Best Practises For Self-Adhesive Label Design


Product labelling isn’t just about creating something pretty. It’s about creating something that stands out on the shelf, conveys your brand values, and attracts attention. It should also lead the consumer down the path of purchasing your product. So, the question is: What should you do if you don’t have the budget available to hire a professional graphic designer? Before you brief your label to Label Tech for printing, there are a few simple things you can remember when designing your label (although Label Tech will always be happy to help you through the process anytime!)

1) Design Your Labels in Adobe Illustrator (NOT Microsoft Word or Photoshop)

It may be tempting to use Microsoft Word or Adobe Photoshop to design your label, but they are poor choices for this type of task. Here’s why: Microsoft Word presents artwork in a way that is not suitable for printing high-quality labels. It automatically converts images to RGB—a colour mode not supported by most commercial label presses —meaning that any labels designed in Word will need to be reworked before printing. This adds additional costs to the process and, honestly, should be avoided.

2) ALWAYS Design In CMYK

Most commercial print presses print labels using a four-colour process known as CMYK—that’s cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. These four colours are combined in different ways to create various different colours.

3) Measure Your Container To Ascertain The Correct Label Size

No matter what kind of container/packaging you’re applying your labels to, it’s paramount that you figure out the correct label size for your custom labels before you start the design process. Failure to do this will result in improperly fitting labels that look bad when applied to the intended container or packaging.

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4) Add a “Bleed Area”

“Bleed” occurs when your label artwork “bleeds” slightly beyond the intended dimensions of the finished label. This is done to ensure that there are no visible white borders when the printing process is complete and the label is die-cut along the “trim” line.

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5) Use Guides/Rulers To Line Up Your Artwork

There is no room for guesswork in custom label design. The process of designing is time consuming and expensive, so the more you can avoid basic mistakes, the better. Adobe Illustrator has a plethora of tools you can take advantage of to ensure your artwork is correctly aligned. You can use rulers, grids, guides, and “smart” guides to perfectly align artwork and ensure even distance between objects.

6) Think About The Big Picture

Your label on its own could be a beautiful work of art—a masterpiece of a label that draws gasps of admiration from all who view it. But, when placed on a supermarket shelf, it could look out of place, too loud, fade into the background, or look too similar to competitors. Keep this in mind all the time when working on your design.

7) Consider Functionality

It’s easy to get tunnel vision when trying to design the perfect custom label, meaning it’s easy to end up focusing only on the visual appeal of your artwork. But, remember: you have to consider the functionality of your label, as well as the visual appeal. In almost all cases, the primary function of your product label will be to attract attention, stand out from the crowd, and invoke an initial curiosity inside the mind of the consumer. However, there are other things you may want to achieve with your product label, such as durability or luxury.

8) Use High-Quality Images

Image quality is very important when you’re designing a label. Always use high resolution imagery of at least 300dpi.

9) Make Sure The Logo/Branding Is Prominent

One of the key marketing priorities with custom label design is to let customers know who you are and what your product is.

10) Keep It Simple

It is really important to avoid overcrowding your design with too many images and too much text. A busy label can lead to confusion, annoyance and eventual dismissal of your product as a potential purchase. So, while the product and brand name should be key priorities—along with taglines and any information that persuades the customer to purchase—keep the rest of your text and graphics as minimal as possible.

11) Don’t Forget About Labelling Regulations

A beautiful and effective label is worthless if it is illegal. Labelling regulations mean certain information you place on your labels is not there by choice, but necessity.

12) Designing a Label For Retail? Remember To Add a Barcode!

To find out more about what we can do for you, contact us at  or call us on 01-8421700 today.

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