For detailed, multicoloured bag designs, The Promotional Folio turns to Inhouse Branding
The Promotional Folio, a promotional merchandise company based in Sussex, has been around for nearly 40 years now. Its client list includes, amongst others, a number of publishers with varying needs.
Owner Paul Dolley explains that when it comes to promo bags, he often gets them from Hampshire-based Crazy Bags. “Crazy Bags are always quick if we need them to be, they’re very efficient, and they always have good stocks. Obviously price is pretty key too, on bags possibly more than any other product, because it’s just become such an industry staple now and lots of people are trying to undercut the others.” Paul notes that there has been a trend towards offering lighterweight bags as companies try to increase profits by reducing the weight while keeping the price the same, but reports that while Crazy Bags does have lightweight options, its standard bag is a good quality product. “When these bags started being popular it was difficult to get real consistency from the manufacturers… but Crazy Bags products are always consistently good.”
Nine times out of 10, Paul will get Crazy Bags to print the bags for him as well. “It makes sense for us to buy the bags and have them printed in-house because the job gets done in one hit. It also works out cheaper for us to have the bags printed by the people we’re buying from.”
If the print involves more than a one- or two-colour print logo, however, then Southend on Sea garment decorator Inhouse Branding (formerly known as Wiggle Wiggle) is handed the job. “Wiggle is a very good screen printer so when the design is challenging, then I would rather buy the blanks and send them to Wiggle and let them print them. We use them for the kind of print jobs that need extra care and attention – the more complicated jobs – because, technically, they’re very good.”
Paul explains that he tends to opt for screen printing over transfer printing on bag orders for the well-known book publishers that are The Promotional Folio’s main clients. “Transfer printing will always give you a closer representation and a sharper print, but it’s a lot more expensive and Wiggle is a really good screen printer so they are able to take the time and get the job right.”
The most important feature of any garment decorator looking to supply a company such as The Promotional Folio is their screen printing skill and the type of equipment they have so that they can handle the more complex designs (Inhouse Branding has an eight-colour automatic MHM). “An eight-head machine means they can screen print in more colours, so rather than trying to achieve a multicoloured image out of just CMY and K, they can add extra colours, which enables them to get closer than someone who has only six heads to play with.
“We just did a job for a publisher where they sent me quite stylised cartoony artwork that had lots of colours. I had to explain to them that it was not going to be bang on, that when you’re trying to achieve a really complicated design like that sometimes it’s impossible to get every colour exactly using screen printing. She was a bit worried because people don’t understand the kind of technical reasons why it’s not possible, but she was really happy with the result after Wiggle had printed the bags.”