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

Julie Thompson
Julie Thompson
business.com Contributing Writer
Updated Sep 21, 2022

Your product's logo can give you a competitive edge.

With the vast quantity of products available today, attracting consumers’ attention is increasingly challenging. You may be wondering how to get your product sold among shoppers just glancing at your item.

That’s why logos and product label design are critical. Shopping is often a visual experience, so as you package your product, there are essential aesthetic components to keep in mind.

Product label design tips to attract customers

Getting a consumer to stop and look at your product is achieved by implementing the right packaging design. That means you can’t just slap a haphazard label on your item and call it a day. On the contrary, you may even want to partner with an experienced designer who is deeply familiar with artistic appeal for your niche. 

This design expert can take company data – such as your target audience, branding colors and fonts, competitor analysis and sustainable materials – to create a genuine double-take label. Follow these tips to boost sales with attractive labeling whether you seek outside help or go it alone.

1. Solidify your brand identity.

Your brand identity should provide a roadmap to all of your packaging and labeling. Determining the message you want to communicate to potential customers about your brand will help you determine what content should go on your label, both in terms of text and imagery. An excellent place to start is with your mission and values. What does your brand represent? How can you visually communicate your company ideals? 

For example, if you sell comfort food and want your products to stir up memories of Grandma’s cooking, your branding may be family oriented and rustic. Your labels will have a very different look and feel from, say, a health food company focused on vitamins and vitality. 

Your brand identity also needs to represent not only your business, but your target customer. Do audience research to find out the wording and aesthetics favored by your principal demographic. That market information should show up in your packaging. 

2. Choose the right material.

After you have your brand image nailed down, it’s time to choose the material that will be the building blocks of your label. In addition to what gets printed on each label, its physical appearance will impact consumer perception. For instance, if the labels tear or smudge easily during shipping, your product’s image will be damaged – and possibly your brand reputation too.

If you’re packaging glass bottles or jars, paper labels can work well. You’ll need to choose a type of facestock, the surface on which your logo information will be printed. Facestock comes in several finishes, including high gloss, semigloss and matte. Ask your printer for samples of each if you’re not sure what look you prefer. The type of facestock you select 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, biaxially oriented polypropylene (BOPP) and polyester film – often called PET. Consider static-cling labels if you need labels for glass applications, such as oil change reminders on car windshields or labels on goggles and glasses. These labels are vinyl and require no adhesive, making them easy to remove.

Speaking of adhesive, if you’re not going 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 robust and designed not to move. If your label could come into contact with any food, make sure the adhesive is compliant with FDA code 175.105 – “Indirect Food Additives: Adhesives and Components of Coatings.”

3. Select colors carefully.

After choosing your facestock and adhesive, it’s time to design what prints on your labels. Carefully choose which colors represent your product. If you have many competitors in the same space, you could look at their logos and label design and see if your product should follow a completely different color scheme. That could help your product stand out among a sea of similar offerings.

Be aware: Different colors evoke certain moods. For example, brown and green tones represent an earthy, organic feel; while purple is often associated with royalty and quality. Blue is universally a pleasing color to both men and women. To make your brand memorable, read up on color psychology.

FYIFYI: Color is a pivotal factor in purchasing behavior. When consumers see product packaging, it induces an instant emotional response. That feeling can be positive or negative, even if the consumer has no prior knowledge of the product.

One vital point to keep in mind is your printer’s ability to print multiple colors using 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 comprises four different ink colors: cyan, magenta, yellow and key (black) – known as CMYK. This printing method uses tiny dots printed in each of the four colors to create images.

Some label types and sizes will limit your ability to print colors, so check with your printer before finalizing design. They may also offer unique printing options, such as fluorescent inks, foils or embossing.

4. Emphasize what makes your product different.

As you refine your label design, don’t forget to emphasize what’s different about your company: Does your founder have an amazing backstory? Does your business support a specific charity? Do you use only local ingredients? You get the idea.

