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The Face of Your Brand: Product Label Design Tips to Help You Attract Customers

Jan Lehigh
Oct 30, 2015

With the vast quantity of products available today, getting consumers to notice your product is more important than ever. 

Studies have shown that 70 percent of purchase decisions are made in-store at the point of sale, so quality labels printed with eye-catching design are essential.

Whether you are launching a new product or just redesigning the look of the existing packaging, there are several points you should keep in mind. 

These tips will help you produce labels that not only meet the needs of your application but will also help you attract customers.

Related Article: How to Get Better Graphic Design Without Paying Top Dollar

Solidify Your Brand Identity

Your brand identity will provide a roadmap to all of your packaging and labeling. This includes not only the look of your logo but also what you want consumers to understand about your company and the specific product. Determining the message you want to communicate to your potential customers will help you select what content, both in text and imagery, should go on your label.

A good place to start is with your mission and values. How can you visually communicate those company ideals? If you sell comfort food, and you want your brand to be reminiscent of grandma’s cooking, your labels will have a very different feel from a health food brand focused on vitamins and health benefits. Keep your target market in mind, and come up with words and phrases that are relevant to that specific population.

Choose the Right Material

After you have your brand identity nailed down, it’s time to choose the material that will be the building blocks of your labels. In addition to what gets printed on each label, the physical appearance of the labels themselves will also have an impact on consumer perception. If the labels tear or smudge easily during shipping, your product’s image will be damaged.

If you are applying your labels to items like glass bottles or jars, paper labels can work well. You’ll need to choose a facestock, which is the surface that will receive the printing. Facestock comes in several different finishes including hi gloss, semi-gloss, and matte. Ask your printer for samples of facestock if you’re not sure what look you prefer. The type of facestock may also affect what you can print on the labels, such as metallic foil.

For extremely durable labels, films are a good choice for the facestock. Film material options include vinyl, BOPP (which stands for Biaxially Oriented Polypropylene), and polyester film, often called PET.

If you need labels for glass applications, such as oil change reminders on car windshields or labels on goggles or glasses, consider a static cling labels. These labels are made of vinyl and require no adhesive, making them very easy to remove.

Speaking of adhesive, if you’re not using static electricity with a static cling label, you’ll need to consider what type of adhesive will go under your label facestock. Adhesive comes in four main types: permanent, all temperature, removable, and repositionable. Both permanent and all temperature adhesives are very strong and designed not to be moved. If your label may come into contact with any food, make sure the adhesive is compliant with FDA 175.105, which covers Indirect Food Additives: Adhesives and Components of Coatings.

Carefully Select Colors

After choosing your facestock and adhesive, you can get down to designing what will be printed on your labels. Think carefully about what colors you choose to represent your product. In a study titled Impact of Color on Marketing, researchers found that anywhere from 62 percent all the way up to 90 percent of a consumer’s first impression of a product is based solely on color.

If you have many competitors in the same space, for instance, you could look at their logos and label design and decide that you may want your product to follow a completely different color scheme. This could potentially help your product stand out among a sea of similar products.

Different colors evoke different moods. Brown and green tones represent an earthy, organic feel while purple is often associated with royalty and quality. Blue is a universally pleasing color to both men and women. Read up on your color psychology and take these color associations into consideration as you draft label concepts.

One important point to keep in mind is your printer’s ability to print multiple colors, and whether you can use spot color or process color on your labels. Spot color sometimes referred to as solid color, is printed with one ink at a time. Spot colors are vibrant, but limited in scope. Process color is made up of four different ink colors: cyan, magenta, yellow, and black, known as CMYK. This method of printing uses tiny dots printed in each of the four colors to create images, as opposed to spot color.

Some label types and sizes will limit your ability to print colors, so check with your printer before you have your heart set on a design. They may also offer special printing options such as fluorescent inks, foils, embossing, and more.

Related Article: Top Free Resources for Creating Images and GIFs

Emphasize What Makes Your Product Different

Finally, as you begin to refine your label design, don’t forget to emphasize what’s different about your company. Does your founder have an amazing story? Do you donate a portion of your profits to a specific charity? Do you use only local ingredients? You get the idea.

Make it easy for customers to build emotional connection with your product. Tell them why they should like you, why you are different from your competitors, and what they can expect to get when they buy from you. Consider the challenges that your target market faces, and make it clear how you address those challenges or solve their problems.

Building an outstanding product label requires a deep understanding of your brand, your potential customers, and a little knowledge about facestock, ink, and adhesive. If you put the time into crafting your message and working with your label printing company to discover all the options available, your label will be an invaluable asset in selling your products.

Jan Lehigh
Jan Lehigh is the President of Alpine Packaging Inc. Alpine Packaging was established in 1972 and is owned and operated by sisters Jan Lehigh and Jill Grunst. Alpine Packaging is committed to providing high quality customized packaging, continuity in superior service, and customer satisfaction in an employee-friendly environment with the utmost integrity. Jan and the Alpine team know that custom printed labels will allow your product to stand out from the pack. Your label represents the “WOW” of your product, and the goal at Alpine is to deliver nothing less than labels offering the best first impression possible.