offering in your ecommerce shop for a broad demographic. Let your imagination wander as you read through these to determine where you'll start with designing.
The return of retro means tons of design inspiration for custom tote bags in stylish, vintage themes. Incorporate warm colors like orange, yellow, and red in your designs, and use funky fonts that evoke nostalgia in your audience.
Create a custom tote bag design with vintage art printed on it, like Van Gogh's Sunflower, flapper-era advertisements, or Monet's iconic impressionist paintings. Printing vintage art on a cotton canvas tote bag will appeal to the masses, and a collection of unique vintage art prints is sure to sell to art lovers from any generation.
Celebrate the glory of previous eras with a design print reminiscent of an earlier period in time. Honor the 70s with a groovy beach scene and a VW bus, the 80s with neon clothing and metal bands, or Y2K with plastic furniture, boy bands, and Lisa Frank.
Creating totes with different era designs broadens your audience by catering to a larger demographic; those who lived through the 70s may be in the market for a tote bag that brings them back to simpler times, while a 90s child would pay big bucks for a Lisa Frank-inspired tote.
Many consumers look for tote bags for their groceries and Farmer's market trips to carry fresh produce, baked goods, and perishable items. This design idea is easy to spin off with your own take, so be creative and incorporate produce and farming themes in these designs.
Create a play on words using language synonymous with shopping small, like "Fresh Fruits Picked Daily" or "Farm to Table." These terms look great on a tote with relevant graphics, like a farm, vegetable gardens, or a wooden farm stand.
What's more important than shopping locally? Encourage consumers to shop small through a design with a bold statement "Support Local Farmers" in a flashy, fun font that will grab people's attention. Include visual elements like a farm in the backdrop to make it really pop.
As a designer, lean into your own style to create imagery of enticing fruits and vegetables to display on your tote bags. Use ink gradients to curate a cohesive design and a cursive font to describe each produce item, like "Fresh garlic" or "Juicy tomatoes from the farm," for design authenticity.
A beach tote bag collection is an easy way to generate sales; everybody needs a durable beach bag that is easy to carry.
Cute graphics, like a sea turtle or a toothy shark, embellished on a tote bag will appeal to animal lovers and ocean conservationists.
Incorporate cute beach quotes like "Life's better at the beach" or "Take me to the beach" with a backdrop of the ocean for an idyllic scene on a tote bag.
Use bright colors or warm, muted tones to create an image of a sunset at the beach. Use photos for inspiration, or create your own design.
Florals appeal to a large audience because they represent happiness, a fresh start, and positive energy. There are so many directions you can take with floral designs, but here are three to get you started.
Keep it simple and neutral with a monochromatic floral tote bag that will pop. Stick to one flower, like a stunning rose, or create a beautiful field of daisies for a sophisticated style.
Design and implement a floral pattern with two or three colors that you can use all over a cotton tote bag. Embellish the cotton fabric by making it reversible, so shoppers get two bags for the price of one.
Research a few flowers' history, origin, and details to create a flower-description tote bag. It allows shoppers to select the flower they want or create custom tote bags based on their favorite florals.
Offering customization in your shop will drive customer loyalty and increase sales as shoppers get exactly what they want.
Cater to the animal lovers browsing your shop with a tote bag they can carry with their favorite creature.
Create designs for all the lovable farm animals, like cows, pigs, sheep, and chickens, for farmers and animal lovers to carry their daily essentials.
Target the dog moms and cat dads in your audience with custom tote bags celebrating the cutest four-legged friends in the home. Whether you draw the animals yourself or allow shoppers to upload a photo of their pet, animal tote bags sell in droves.
Blend two images together to create a unique graphic using a mountain or desert scape and the silhouette of a bear, bird, or wolf. A collection of animal styles and images can be used for business tote bags, daily wear, and many other uses.
Choose from classic quotes and sayings to unique slogans and memes to appeal to various age groups and demographics. Humor is personal, making it a great personalized gift idea for shoppers.
