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Updated Jun 26, 2024

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

Learn how to create product labels that will attract new customers and grow your business.

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Julie Thompson, Senior Writer & Expert on Business Operations
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With so many products available today, attracting consumers’ attention is more challenging than ever. How do you get your product to stand out when there are millions of others to choose from?

While there is no one-size-fits-all solution to this dilemma, your company’s logos and product label design are excellent places to start when seeking ways to differentiate your offerings from the competition. We’ll share product label design tips to help you appeal to customers better and take advantage of the visible experience elements of shopping. 

Product label design tips to attract customers

The right product packaging and design increases the odds of consumers stopping to examine your offerings. An experienced designer considers a brand’s target audience, branding colors and fonts and materials to create a product label that truly stands out. 

However, not every business has the budget for a designer. Fortunately, straightforward tips and best practices can boost any organization’s product packaging appeal. Consider the following ways to improve your product label design and help differentiate your product from the competition

1. Solidify your brand identity to inform your product label design.

Your brand identity provides a roadmap to all future product packaging and labeling. Deciding on the message you want to communicate to potential customers about your brand will help you determine what content should go on your label. 

Your company’s mission and values are excellent places to start when firming up your brand identity. What does your brand represent? How can you visually communicate your company’s 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 than those of a health food company focused on vitamins and vitality. 

TipBottom line
When writing your company mission statement, craft a concise yet compelling message that explains the opportunities and needs your company addresses, how you will fulfill those needs and what unique value you'll provide your customers.

2. Know your target audience before designing product labels.

You want to design your product labels with your target audience in mind because understanding and acting on their preferences can boost sales and customer engagement levels. Before beginning the product label design process, conduct thorough market research to determine, among other things, your target audience’s preferred aesthetics. Here are two effective tactics to gain insights into product label design preferences:

  • Focus groups: Focus groups are an excellent way to learn more about your target market. They allow you to interact with your audience and ask follow-up questions. Group settings also allow participants to build on each other’s responses; these meetings often stimulate discussions that wouldn’t have happened otherwise. 
  • Customer surveys: You can gain valuable customer feedback from email or short message service customer surveys. Encourage your audience to share their thoughts on the types of product labels they prefer. 
  • Competitor research: You can also conduct competitor research to determine which design trends have benefitted other companies in your industry. 

3. Choose the right material for your product label.

After firming up your brand image, it’s time to choose your label’s material. Your label’s physical attributes are just as important as the message you want to convey and can impact consumer perceptions significantly. For example, if your labels tear or smudge easily during shipping, your product’s image and brand reputation will suffer. 

When deciding on label material, you’ll need to choose a type of “facestock.” Your product image will be on one side of the facestock and some form of adhesive will be on the other. 

Facestock is typically either paper-based or film-based: 

  • Paper: Numerous types of paper-based facestock exist in several finishes, including high gloss, semi-gloss 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 affect what you can print on the labels. For example, if you want a metallic foil label, you’ll need a specific type of facestock. Paper labels are a common option and work well when packaging glass bottles or jars.
  • Film: Films are a good facestock choice if you need extremely durable labels. Film material options include vinyl, biaxially oriented polypropylene and polyester film. Vinyl materials are often used in static-cling labels — excellent options if you need labels for glass applications, such as oil change reminders on car windshields or labels on goggles and glasses. Because there’s no actual adhesive, they’re easy to remove.

If a static-cling label isn’t an option for your product, you must consider what type of adhesive will go under your label facestock. There are four primary adhesive types: 

  • Permanent
  • All temperature
  • Removable 
  • Repositionable

Permanent and all-temperature adhesives are robust and designed not to move. 

FYIDid you know
If your label may come into contact with any food, ensure it complies with United States Food and Drug Administration code 175.105 — "Indirect Food Additives: Adhesives and Components of Coatings."

4. Select product label colors carefully.

Beyond the physical attributes of your label, you must design it thoughtfully and choose colors that best represent your product. If your brand has specific colors associated with it, you’ll likely match that aesthetic on your product labels to maintain consistency and a cohesive brand image. If you’re starting from scratch or have no particular palette established, consider reviewing your competitors’ labels and evaluate ways to use color to differentiate your products from a sea of similar offerings. 

Most people are aware that different colors evoke various moods. For example, brown and green tones represent an earthy, organic feel, while purple is often associated with royalty and quality. Blue is considered a universally appealing color. Consider how color psychology may affect your product label palette choices. 

Your printer is an essential partner when choosing colors for your product labels. Ask your printer about its resources and ability to print multiple colors using spot or process color on your labels:

  • Spot color: Spot color, sometimes referred to as solid color, is printed with one ink at a time. It is vibrant but limited in scope. 
  • Process color: 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 your design. Your printer may also offer unique printing options, such as fluorescent inks, foils or embossing.

5. Use your labels to emphasize what makes your product different.

As you refine your label design, find a way to emphasize how your company differs from the competition. For example, does your founder have a compelling backstory? Does your business support a charity? Do you use only local ingredients? 

Your packaging is an opportunity to connect with customers emotionally. In the label information, tell them why they should like you, how you differ from your competitors and what they can expect when they buy from you. 

Consider your target market’s challenges and make it clear in the product label text how your company addresses those pain points or solves their problems.

