When you create a new bag design – the finishing details can make all the difference to how your bag brand stands out from the crowd.

No matter how clever your photography and marketing narrative is – at the end of the day your customer will buy a product – and your product needs to have all the best finishing details to “keep the promise” of all your marketing hype.

We are professional bag designers who also design all the bespoke hardware branding details and fastenings that can elevate your bag styles from basic bags to branded “Designer bags”.

This Blog is all about how to make a bag design – into a branded “Designer bag”.

So, let’s take a step back and ask “What is a brand”?

Firstly lets say what it is not – it is not a logo.

The logo is the visual expression of your brand values into an easy to remember icon.

A brand is the character and personality of a company purpose and mission.

We call this the “Brand Message”.

So when a customer comes to us with a great bag idea – we start by looking at it from the point of view of “what is the purpose of the product and the proposed brand” so we can set out to create a bag that captures the purpose of the brand. Our aim is to make a bag that captures your USP (Unique Selling Proposition) from it’s shape to function to it’s hardware branding details.

Brand Message and Purpose:

You might already have many ideas about what the bags are going to be like – this is a good start. But we need have a clear understanding of what the purpose of your future brand will be?

For instance;

  • Is it a Mothers bag that will be more stylish and practical than what is already available on the market?
  • Is it a travel bag that you want to be super lightweight and adapt to carry more (or less) as your travel demands?
  • Maybe it will be a bag for a specific job that needs to carry special equipment in a really organised way?

So when you look at these examples you will see they are all about the practical purpose of the bag. This will of course affect the “message, image and narrative” around your bags.

Bespoke Hardware – Brand Finishing details.

So lets say your bag is now well designed to meet your “Purpose and Brand message….but you want it to be a “Designer Bag” quality… So lets see how that quality is achieved.

if you look in any department store you will see a big difference (for instance) between the budget bag and the designer bags.

What makes all this difference? You might for instance find two bags at very different price levels that are in fact very similar shapes and have similar purpose……but if you look carefully ….you will see that the “Designer” bags are made in quality fabrics, are sewn better and have beautiful bespoke branded trims that “dress up” the bags and make them feel far more ‘plush’.

So depending on the brand message, pricing and market positioning you want – when the bag is designed and made there are many small hardware branding details that you can build into the bag that can make all the difference to how the bag looks and feels so it can be made to stand out, be more desirable and raise it’s perceived value.

This level of attention to hardware branding detail does not mean that the prices have to be crazy – we just have to be very careful what we spend your money on when making bespoke hardware elements.

So if you work with a bespoke bag brand hardware design professional it will be a wise investment in your brand image, and value to the customer.

Lets look at some examples of branding and labelling that are typical in the market…..

Branding examples including Little Buddha Moschino C and S Gregory

What are the Branding Details?

Branding details all start with the logo which should capture the essence of your brand. (And lets be clear – a bad logo can really be a problem). So lets just list some ‘do’s and dont’s about logos!…

A good brand logo should be distinctive and memorable.

Example: A logo font that is NOT just typed into a computer – it should be original, have flourish and distinctive elements that can be registered, protected, and not look like any other brands.

Easy to make in a wide range of materials – from metal to plastic to embroideries.

Example: If a logo relies upon a range of shaded colours– this will NOT be good or easy to make on a textile item.

Note: If it is complicated with lots of very fine details it will be difficult to make in materials like metal and plastic.

The logo should ideally feature both the name AND a motif that can be extracted and used on it’s own.

A good example is NIKE – the typeface of NIKE is not so ‘unique’ but the Nike ‘Tick’ is a perfect motif. It’s memorable & simple. This tick can be used on it’s own apart from the NIKE word. So when designing a logo make sure the word and motif can be used separately.

Here below is a great example of how to build in hardware branding details into luggage. ( example of Samsonite bag.)

Bespoke Branding elements;

Typical branding elements and finishing details on a bag always start with the way the brand name is applied to the bag. On a bag – this is typically a Badge or a Label. This is the Branding Element to spend the most money on!

