by Adam Peek, VP of Meyers Printing and host of People of Packaging podcast
The labels on your everyday items go way beyond stickers, logos, or any print material. On a formal definition, the label is the identification or description of a product. But its very concept is to grab the consumer’s attention with its novelty and make the product stand out from others.
True, labeling is the most direct way to communicate your product’s information, benefits, and visualization. But through labeling, you also expand your branding. No wonder many businesses become more creative in their labels.
To get ahead of the competition, consider the dos and don’ts of the process of product labeling:
· Consider your product’s target demographic.
Every item has its own target audience. Thus, knowing your target market can help you deliberate which design to apply, materials to use, and core values to represent.
· Include customer input in planning.
Accordingly, getting your customers involved in the design process can allow engagement to your product. As much as possible, ask for their feedback until the design suits their appeal.
· Be creative with striking stories.
The popular expression “A picture paints a thousand words” also applies to labels. They can evoke certain emotions or moods. Thus, include storytelling through texts and images.
· Never sacrifice functionality for aesthetics.
While there is nothing wrong with colorful labels, they sometimes distract from the core functionality of your products. Reflect on the very nature of your product first before the design.
· Stop being influenced by trends.
Trends can be a sound tactic for a short amount of time. But making it as the basis for your label not only dates it but also costs more.
On label design.
· Determine the appropriate color scheme.
Colors for your product label should fit with your brand and customer’s taste. Thus, be wise in choosing the color palette. When applying colors, design in CMYK, not RGB.
· Make text and images readable.
The texts and images present give your label an impression. Make sure to apply readable typography and select high-quality images that relate to your product.
· Stick to the product’s branding.
When designing, represent your business, as well as the product’s USP, through the labels. Make sure your logo and brand are noticeable but not bulky.
· Never overdesign your product labels.
Labels can express so much information at one glance. Thus, it is realistic to keep your design simple yet catchy. Never overstuff your label with tacky design and typography, and remember what restrictions to apply.
· Don’t choose inferior editing software.
While Photoshop and some Windows tools are helpful, they are not the only editing software at your disposal. Practically, you can also use Adobe Illustrator for designing labels.
On label’s content.
· Research about your product’s attributes.
Of course, before actually designing your product, you have to know what your product truly represents. But, for authenticity’s sake, list down your product’s attributes to make them selling points.
· Place the necessary product information.
This goes for the product information as well. After you include the product name, brand logo, and slogan, insert essential data like nutritional facts, ingredients, barcode, and standard retail price.
· Take note of regulations.
Certain labeling requirements are to follow, as mandated by law, depending on the product you are selling. This is clear on food and medicine, which require measurements to be indicated.
· Avoid text or information overload.
Information overload is a huge turn-off for customers. Words on any advertisement (from billboards to product labels) should be quick to read and easy to pick up. Thus, avoid wordiness.
· Remove false or vague claims.
Businesses are expected to be transparent and clear about their products, which should first reflect on the labeling. Avoid making fabricated or unclear claims. Otherwise, you will face backlash.
And on packaging.
· Take precise measurements of the container.
As you prepare for printing labels, make sure you get the exact dimensions of your product containers. Use them as a guide for your design and disseminate it to your printer.
· Ensure product content is protected.
Packaging may tamper with the quality of the product. Make sure your labels indicate how to safely open the packaging and always check your packaging’s safety standards.
· Consider shipping and logistics always.
At a time when e-commerce and online deliveries are rampant, it is vital to make sure your packaging preserves your products in their best condition.
· Take note of packaging materials.
Whether or not you are designing for a client, take note of the packaging materials that will be used so and if they will fit your preferred label printing method.
· Avoid using excessive packaging waste.
For customers, it can be a hassle to see more packaging on their hands than the product itself. Regardless if your products require a level of preservation or not, avoid bulky packaging.
Crafting the perfect label for your product can be a grueling task. But if you fully understand the nature and image of your business and listen to your loyal customers’ side, the rest will follow.
Labeling is another strategic marketing tactic. And in a competitive market, having your product label stand out will draw more customers and attention. So, be creative, persuasive, and attentive to the eyes that will see the next big thing.
Adam Peek is a VP at Meyers Printing as well as host of the People of Packaging podcast. His passion for changing the world has also led him to be a sustainability consultant, sales trainer, global keynote speaker/preacher, soon-to-be children’s book author… and a part-time rapper.