Design Tips for Custom Labels and Stickers: Part One
Date Posted: 02/04/2010 | By: Maureen
Design Tips: Part One (1-7)
Design Tip #1 – Simplify.
When you’re thinking about your design, keep the words ‘clean’ and ‘simple’ in mind. Think of your custom label or sticker as a very small billboard; you don’t want people to have to slow down to get your message and your brand. Keep your graphics simple and your color scheme limited.
Custom labels and stickers could be thought of as a simple headline; it should convey everything you want to say in just a glance. I know I’ve talked about them before, but Izze Soda is a perfect example of a simple, compelling custom label.
Design Tip #2 – Be shapely.
Enough of the circles and squares already! Get out of your box- literally!- and consider using a different shape for your labels and stickers. Interesting angles and curves that aren’t too crazy (remember the prior tip about simplifying) really add to your stickers curb appeal. We’ve done everything from hearts to eagle’s heads, so don’t be limited by what you think will or won’t work.
Custom labels and stickers really can be ‘custom’, and your printer should let you know if they think you’ve gone a little too crazy. That usually isn’t the case though. So, think about it… Is it finally time to shape up?
Design Tip #3 – Size matters.
If you want your promotional label or sticker to be used, bigger isn’t always better. Yes, you can see a larger label or sticker easily, but what’s the point if it gets thrown in the trash because it’s too big? People may be more apt to slap your brand on their car, window, guitar case etc if the size isn’t a drawback.
Custom labels and stickers that are well designed, small to mid-sized and ‘speak’ to your target market are going to be the ones that get used. YOU may want your label or sticker to be ginormous, but your audience may not!
Design Tip #4 – Think clearly.
Remember that ‘clear’ is an option for your custom labels and stickers. We’ve been printing parking decals this week, and the windows around the office are covered with different design options. Lighter colors are easier to see if your sticker is going on a window, so please consider that as your designing your custom label. We’ve also recently printed a clear custom label for a face cream, and in that case darker colors worked best against the light background of the cream.
Custom labels and stickers on clear material work well when you want the label itself to blend in with the product (like the face cream) and when you want the sticker to not get in the way of visual line of site (like the parking sticker). I really like the option, and think it’s an underutilized design capability for custom labels and stickers.
Design Tip #5 – Expect a bit of back and forth.
Custom truly does mean custom when it comes to labels and stickers. In a ‘custom’ home, the counter-tops and cabinets look a lot like the neighbors granite and maple next door. Custom labels and stickers are very different, and because of their unique nature, you should expect to have a bit of back and forth between you and your graphic designer and printer. At each step, you should be open to getting and giving feedback about what’s working and what’s not with your design and look.
Custom labels and stickers hold a host of possibilities, which is good and bad. Not all possibilities look that great when it come to custom label design as it comes to life on paper. Most of the time the tweeking process leads to an amazing look, and if it doesn’t don’t settle! Keep at the back and forth until you get what your looking for! You’ll know when you get it right… trust your gut!
Design Tip #6 – Check, double check & re-check your spelling and grammar.
I’m probably a little pickier than your average bear in this regard (once a journalism major, always a journalism major), but the last thing in the world that you want are custom labels with a big ‘ole misspelled word in them. I would advise having several people check your custom stickers before you send your files to the printer for grammar, spelling, punctuation, and capitalization. We’ve seen everything from addresses that are wrong to misspelled words in the company name to plurals that should have been singulars.
Custom labels and stickers are ripe for these types of errors. Get an employee, neighbor or friend who has a great eye for detail to look over your files and proofs. The more the merrier! You might want to create a sign-off or checklist for yourself to make sure that at least 3 people have looked over your design before you send your custom labels and stickers off to the loving care of your printer. They should be the 4th and final check before the ink hits the paper!
Design Tip #7 – Color me.
Do you want your customers to feel blissed out, fired up, powerful, or romantic? When choosing your custom sticker and label color, know that your color choices matter for the mood you’re trying to put you customer in and have them associate with your product. Trying to look trustworthy with your custom label? Go with navy blue. Do you want people to associate your custom sticker with a sense of calm and nature? It’s green all the way for you.
Custom labels and stickers are mini color psych labs. The color choices you make for your labels and stickers shouldn’t be decided by what your favorite colors are (if that were the case everything I touched would be orange), but rather from the response you are trying to elicit and feelings the colors you choose will drum up for people.
Remember the awful green paint in your Elementary school? That was no accident, my friend! You could almost hear the custodians thinking “You’re feeling calm and sleepy….” as they slapped on the paint. Same goes for your custom labels and stickers. Really give some thought to whether your color selection is right for your product and brand.
Design Tip #8 next time!