Make it easy for customers to build an emotional connection with your product through your packaging. Tell them in the label information why they should like you, why you are different from your competitors and what they can expect to get when they buy from you. Then, consider the challenges your target market faces, and make it clear in the text how you address those challenges or solve their problems. Your label can be an invaluable asset if you put the time into crafting the right message.

5. Embrace sustainable products.

Consumers today are shifting toward supporting businesses that invest in going green. Companies should welcome this, as there are many benefits to being sustainable, and it may not cost a lot of extra time and money to make eco-friendly packaging.

Green-based packaging helps remove toxic products, like plastic shopping bags and straws. Consider using a lighter-weight material, flat packing products and biodegradable packaging. These options often reduce shipping costs, use fewer transportation services and place more goods on shelf space.

Did you know?Did you know? According to a recent Deloitte survey, the biggest concern among Generation Z is climate change and protecting the environment – topping unemployment.

Why your product label design matters

Brand packaging can be easily overlooked by a company that wants to launch a product quickly or doesn’t want to bother with designers or custom production costs. However, failing to take these extra steps can hurt your bottom line. Well-executed product labels can help you deepen the emotional relationship with your customers, elevate your brand and secure your product in the visual minds of consumers.

Here are the top reasons your packaging matters.

First impression

Consumers visually see your product before they physically touch it. They may be in a brick-and-mortar store and see it on the shelf or unbox it during a home delivery. These initial moments are crucial because the person is forming an instant reaction to the product’s appearance. You don’t want to offer a product with a forgettable first impression.

Competitive edge

In crowded marketplaces, a standout product will grab attention through its aesthetics. If your product label is visually appealing, practical and informs the consumer of your company’s background, passion and quality, you’ll set yourself apart from the dull, dry competition. 

Brand awareness

A cohesive design speaks to the quality of your business. Beautiful product labels are remembered by consumers, and really unique packaging can go viral on social media. This has the effect of increasing consumer knowledge of your brand. [Get the most out of word-of-mouth marketing using design tools like Canva.]

Consumer solutions

Consumers buy products to solve a problem. For example, they purchase drain cleaner when they have a clogged sink and copy paper when they need to print documents. Clearly stating on your label the issue it solves can help consumers make a split-second purchasing decision.

TipTip: Don’t make your customers guess what your product is or what it can do. A product label should provide key details so it’s easy to conclude whether it will meet the consumer’s needs. This information can include ingredients, instructions, storage requirements and sizing.

Law-abiding labels

Depending on the product, there can be information that federal laws require to be included on your label. While this mainly pertains to pharmaceutical items and food, a list of ingredients, health risks, hazards or instructions for use is intended to keep companies accountable for customer safety. Ensuring your label is in line with any relevant legal stipulations can reduce your product liability risk.

Product protection

Protecting your product from damage should be a priority whether you’re fulfilling an e-commerce offering, shipping a bulk order wholesale or have shelf space in a physical location. Product packaging that can withstand the weight of your product, protect against tampering and address moisture, sharp edges and multiple pieces will boost viability and lessen the likelihood of damages.

Tracking information

Product labels can help keep you organized, as SKU and batch/lot numbers provide the real-time location and quantity of the product in stock. Marking products with these identifying numbers helps you track products in your warehouse and customer orders in the event of a recall.

Unique design

Serial numbers, lot numbers and hard-to-replicate label details – such as watermarks, custom die-cuts, metallics, embossing and holographics – accurately identifies your genuine products. Registered logos and trademarks have a professional look for the consumer while giving you legal leverage if anyone tries to unlawfully replicate your brand or product.

Jan Lehigh contributed to the writing and reporting in this article. 

Julie Thompson
Julie Thompson
business.com Contributing Writer
Julie Thompson is a professional content writer who has worked with a diverse group of professional clients, including online agencies, tech startups and global entrepreneurs. Julie has also written articles covering current business trends, compliance, and finance.