several product packages with labels in a staggered line.

Powerful Tips To Improve Your Custom Label Design & Make An Impact

When it comes to product packaging, good label design can be as important as the product itself. Afterall, your labels don’t just need to conform to regulatory guidelines; they also need to get the attention of customers and deliver the information needed to make an informed purchase decision. 

In the long run, these tips will help you design custom labels that improve visibility and make the product easier to use. 

What Are Your Customers Looking For? 

If you want to appeal to your customers, you should start by asking what they’re looking for. 

Understanding specific buyer demographics helps to create appealing label design, because font choice, colors and graphics can suggest the item’s place in the market. 

Keep in mind that no matter what, the most important factors that customers use when choosing a product should be front and center. Is it all-natural? Fast-acting? We buy things to solve problems, so your product’s main purpose should provide a solution. 

What do your customers dislike about competitors? Sometimes, your customers are looking to avoid something, like allergens, chemicals or extra packaging. So, highlighting your product’s exceptional qualities ultimately attracts those customers, as well. 

Choosing The Right Product Label Design, Material & Layout

When it comes to the label itself, you have many choices that influence the overall design and layout. 

Label Sizing

Do you want to use a standard label size to cut costs, or is it worth using an unusual size to help your product stand out? Along with that, how much information do you need to display on your label?

The amount of information required on a label varies depending on the type of product. Pharmaceuticals require drug facts, contact information, instructions, warnings, active ingredients, inactive ingredients and more per FDA guidelines. Packaging for a puzzle, however, requires little more than a name, the number of pieces and manufacturer information. 

Number Of Labels Per Product

How many labels do you want to use on your product? Sometimes, using fewer labels can maximize space and reduce complexity. A single label can cover most of a round container, while a corner wrap labeler can apply a single label that covers more than one side. 

Other times, multiple labels increase available space for branding and give your containers more visible appeal. Adding a neck label on bottles increases total label space, and gives you an area to add customer-grabbing information separate from the main label. 

Matching Label Design

Your label design can work in tandem with product packaging to improve presentation. For example. by pairing clear or translucent bottles with clear labels, consumers can see what’s inside, and you can use the product color as a design element

Using The Right Label Material

Label material is also extremely important depending on where your product will be located. For example, if your product is a bottle and will likely be in a cold environment, moisture-resistant labels help prevent wrinkle or peel off.

Similarly, coatings like matte laminate are available to protect against friction, and labels that accept ink are necessary for items that need to include expiration dates and other pieces of information.

Considerations For Designing A Clear, Effective Product Label 

Much like the technical makeup of the label itself, it’s important to take into account several factors from a label designer’s perspective. 

Consistent Graphic Design Elements

Graphic design elements help you tie different offerings in the same product line together for a consistent brand identity, because simple things like color and graphics make it easy to associate different products. For example, standard label templates are often used for food lines, changing color schemes or food-related graphics to match the flavor. 

The Product’s Display Location

How will your product be displayed? An example of a situation to consider would be if you produced cans or bottles that get placed in a cooler, the bottom half of the product is often obscured by the cooler’s rack. As such, placing important information on the top half of the product makes branding and information visible to the consumer. 

Simplify Your Label Design & Prevent Overcrowding

Is your product label design clean and simple? 

Crowding the face label with design elements can impair a product’s readability. So, reducing information and pairing design elements down to a single typeface (or font) and simple graphics on the front-facing label makes it easier for consumers to identify your product. 

Are you using clear, concise language? Don’t let confusion affect your customers’ buying decisions and potentially cause them to skip your product entirely.

To reduce common points of confusion, like sell by dates, the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) created guidelines that split labels into “sell by,” “use by” and “best if used by” dates. (Kroger took this a step further, eliminating “sell by” dates on their private label products. By using only “use by” and “best if used by” date stickers, customers are less likely to be confused.)  

Technical Details To Consider When Designing Your Labels 

During the label’s design process, there are several technical aspects that a graphic designer should be considering when conceptualizing the label.

Label Positioning

Slight shifts in printing position can result in labels that cut off information and leave areas unprinted, turning your perfect product label into a mess. Margins add an area of space between the edges of the label and any text or graphics used in your design. That way, any slight shifts in label printing won’t cut off information. 

1/8 inch margins are standard for most labels. For those that don’t want white space on the perimeter of the label, bleeds extend the graphics past the edges of the label, ensuring the print delivers full coverage. By extending the ink onto the backing, misalignment won’t leave white spaces at the edges of the label, ensuring a clean packaging design

Color Space

Color space is an important consideration when fine-tuning your label design. Graphics made for TV and computer screens use a mix of red, green and blue, known as “RGB.” This is an additive process that starts with black (the color of a screen when it’s turned off).

Printing uses cyan, magenta, yellow and key (black) known as “CMYK.” This is a subtractive process that starts with white, the color of blank paper. Add all three colors together in equal amounts, and you get black. 

Since monitors use RGB and printers use CMYK, the final results won’t match exactly to what you see on your screen. The only way to verify the look of your design is with a printed proof.  

Getting Labels On Your Packaging 

No matter what you manufacture, CTM Labeling has a solution to fit label application seamlessly into your production process. 

Are you looking for ways to get your round containers to stand out? Our vertical trunnion roller labeling system can be set up to apply as many as 5 labels per package, including wrap labels, tamper-evident labels, neck labels and front and back labels. 

If you have rectangular containers and need to print editable pieces of information (barcodes, expiration dates, serial numbers, etc.) to your labels, consider our 3600a-PA product line. This unit is available as a straight tamp, dual action tamp, or corner wrap to ensure you are able to apply labels to either single or multiple panels. Even more, the applicator can reach past the edge of containers, placing the label exactly where it needs to be. 

CTM doesn’t just make large, high-speed machines, though. In fact, our tabletop wrap labeler is an ideal solution for small businesses or small product runs using small cylindrical containers, including medicines and cosmetics. 

This semi-automatic machine has an infeed magazine that holds the product as the machine is loaded. A star wheel picks up the containers, carries them to the labeler, and then drops them into a chute, where they roll into a box or hopper. 

Get The Consistent Application You Need for Product Labels 

If you want an affordable, consistent way to apply labels to your products, talk to the helpful experts at CTM Labeling Systems. Our local distributors will set up a labeling system that delivers the consistency and speed you need, and we can build personalized systems to fit your production system, no matter your company’s output or the types of containers used.