The second most common ‘touch point’ that you may aim for is a branded Zip puller.

If your bag does not use zips the next most common ‘touch point’ would be the main fastening on a bag.

But there are in fact many other ways that brands can add polish and finish to their bags, here are some examples.

  • Fabric. This is the first thing that will tell the customer the character and quality of the brand. Buy the best you can afford.
  • Webbing strap slider buckles. A simple slider buckle can be made with elements of your logo in it.
  • Snap fastenings. These can be made in custom shapes and can feature your Brand motif.
  • Decorative webbing straps. A webbing strap is often made in different widths and can be woven, printed or decorated and coloured in many different ways to stand out from the crowd.
  • Handles with decorative branding fastenings. The handles are one of the parts of a bag you will touch most often so make sure your handles have a branded fastening that (works reliably!) and is a delight.
  • Feet under the bag. You can build a brand motif even in this small place –it will make your bag look like every little detail has been ‘designed with care’.
  • Inside Owners label. You can add a label for the owner to add their name and contact details, and this can feature your brand message and logo.
  • All fastenings. You will often touch these – so making the fastenings distinctive in their function and finish with your logo will help reinforce your brand finish, from twist buckles to magnetic snaps! Also keep in mind fastenings can work in many ways (studs, clips, buckles etc etc) – so paying attention to all these details will make a big difference to how the end customer will judge the quality and desirability of your brand.
  • Printed or decorative linings.

Costs and Minimums.

Yes, the more you add bespoke branding details the more this will raise your costs – but if you are setting out to create a premium brand you should not skimp on the best possible bespoke branding details you can afford.

And yes, there will be minimum quantities – so consider making bespoke parts you can use on future designs as well as the bag(s) you launch the bag with.

The main costs of bespoke hardware will be A/. The design costs and B/. The mould costs to make each custom part. Just consider that these costs are more about your promotional budget than your product budget. Invest wisely now for the long term to make the best impression from the start.

Wear testing.

When making new bespoke hardware it’s important to check they are strong and durable. DO NOT SKIMP on testing the hardware – a simple broken zip puller can lead to the return of a whole bag so test the parts when they are first sampled carefully.

There are specialist agencies that can test hardware and fabrics to International standards, but I can tell you that once we wanted to make sure a zip was strong enough….so we stapled it to a block of wood by the office door. Every time for two weeks we went through that door we ran the zip back and forwards ten times! This way we made sure the zip was strong enough for production and it saved us testing fees!

Examples of Bespoke Hardware and Branding details by Design IQ.

Here below are some examples of a custom set of branding finishing details we created for a luxury brand – you will see that every single detail is unique – the shape of the parts, the way the branding is applied – every item is practical and functional but also has distinctive character.

Every item we designed and made can also be used across many bags and will be used on future products for this brand as well.

In conclusion:

When we design a bag we consider every aspect of the functionality, styling and finishing details of the bag so it captures the purpose and mission of the brand.

The purpose of this blog has been to highlight that this needs to include all the brand finishing elements on the bag.

We hope this blog that has covered asking questions about your brand values, and shown briefly how to communicate them in a practical way in your bag brand will help you add the best possible finishing details to your brand.

A footnote about the the logo again…! When a customer asks us to design their bags – they often arrange to design the logo themselves – so we offer a free of charge 20 minute review of their logo to help them make sure the logo can be used easily on the bags, it’s important to have a logo that will be practical and expressive, so we try to help our customers get it right – first time.

Bespoke Hardware and functional detailing Design.

Design IQ offer a bag brand hardware design service. If you want a designer to create bespoke brand detailing for a brand we are here to help – you do not have to ask us to design the bags if you don’t want us to. Please find out more about our bag hardware design service here.

Just get in touch, and we can give you some guides as to what we can do, how we can do it and roughly how much it might cost before you make any commitments.

Email: info@design-iq-ltd.com Telephone: 01531-640118. WhatsApp: 07785350538