tote bag ideas

Tote Bag Ideas That Dazzle: 10+ Carryalls You’ll Adore

Cooking up creative new tote designs is key for standing out as a POD seller. But finding ideas that wow customers can be tough. If you’re lacking inspiration for eye-catching tote bag ideas, this article has you covered!

We’ll explore unique, on-trend concepts from all-over prints to embroidered accents to spark your imagination. With design suggestions tailored to what’s hot right now, you’ll discover endless inspiration. We’ll also share insider tips on where to find more creative fuel, from browsing Etsy to hitting up your local craft store. Arm yourself with fresh ideas and places to uncover more!

Ready to whip up tote bag designs that excite customers? Let’s dive in and get those creative juices flowing!

All-over print tote bag ideas

Travel inspirations

Do you feel like a part of your heart stays behind in every new place you visit? Us too. That’s why we love travel-themed tote bags – they let us carry around little pieces of our favorite destinations.

Take a vintage world map bag for instance. One glance transports you back to the winding cobblestone streets of Paris, the tropical beaches of Hawaii, or wherever your travels have taken you. The bag becomes a wearable scrapbook, full of memories.

travel tote bag ideas

Or you can opt for a California-themed tote, a perfect encapsulation of the Golden State. With the state poppy, mighty redwoods, and of course, the grizzly bear, it captures the spirit and icons of California. 

The best part? You could make a version for your own home state or favorite travel locale. With some research and custom printing, you can offer a tote bag that tells your customer’s travel story. Just imagine your bags getting compliments from fellow travel wanderlust!

Plant and flowers

As any avid gardener knows, there’s never enough room to hold all the tools, gloves, and greens needed for plant care and feeding. That’s why botanical-inspired reusable totes make such thoughtful gifts for the nature-lovers in your life.

floral tote bag ideas

Sketch whimsical illustrations of popular houseplants like the monstera, cacti, or succulents. Their quirky shapes and lush leaves translate beautifully to custom art. For an organic look, try watercolor prints of clustering terra cotta pots with vibrant blossoms spilling over. Fuchsia orchids, sunflower yellow daisies, peach roses — embrace the colors of your garden favorites.

Simpler designs also do the trick. An all-over leaf print in calming greens or a single branched magnolia blossom speaks to minimalist tastes. Add cheeky sayings like “Awesome Blossom” or “Friends Don’t Let Friends Go Without Plants” for an extra touch of personality.

With some imagination and loving attention to detail, your plant-adoring customers will happily tote these bags from the nursery to the craft store and everywhere their green thumbs take them!

Coffee-related themes

As coffee continues trending as a daily staple, cater to this loyal demographic with fun café lifestyle designs full of heart-shaped latte foam art, hand-drawn espresso menus, and cheeky sayings like “But First, Coffee. Uplifting messages like “Life Happens – Coffee Helps” in fresh fonts over bright, energetic backgrounds cater to early risers powering through their day.

coffee addict tote bag ideas

Coffee lover bags also make great giftable pieces for newlyweds, grads, coworkers, teachers, and family. And the designs transition nicely into holiday offerings too with spirited color tweaks.

With coffee playing such an integral ritual in many lifestyles, options like these resonate across generations and gender, promising broad customer appeal and year-round relevance.

Food connoisseurs

Foodies everywhere are always on the hunt for the next delicious bite. If you’re targeting food-themed tote designs, consider artwork showcasing wine corks, bottles, glasses filled with red wine, and lush bunches of grapes make classy and sophisticated options. Sayings like “Sip Happens" add a touch of fun. 

food tote bag ideas

Or delicious pies cooling on windowsills, flakey croissants and donuts are sure to delight bakers and sweets lovers! Don’t forget to play up the homemade look with checkered napkins and handwritten notes.

The beauty of food imagery is that it’s so relatable. Everyone eats, after all! Use this universal appeal to design totes that feel cozy and familiar. Your tote bag ideas should capture the satisfaction of a good meal and the joy of healthy, seasonal cooking. With the right homemade look and feel, your bags will be as comforting and crave-worthy as the treats inside.

Pets lovers

Pet owners are passionate about their furry friends! A savvy POD seller should tap into this loving bond to create cute and quirky animal-themed totes. Whether it’s a sly cat or a playful pup, these creatures make charming subjects for your reusable grocery bags.

pet lovers tote bag ideas

Get creative with your critter-centric designs by capturing beloved pet personalities. Show a haughty siamese striking a diva pose or a goofy golden retriever catching a frisbee mid-air. You can also get artsy with colorful prints of your pet’s actual paw prints or sweet portraits of them snuggled up and sleeping. With the right whiskers and wet noses, your tote designs will have pet parents lining up to take them home.


Totes are the perfect accessory for sporting your team pride in style. Whether heading to the ballpark, court, field, or stadium, a roomy bag allows you to carry your must-have game day gear while letting your fandom fly high.

