They say you can’t judge a book by its cover, but business owners know: customers certainly judge a product by its label!
It turns out customers often buy a product simply based on the outside packaging. In fact, in a study of beer drinkers, almost none of them could identify a brew without the label. Consumers often buy simply because they like the look of a label or sticker.
Your product label needs to be eye-catching. It needs to grab your customer, convey a message, stand out, and effectively get noticed. That’s a lot of work for a simple label! Yet, we see examples of effective, beautiful labeling every day, with almost any product we handle.
So if you’re wondering how to design a label that gets noticed, there are a few basic graphic design elements to understand. Here’s what you need to know to ensure your product label conveys exactly the message you want customers to receive!
1. Shape (Including Label Size & Cut)
The shape of label helps to draw in customers’ attention. You should select a shape to complement your packaging, but you aren’t limited to shaping to fit just one product—using variable printing, you can ensure one label design will work across several different items. With a few simple changes to the product style name and UPC (for more on obtaining a UPC visit GS1US.org), a similar label design and shape will make your entire line appear cohesive.
Design your label with the product packaging in mind—how much of the product do you want to show through? Size, shape and cut play an important role in helping your product stand out.
Bold colors grab your customer’s attention with a splash. Color graphics and photos are an important addition when you want your label to pop. Follow your company’s branding guidelines of course. Full-color (also known as process or CMYK printing) will ensure you’re able to match your brand PMS (Pantone) colors exactly on your label.
Your base label color is also important—choosing a clear, white, cream or even foil background will have a huge impact on the look and feel of your label. It will also change the way the colors appear on the final product. Basic color psychology teaches us neutral, calm colors convey peace, luxury and comfort. Bright, crisp colors on the other hand, keep your product looking modern and fresh.
Much of what we remember about a label comes from the style and design (it’s also much of what can go wrong when you design a label). The design of a label makes appear memorable and distinctive. Of course, you’ll want to include your logo, but you also need to include important product details, measurements, instructions and other important pieces of information (including the UPC barcode).
Font plays into the style of your label as well. Serif fonts convey your brand is classic, stalwart and trust-worthy. Sanserif fonts are often used to convey a brand that’s sleek, modern and hip. Using typography parings will also catch consumers’ eyes, but limit yourself to no more than three fonts to avoid looking too busy. Striking, bold images and graphics will help you maximize your message, but don’t shy away from using whitespace as well.
Your label finish is the final touch to packaging a great product. Use touches like metallics, foils and embossing for extra special labels where your design will appear to leap right off the package. Matte or glossy finishes are available for almost any label.
UV curing will add a layer of protection to keep your label from smearing, fading or getting damaged. Laminations help resist moisture and stand up to harsh environments. Label protectants are available to help your label hold up anywhere your product goes—from the microwave to a garage to the outdoors.
Knowing how to design a label and choosing the right label for your product is a big job—we can help! If you have custom printing label needs, T&L offers great label solutions for any product.