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How to make kick ass product labels

Posted by Sticker Mule on

How do you design branded product labels and stickers? Your product isn’t just any old product, and your label shouldn’t be a boring, old sticker.

Whether you’re figuring out how to personalize a water bottle yourself or you want a simple roll of circular stickers with only your logo, you can make it happen on Sticker Mule.

Are you ready to make your own product labels? Let us walk you through what makes a kick ass product label step-by-step.

Why custom product labels are amazing

What does it matter what label goes on your packaging? Isn’t the product inside enough to win over customers?

Custom product labels are your customers’ first interaction with your best-idea-turned-amazing-product. The label — and the packaging — is the very first thing they see. First impressions are important, so your label needs to make a good one.

Your product labels help your good ideas stand out from the crowd whether you have retail stockists or you sell direct-to-consumer. The right label helps your product stand out on the shelf: it grabs consumers’ attention and differentiates your items from the other merchandise.

Product labels elicit feelings in customers that they identify with again and again whenever they see and purchase your product. You can harness the power of good design to take your customers on a journey that begins with the first visual experience and repeats itself over and over again as your first-time customers become brand allies.

Labels do more than show your best face to the world. They also make you dependable and accountable. For example, food product labels contain ingredients lists and regulatory information (where applicable). You can also add contact information, including social media links.

When you add all this information, your label says, “Hi, it’s nice to meet you. Let’s be friends, here’s how!”

What goes into designing a kick-ass product label

What makes a product label say “pick me”? It’s all about the core elements of design.

Distinguish yourself from the competition

The first rule of making amazing product labels is this: make it yours. You don’t have a product like anyone else’s, so you don’t want their labels either.

Get out of the office and take a look at what the competition is doing to avoid any designs that look too close in nature. You can switch it up by choosing a different shape or size, and of course, using your own artwork and brand messaging.

Use visual hierarchy to grab attention

What’s the first thing your buyers will see when they encounter your packaging? You’re in control of where their eye goes, and you can use the principles of visual hierarchy to control the delivery of your brand experience.

The concept of visual hierarchy includes a list of building blocks including but not limited to:

  • Size
  • Scale
  • Color
  • Alignment
  • Contrast
  • Proximity
  • Whitespace
  • Texture
  • Typeface
  • Style

To pin those building blocks down, Adobe says you should:

  • Adjust the size and scale based on what you want the reader to focus on
  • Play with color, contrast, and whitespace to help the most important elements stand out
  • Use alignment and proximity to generate depth and lift important features off the page
  • Select the right typefaces and style to prioritize content

It’s up to you to use these blocks to create something special.

If you’re new to the concept of visual hierarchy, you can find a great primer from the Interaction Design Foundation.

Match the label with the product inside

What would your customer expect to find inside your packaging? Your product, of course. But what kind of experience do they expect? Guide them from the outset by matching your custom product label with the spirit of the product.

What do we mean? We can boil it down like this: if you have a simple, down-to-earth product, use a simple label. If you have a luxurious product, use a luxe label. Does your product feature dull colors? Use a muted color scheme. Got a loud, colorful product? Grab an equally lively label.

It sounds strange, but your labels set expectations. You want your product to match them to create a sense of continuity for your customers.

Make sure the design translates across other shapes and sizes (optional)

Branding requires consistency, so you want the label you painstakingly workshopped to translate across other shapes in sizes — or at least make sure the key elements do. You want any custom promotional products, like bottles, to match your packaging and vice versa.

The best designs are those that you can alter slightly to translate them to other shapes or sizes. Whether you have an oval or a square sticker, your customers should always be able to recognize it as yours!

How to make your own product labels

Are you ready to make a product label guaranteed to surprise and delight? Let us walk you through the steps. Here we go!

Step 1: Choose your shape

Custom labels come in a range of shapes and sizes. Your first step is to choose the right shape. Naturally, your shape should complement your packaging or product shape and provide enough room for your images and any information your label must contain.

Here’s a short guide to narrowing down the right shape.

  • Rectangle labels work best on elongated containers or when you want to use your label as a seal. You’ll also want a rectangle label if you need it to wrap around the body.
  • Square labels work well for providing lots of information, including pricing labels. A square offers a more modern look and works best on containers with a distinct front and back (e.g., boxes, square tins, and bags).
  • Round labels fit perfectly on round packages and containers. You’ll choose a round label if you want it to appear on a curved lid. They also work well as packaging seals (such as on packing paper or on bags). Choose round labels for promos.
  • Oval labels provide minimal coverage and work well for short bottles or jars. These shapes work well with minimalist designs that don’t need much space to look good (e.g., simple logos and not much text).
  • Arched labels provide a unique look that’s perfect for creating a vertical-focused. If you want to know how to make your own personalized wine bottle labels, these are a great place to start. They’re often used on wine and beer bottles, but you can also apply them to lotions and other personal care products, particularly those in pump bottles.

Step 2: Guesstimate your size

How do you choose the perfect size for your product label?

Put your rulers away because the process starts with a hunch and a rough measurement of your container or packaging. When your label is ready, it should fit all the relevant information and allow your artwork to jump off the print. The text and font should be legible, and the images should be easily recognizable. The label should also complement the vessel: it should be proportionate to the product or packaging. (Is that a tiny label, or just a really big box?)

So how big should your product label be? It’s all up to you, your design, and what needs to go on the label.

Sticker Mule provides a helpful range of popular sizes plus the opportunity to create your own custom size. You don’t necessarily need to know what you want down to the centimeter. We’ll determine your exact size during proofing.

Step 3: Upload your artwork

With your shape and size ready to go, it’s time to give us the goods. Whether you have a graphic that’s ready to go or you use Sticker Mule’s design tools, you can upload your artwork through the Stick Mule label creator or email us your artwork if that’s easiest.

Once we have the art, Sticker Mule will translate your design into a kick ass custom product label. And in a few hours when it’s ready, you’ll get a proofed version in your inbox.

Step 4: Final proofread

You have a brand spanking new sticker in your inbox! Before we go to print, we want to make sure you’re completely happy.

So, take another gander at your label. Does the design look the way you imagined with the shape and size? Print off the proof and stick it on your packaging to get a real feel for the way it fits on your product.

Not happy with something? Send it back with your notes. You can request changes to each proof for free until you’re happy.

Finally, before you hit approve, do a final proof-read and double-check all the details, including:

  • Product name
  • Net weight
  • Contact info
  • Ingredients
  • Instructions

No one wants a roll of custom product labels with a critical typo!

Win hearts and minds with kick ass custom product labels

Your product labels aren’t just stickers. They’re your superpower, and they should be as cool and exciting as your product.

Custom product labels give you the power to grab your customer’s interest and inspire them. Product labels also contain all the essential information needed for consumers to make an educated purchase.

Anyone can make your own kick ass product labels, and Sticker Mule can help.

Are you ready to print your first roll of kick ass custom labels? We offer custom samples, so you can test your labels before placing your order. Try your hand at designing your first stickers now.

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