Developing a clear and focused labeling plan is an important component of a branding strategy because labels and packaging are usually the first things consumers notice. Small businesses and startups tend to have fewer resources at their disposal making it harder for their product to compete with better known brands. A well thought out label development plan can put a business’ limited resources to better use and help their label manufacturer have a deeper understanding of what is expected from them. Also, label development can lessen the chances of waste or error occurring during printing.
Your labeling plan is just a small, albeit important, part that should fit within the context of your branding strategy. We’ve come up with a list of the five best practices we’ve noted from our customers who have created and managed successful labeling strategies. To better ensure your labeling strategy is effective, you should follow these guidelines:
1. Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail
“What’s the message?” should be one of the first questions you ask yourself before you start getting quotes, and definitely before you place an order. Your labels aren’t on your product only to look good; they should also be communicating a predetermined message that you want the customer to receive.
After you’ve developed your message, next you should gather all the technical information that will be on the label. Most products are labeled with basic information such as: product name, logo, ingredients, directions, net weight, barcode, website, customer service line and manufacturer/distributor information. Consider what your customers might like to know and research labeling trends in your industry to determine what technical information should be labeled.
2. Don’t Forget About the Container
A big part of your product’s presentation is the container. It’s hard to separate the container from the rest of your product’s design elements because it’s all supposed to complement one another. When looking at container options, you should examine and compare characteristics like the container’s shape, color, material and cap – just to name a few. If the container fits your brand and product’s identity, then you can probably go ahead to the next stage of your labeling strategy.
3. Keep in Mind the Product’s Different Environments
Your labels should be designed so your product can look good in a multitude of places. It’s important to take into account whether the design will work with the container in different setting as well as from a design and functional standpoint. Your materials and printing process are two other important factors that affect your label’s aesthetic, and should be carefully considered.
4. Get Your Label Professionally Designed
A cost effective way for designing a stellar label design is to hire a graphic designer (if you don’t already have one). You can probably find a multitude of local designers in your area that work out of home for a reasonable price. Getting your label professionally designed will boost your product’s shelf appeal and help ensure that the design works within your branding strategy. Also, a graphic designer can make it easier to create labels for product families that your company may or will have. Save yourself some headaches, however, by thoroughly researching graphic designers. Before obtaining services, make sure you visit their website/portfolio and check out listed references.
5. Remember, Your Design Has Limits
We suggest to our customers to stay away from overly complex designs because it can look completely different when it’s shrunk down to label size. It’s important to decide on your label’s shape and size before your artist starts designing anything. Size and shape can completely alter a label design if it’s not taken into account during the planning phase. Also, resizing artwork can result in additional fees and wasted time.
Now that you’ve picked out the container and settled on a design, the next step is to obtain price quotes. Depending on who you’re getting a quote from, there are a several different ways you can go about it. For example, customers obtaining a quote from us have three available ways: online, phone and in person. However, certain products and services can only get a quote by phone or in person because our online system can’t give a quote for certain specialty products and services (e.g. shrink sleeve labeling). The best way to ensure your labeling strategy is successful is to keep the lines of communication open with your label manufacturer so there are no surprises when you receive and open your custom labels order.