As a designer, inspiring your audience is a great way to encourage them to make a purchase. There are a variety of uplifting and inspiring quotes for stylish totes. From "Just keep swimming" to "Live your passion," words have a powerful way of motivating people to buy.
Encourage more kindness in the world with quotes like "Throw kindness around like confetti" or "It's cool to be kind."
Humorous styles will always sell; people love to laugh, and a funny tote bag is a great conversation starter. From family-friendly humor to cheeky jokes or NSFW comments, consumers love incorporating humor into their daily lives.
Design drool-worthy food graphics and images in a fresh style; use patterns, gradients, silhouettes, and other elements to develop an interesting spin on food.
Design bright, vibrant produce images that shoppers can use to store their grocery essentials during shopping trips.
Create a unique collection of food items that one may purchase on a grocery trip or all the best junk foods pictured on one tote bag.
A cheese tote bag is like a charcuterie board you can carry. Select the most popular types of cheese, explore wine pairings, and top it off with a fun font for the perfect wine and cheese tote bag.
For the modern minimalist style, totes with basic designs that are still meaningful will always sell. From plants to landscapes, single images can pack a punch without all the noise.
Use thin lines and one or two colors to create a mountainscape or desert scene without overcomplicating the design.
Sketch a simple plant or foliage, add some texture, and call it a day. Many businesses use a single plant as a logo, so testing your skills as a designer in this regard can create more opportunities for future designs.
From The Office to Parks and Rec, viral TikTok trends, and the latest current events, pop culture is rich with design ideas that are just waiting to come to life on tote bags and other popular merchandise.
Borrow logo ideas from popular TV shows, like Rose Apothecary from Schitt's Creek or Schrute Farms from The Office. Do your research to widen your audience and include other genres like Yellowstone, the Star Wars collection, or the Marvel universe.
Celebrate all the movie genres with tote bags in horror, comedy, fantasy, and documentaries. From Midsommar to Harry Potter, there are endless ideas you can work into your tote bag designs.
Encourage shoppers to explore the world with travel-themed tote bags for every adventure, whether a day in the city or a backpacking trip through Europe.
Adventure is out there, so inspire shoppers to see the world with a tote bag design that reads, "Adventure awaits!" Add a visual element like a sunset, airplane, or beach scene for a boost of motivation to get going.
Build a unique cityscape on a tote with a vibrant taxi cab or train, an epic skyline, and swirly fonts with city names like New York, Los Angeles, Austin, and San Diego.
Board the plane, train, or jet with a "Bon Voyage" tote bag to carry essentials and see the world. Use bold, striking fonts that grab their attention and design features like a subtle pattern in the background for visual interest.
As retro styles make their return to fashion, designers should get on board with these design trends ASAP. Retro is here to stay; embrace it, and you'll see a major influx in orders in your shop!
Boho daisy flowers are having a moment, and we're here for it. Use warm hues like mustard yellow and baby pink to fully immerse your shoppers in the retro floral movement on a tote bag.
Many shoppers want a tote bag with their home state emblazoned on it, and the retro design opens the door to many unique styles. Use the quintessential retro sunset in bold colors with each state's name boldly displayed on it.
From foliage to plants, critters, crawlers, and greenery, there is so much inspiration to be found in nature for your tote bag designs.
Use warm hues and a mountainscape silhouette to create a beautiful printed tote bag. Draw inspiration from the giant saguaros in the desert or how the moon shines light on a valley for memorable, unique landscape tote bags.
Celebrate sustainability on Mother Earth with some aesthetically-pleasing fungi and frogs that serve their purpose in the environment.
Tote bags can be used in many everyday situations; from travel to carrying supplies to work, books to school, as a diaper bag, or gardening storage, the uses are endless. This means that your target audience is virtually limitless, so it's time to start carving out design ideas that you think will sell.
With Gelato's print on demand services, creating custom tote bags has never been easier or more sustainable. Get started here and prepare to be amazed at the inspiration you find from these tote bag design ideas.