For baseball lovers, an eye-catching “Love Baseball" tote signals your passion for the national pastime. But the possibilities are endless – create fun bags for basketball, football, soccer, and more. With colorful graphics or mottos, you can design grabs that fans sport with spirit all season long.

sport tote bag ideas

Wherever you’re cheering from the stands, totes keep you organized so you can focus on rooting for the home team. Show your colors with game day bags that fans will carry with team devotion and pride!

Floral patterns

Floral patterns are a fun, creative way to design eye-catching tote bags customers will love. When creating warm-weather styles, vibrant prints add welcoming pops of color and seasonality.

Abstract blooms, modern watercolor flower arrangements, and eclectic mixes of various floral species make great casual tote designs that shoppers will love toting to the beach, while traveling, or during weekend activities. These eye-catching prints pair perfectly with any warm weather outfit from sundresses to swimsuits.

Incorporating floral patterns not only infuses femininity into your product catalog, but floral motifs are also on-trend during each spring and summer season. By offering shoppers a rotation of new and innovative floral bag designs each year, you can keep variety and maintain a sense of freshness in your product lineup.

Go beyond basic florals by exploring different color palettes, artistic styles, and flower types too. Getting creative with dimensional floral designs using layered petals, leaves, or other unique botanical elements can further differentiate your brand.

Let lively floral patterns help bloom sales during the warmer months! With so many ways to reinvent this floral motif annually through color, style, and dimension, your catalog will always connect with flower lovers’ ever-growing interest in statement-making tote bag style.

Checkered patterns

Checkered totes offer year-round customer appeal and pair well with both casual everyday outfits and business casual work ensembles. Their timeless motif fits various ages and styles too.

When designing a classic tote, you can opt for timeless color combinations in deeper, sophisticated tones like brown, burgundy, and navy blue to create bags with enduring appeal. For a trendier but still versatile style, explore popular black and white checkerboard prints reminiscent of a dramatic chessboard. With the recent popularity of shows like Queen’s Gambit, chess-inspired designs can attract interest from new niches like chess fans and players.

Get creative by experimenting with different check sizes and layouts to add dimensional style. While larger checks make for an artistic, statement bag, multi-colored checker mixes incorporate striking and eye-catching patterns.

Offering customers their choice between bags with elegant, go-to solids or vivid checkered prints checks every box. The variety drives additional sales while the versatility keeps these classic yet creative bags in regular rotation season after season.

Embroidered tote bag ideas

Line drawings

Abstract line drawings are an elegant and on-trend way to add refined flair to your minimalist totes. With their hand-drawn vibe and muted color palettes, line drawings have an effortlessly sophisticated look. Intricate abstract patterns and strokes add a touch of creativity without overwhelming the clean aesthetic. Customers will love the balance of simplicity and flair. 

Try fun geometric designs, flowy organic patterns, or sketchy landscape scenes – the options are wide open! You can even add customers’ initials or your logo in an artistic hand-drawn style for a personalized touch.

line drawings tote bag ideas

Line drawing embroidery brings a luxe sensibility to basic totes. For minimalist brands seeking that ideal blend of pared-back style and artful detail, this graphic technique is perfect. Your customers will adore these designs that so gracefully walk the line between simple and intricate.


Typography embroidery is a cool option that packs a visual punch. Turn simple lettering into an artistic focal point by choosing a bold, graphical font to display your brand name, slogan, or motto. For example, a few great ideas include:

  • Show off your brand initial or a symbolic logo with a minimalist single-letter or ampersand design. Clean and chic!
  • Feature your inspirational tagline front and center. Motivate customers every time they reach for their tote!
  • Go big and prominent with your brand name. Instant customized swag your team will love.
  • For a playful vibe, try snappy phrases like “Ok, let’s do this!" or “Perfectly imperfect." Words that capture your brand attitude in a fun, relatable way.

typo tote bag ideas

Thoughtful typography embroidery makes basic totes instantly more memorable. Don’t settle for basic – take your totes to the next level with artistic, creative lettering! 

Quotes and sayings

Stitching inspirational quotes, witty phrases, or words of wisdom is a fun, engaging way to connect with customers.

Choose an uplifting message or empowering mantra that aligns with your brand values – something your audience will really resonate with. Sentences like “You Got This!" in bold lettering can motivate busy mornings. Share an inspirational quote from a favorite writer or leader to spark ideas. Or go for clever puns and witty sayings for some lighthearted style.

Strategically place your short quote or phrase on the front and center or down the side seam for high visibility. Pair bold, eye-catching fonts with minimal branding to let the message take center stage.

Quote embroidery allows you to easily share what your brand stands for on every tote bag. The right saying sparks an emotional connection, conveys your ethos, and brightens someone’s day. Make a statement with meaningful words that reflect your brand voice and spirit.

quotes tote bag ideas

Anniversaries and special occasions

Totes embroidered with special occasions like weddings, babies, graduations, or holidays make treasured keepsake tote bag ideas. 

Wedding date and initial totes make for sweet gifts for bridesmaids to cherish. You can welcome a new baby with designs featuring their name, birth stats, or cute motifs embroidered on a memorable tote. Graduation totes embroidered with the year provide a thoughtful way to commemorate the special milestone. Holiday symbols and sayings embroidered on totes spread seasonal cheer.

