Designing a New Product Label

by | November 14, 2013

Commercial design presents a number of challenges to any first-time designer. Even experienced designers are likely to feel intimidated by such a project. A product label has to engage a viewer instantly and tell them everything they need to know about a product at a glance. Labels ought to capture the essence of a product and give some sense of the company that made it. A good label inspires trust and a desire to try to the product. With all this to consider it is no wonder that people struggle to create new product labels.

Basic design tools

Before you turn on the printer you should go back to basics. You will need a few fundamental design tools, including:

  • A good pen or pencil
  • A set of colored pencils
  • Kneaded eraser
  • Sketchbook
  • Notepad

Getting started

First write down a few key words that come to mind first when you think about your product. These do not have to be highly specific. Words such as healthy, happy, energetic, calming, sensual, mysterious, and modern can be used to guide the subsequent design choices you make. Select no more than three words to get you started. Picking too many will make it hard to focus the final design.

Next you should look at some examples of successful designs. While you should not copy someone else's design you can look for inspiration from a selection of product labels that you find effective. If you were making labels for a line of soap then you might look at examples of existing soap labels, especially labels that you personally like. What about the design do you think makes those labels appealing? Do not feel limited to just looking at soap labels. Look at shampoo, bath gel, and other personal grooming products. You will start to see certain commonalities, such as particular colors that are frequently used. White and other pale colors tend to dominate in personal care product packaging because of the association that these colors have with cleanliness.

Creating your design

Now you can use your colored pencils and sketchbook to create a few sample layouts. Play around with image placement and text size until you come up with a layout that you really like. From there you can use your favorite graphic design software.

You might need to take pictures to add to your label. If so, make sure you use a good quality digital camera and then import those images into your editing program. Crop and color correct the image before adding it to the layout.

If you plan to have the labels professionally printed then you will need to refer to the guidelines provided by your printing service. Most print services require images to be saved in a certain file format with a particular resolution.  You will have to inquire about image margins and bleed so that you can take these factors into consideration during the design process. If you plan to simply print a few labels at home, then you do not have to worry about these things too much.

You can easily create high quality product labels at home using a printer and a few sheets of pre-cut sticker labels. These are simply placed in your printer's paper tray and then used as normal. Templates are available to help you place your text or image within the limits of each sticker. It can be helpful to print a trial page or two just to see how your designs look on paper, so purchasing a few additional sheets of label paper is a good idea.

 Design tips that make products appealing

Ultimately the label you create is going to help sell a particular product. You need the label to introduce the product to the customer. How can this be done?

Begin by identifying the most basic pieces of information. The name of the product is the most important; it is probably important to have the name of the parent company on the label, too. Weight and volume or the number of pieces within the package should be present on any type of consumer product label. You can include information about how the product is to be used. Even if you do not have room for instructions a simple picture or diagram can help consumers get to know a product they are unfamiliar with.

Labels can be very challenging to create even for experienced designers. That said, there are several things you can do to make this process easier. Identify central themes, create some paper layouts, print sample labels until you pinpoint a design that works, and when in doubt, stick to the basics. These tips will help you create a label to be proud of. Find out more Here