6. Demonstrate sustainable business practices on your product labels.

Today’s consumers want to support organizations that prioritize sustainable business practices, including eco-friendly product packaging. Green-based packaging helps remove toxic products from the environment, such as plastic shopping bags and straws. Companies that embrace this trend enjoy the numerous benefits of sustainability without massive investments of time and money. 

Consider using lighter materials, recycled materials, flat packing products and biodegradable packaging. These options often reduce shipping costs, use fewer transportation services and allow more goods to be placed on shelf space.

Ensure your product labels proudly showcase your company’s eco-friendly efforts. Your customers will be impressed that you champion transparency and sustainability. 

Did You Know?Did you know
Using green marketing initiatives to spotlight your eco-friendly packaging and other sustainable business practices can boost consumer interest and trust.

7. Be clear and specific on your product labels. 

While your product labels should incorporate high-quality images and pleasing aesthetics, they have a specific purpose — presenting and introducing your products to consumers. For this reason, it’s crucial to prioritize clarity and transparency in your labels.

Don’t make your customers guess what your product is or what it can do. A product label should provide critical details about the offering so consumers can conclude whether it will meet their needs easily. This information can include ingredients, instructions, storage requirements and sizing. Additionally, the information presented on your labels should be legible and concise — an impactful message can be lost in a crowded or unreadable space. 

8. Focus on brand consistency in your product label design.

While many factors will influence your product labels, it’s crucial to evaluate your final design with brand consistency in mind. Brand consistency is a valuable business tool for driving long-term growth and recognition. It involves delivering a reliable brand experience whenever a customer interacts with your products, including their labels. A consistent brand identity builds consumer trust and improves your business’s long-term profitability. 

Adhering to your brand’s guidelines, including applicable color palettes, logo variations and fonts, can help you build brand consistency in your product label design. Your labels should also reflect your company’s voice and style and warmly introduce new customers or welcome returning ones. 

TipBottom line
Create brand-specific templates for your company's social media posts and email newsletter backgrounds so you can quickly create on-brand assets your audience will recognize and embrace.

Why your product label design matters

Companies eager to launch products or save money may overlook brand packaging best practices. However, this is a crucial mistake that can hurt their bottom line. Well-executed product labels can help you sustain and grow customer relationships, elevate your brand and secure your product in consumers’ visual minds. 

Here are the top reasons why your product label design and overall packaging quality matter:

  • Product label design helps you make a great first impression: Consumers will see your product before touching it. They may be in a brick-and-mortar store and see it on the shelf or they may unbox it during a home delivery. These initial moments are crucial because they’ll form an instant reaction to the product’s appearance. You want your product to make a powerful first impression, not be forgettable. 
  • Product label design can give you a competitive edge: In crowded marketplaces, a standout product package will grab attention. If your product label is visually appealing and practical and informs the consumer of your company’s background, passion and quality, you’ll set yourself apart from the competition.
  • Product label design enhances brand awareness: A cohesive product label design speaks to the quality of your business. Consumers remember compelling product labels and truly unique packaging can even go viral on social media, creating valuable buzz.
  • Product labels make solutions clear to consumers: Consumers buy products to solve a problem. For example, they purchase drain cleaner when they have a clogged sink and copy paper when they must print documents. Stating your product’s purpose clearly can help consumers make a split-second purchasing decision.
  • Product labels help you comply with laws: Depending on the product, federal or state laws may require that specific information be included on your label. While this primarily pertains to pharmaceutical items and food, ingredient lists, health risks, hazards and usage instructions keep companies accountable for customer safety. Ensuring your label complies with relevant legal stipulations can reduce your product liability risk and build trust with your customers.
  • Product packaging protects your offerings: Protecting your product from damage is critical whether you’re fulfilling an e-commerce order, shipping a bulk order wholesale or using shelf space in a physical location. Product packaging that can withstand your product’s weight, protect against tampering and moisture, eliminate sharp edges and accommodate multiple pieces will boost viability and lessen the likelihood of damage.
  • Product labels can help you track items and stay organized: Stock keeping unit and batch or lot numbers provide products’ real-time locations and quantities. Marking products with these identifying numbers helps you track them in your warehouse and during shipping and will facilitate recalls. 
  • Product labels identify your products: Serial numbers, lot numbers and hard-to-replicate label details like watermarks, custom die-cuts, metallics, embossing and holographics accurately identify your genuine products. Registered trademarks and logos give your products a professional look and legal leverage if anyone tries to unlawfully replicate your brand offerings.

Jamie Johnson contributed to this article.

author image
Julie Thompson, Senior Writer & Expert on Business Operations
With nearly two decades of experience under her belt, Julie Thompson is a seasoned B2B professional dedicated to enhancing business performance through strategic sales, marketing and operational initiatives. Her extensive portfolio boasts achievements in crafting brand standards, devising innovative marketing strategies, driving successful email campaigns and orchestrating impactful media outreach. Thompson's proficiency extends to Salesforce administration, database management and lead generation, reflecting her versatile skill set and hands-on approach to business enhancement. Through easily digestible guides, she demystifies complex topics such as SaaS technology, finance trends, HR practices and effective marketing and branding strategies. Moreover, Thompson's commitment to fostering global entrepreneurship is evident through her contributions to Kiva, an organization dedicated to supporting small businesses in underserved communities worldwide.
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