When designing for special occasions, script names and dates in flowing cursive fonts to add a personal touch. Also consider incorporating relevant flowers, animals, or icons related to the occasion to make the tote design truly meaningful. In addition, add quotes or sayings for further personalization if desired. Using vibrant thread colors is another great way to help commemorate the special memory.

Special occasion embroidery creates heartfelt tote bags recipients will cherish for years. Capture milestone moments with custom details that make any event memorable. Offer customization for anniversaries, reunions, birthdays, and more.

Funny phrases

Humorous and witty phrases embroidered on totes are a great way to spark smiles. Funny sayings and lighthearted puns add a playful element that customers will enjoy. You can opt for some humorous, witty phrases that could work for funny embroidery on tote bags, such as:

  • “I’m not lazy, I’m just on energy-saving mode." 
  • “Eat, Sleep, Be Fabulous"
  • “Allergic to mornings"
  • “It’s wine o’clock somewhere"
  • I’m on a seafood diet – I see food, I eat it.

When choosing an amusing phrase, pick one that aligns with and reflects the humor and ethos of your brand. Then, pair that winning quote with a clean, simple tote bag design to allow the phrase to stand out. For maximum visibility, prominently embroider the funny saying on the front or side panel of the tote. Now you have an eye-catching tote that spreads smiles!

funny tote bag ideas

You can also check out our guide on 10 coolest merch ideas for artists, streamers, and influencers

Where to find creative tote bag ideas

Now that we’ve covered some fun and unique tote bag ideas, where can you find more inspiration to keep those creative juices flowing? Let’s explore some hot spots for uncovering new designs!


Etsy is a goldmine for discovering what’s hot in totes. Search for bestselling and favorite tote bags to see which prints, embroideries and embellishments are making buyers swoon. From cute critters to boho botanicals, you’ll get a feel for designs that translate into sales. Peruse the handmade heaven for inspiration on bringing your own creative vision to life.

Where to find creative tote bag ideas


Pinterest is another of my fave sources for crafting killer tote concepts. Search tote bag inspiration boards using terms like “food totes" or “beach totes" to uncover eye catching graphics. Save pins of patterns, icons, fabrics and more that you could adapt. With some strategic searching, you’ll curate a totally-you set of ideas tailored to your niche.

Where to find creative tote bag ideas


The gram is great for peeping other makers’ fab bags too. Follow hashtags like #totebagdesigns, #totebagideas or #creativetotebag to scope out what fellow creators are cooking up. Make a moodboard with graphics, color schemes, and other elements you want to try. Social media makes it easy to gather visual inspiration from crafters worldwide.

Where to find creative tote bag ideas

Graphic design sites

Graphic design sites like Creative Market are primo for scoring fonts, templates, icons and graphics to deck out your totes. Browse the merchandise for decorative elements you could adapt. Buy a botanical vector set and voila – floral fantasy bags. Or grab an artsy abstract graphic to embroider. With the right digital goodies, you can DIY pro-looking prints.

Art and design museums

For a dose of fine art flair, visit a design museum or art gallery. Scope the textured mediums, color palettes and composition that catch your eye. How could you translate a Van Gogh into a tote print? Or emulate a Matisse with bright embroidered shapes? Surrounding yourself with beauty is a sure way to infuse artsy elegance into your bag designs.

Local artists and crafters

Last but not least, connect with local artisans and crafters. Collaborate on custom bags that showcase their one-of-a-kind style. Like a ceramicist’s nature-inspired prints or a painter’s vibrant color combos. Supporting local talent gives you unique designs they’ll love promoting too.

Fabric and craft stores

Don’t sleep on fabric stores for igniting your creative spark either. Peruse the rolls upon rolls of quilting cottons and home decor fabrics. Cool kid-themed prints? Check. Sophisticated geometrics? Yup. You could even find an embroiderable applique for extra texture. Touching all the options is a sure way for inspiration to strike.

Where to find creative tote bag ideas

Start your successful tote bag business with Merchize

Tote bags make wonderful branded giveaways and retail items. With endless design options from bold colors, graphics, and phrases to special touches like embroidery and lining, the possibilities are truly endless for these bags.

When seeking inspiration for your next custom tote, look beyond your competition at trending designs from fashion runways, home décor color forecasts, and even food packaging. You never know where you’ll uncover the next hot, on-trend look. Just be sure the style aligns with your brand.

When it comes to sourcing a reliable tote bag supplier with quality fabrics and customization options galore, Merchize is your go-to option! We offer everything from basic totes to embroidered and lined bags perfect for bringing your unique vision to life.

Don’t settle for boring when designing your next promotional product. Let Merchize help create stylish, current totes with special details that will delight your customers and spread brand love for years to come. Request your custom quote today to get those creative tote ideas flowing!


Ally is a content specialist at Merchize covering ecommerce tutorials, selling guides and marketing tips. With an impressive background in international corporations and extensive experience spanning multi industries, Ally has chosen Merchize to broaden her knowledge in eCommerce, Print on Demand and Dropshipping. After work hours, she loves practicing yoga, traveling and discovering new coffee shops.