Need Help Getting Started?
We can all agree that developing even one new product can be an overwhelming task. The number of variables and timelines to get to market can be daunting for anyone. Although your label can, and often times is, the most important contributor to the sale and success of your product, it does not have to contribute to the stress incurred when developing your product(s). We have developed this section to ease your mind and give you a stable foundation for developing your label and understanding your product‚Äôs label requirements.
We understand that when you are looking for a printer, your first question is usually, ‚Äúcould you provide a price for this label‚Ä¶.?‚Äù This is certainly fine if you have the necessary information required to create an accurate estimate. There are many instances that do not require you to follow the suggestions below simply to obtain an estimate: mailing labels and bumper stickers, for example. We hope the following information is helpful in understanding the relationship your printer plays in the success of your product and business.
1: Where Should I Start? - (Take a step back ‚Äì Choose your product‚Äôs container)
Developing a new product is very exciting. At the same time it can be stressful, due to the limited time you have before launching your product. The first thing we recommend is take a step back and actually stop thinking about your label. Have you decided on the packaging requirements for your product? That is the where to start. i.e. the container -bottle, jar, tube, bucket, pouch, etc. Keep in mind that the container you choose should be compatible with your products chemistry. Your bottle vendor will be able to offer good suggestions, based on the formulation of your product, as well as, the storage conditions it will be subjected to.
Designing a label before choosing a container would be putting ‚Äúthe cart before the horse‚Äù and it will probably not be a productive way to spend your time. The container you are using for your product will dictate answers to many of the critical choices you have for your label design, including: size, shape, material, adhesive and unwind direction. Having decided on your product‚Äôs container first can save countless hours of guess work for you and your label printer, as well as, other vendors you are using in you packaging process.
2: I have my container, what‚Äôs next? - (Choose the size and shape of your label)
Now that you‚Äôve chosen the perfect container for your product, the next step is choosing a label shape and size that would be aesthetically pleasing, as well as, functional. Many people want to jump right into the design stage at this point. Let‚Äôs face it, that‚Äôs a lot more fun than choosing a label size. Again, this would be putting the cart (a little) before the horse. It‚Äôs certainly o.k. to start thinking about your designs, but try not to finalize them quite yet.
For standard shape containers (container without a taper), this is something you can do at home or at work. If it is not something you are comfortable with, your label vendor can certainly help. In most cases, your label printer would prefer to help.
Even deciding on the label size presents a number of options that can be overwhelming: should I use one big label, or two separate labels, should the label cover most of the space on the container or just a portion if it?, etc.
A lot of these questions can only be answered by you. Is it going to be pleasing to your eye and ultimately your customers‚Äô eyes? We recommend that you take your container(s) and create some simple mock-ups. Simply cut out potential label shapes and sizes that you think would look good on your container. Tape them to the container and use your imagination to decide what you like and what you don‚Äôt like. If you are design-savvy, and have the means, create some simple designs in color, print then out, and use those for your mock-ups. Printed mock-ups will certainly help you picture what you would like your product to look like. Again, this is not something you have to handle on your own. Your label vender should be able to offer good advice in this area and help you choose a size and shape for your label.
For containers that do not fall into the ‚Äústandard shape‚Äù category, you have a little more difficult task on your hands. You can still create mock-ups the same way you did for standard containers, but you may have to exhibit a little more time and patience. For example, a straight rectangular label will never properly fit a container that is tapered from top to bottom. Ultimately we recommend you send these types of containers to your printer to design a custom label that fits your container perfectly.
3: I‚Äôve chosen my container and label size, what‚Äôs next? - (Design, Content, Layout)
You are ready to start designing! You have also given yourself, or your designer, legitimate size and shape parameters to work within. Imagine trying to design something without knowing this information first. Whether you are doing the design work yourself or collaborating with a professional designer, it‚Äôs vital that you keep communications open with your label printer. These days, many things can be designed that cannot be represented very well through print. So, it is also important for your designer to understand the capabilities of your label printer. Having a full art department, we can offer design assistance and, in many cases, provide a design for your label.
Before you get too far in the design process, please consult with your printer about your design plans. The graphic design dictates many things for your printer. For example: which printing process to consider, and which equipment to use to achieve a result that best represents your design. The following information is important for your printer to know:
- How many colors are in your design?
- What colors are you planning on using in your design?
- Is the design going to be:
- C,M,Y,K(4-color-process) only
- C,M,Y,K(4 color process), Plus spot colors
- Spot(Pantone)colors only
- Are there any additional features added? Foil stamping, for example.
4: Choosing the correct material
In order to choose the right materials for you label, your printer must have enough information about your product, its container and the conditions the label will be subject to. Your printer will most likely ask you all the necessary questions, prior to doing an estimate. There are literally thousands of materials, adhesives and different combinations of the two available. There are materials and adhesives available for all types of labeling conditions. For example: withstanding freezing temperatures, moisture, heat and other environmental conditions. You printer should be able to choose the appropriate materials for your label and provide samples for testing, if necessary. If there are any concerns about the performance of materials and adhesives, we always recommend live testing of sample materials before proceeding. We will also conduct any necessary testing at our facility, providing we have a sample of your container.
Things to consider:
- What surface will you label be applied to: glass, plastic, etc.
- What are the environmental conditions you label is subject to: moisture, freezing temperatures, sunlight, etc.
- ex. My label is applied to a glass jar at room temperature, then it will be stored in a refrigerator.
- Would you like a white base material or a clear(no label look)) material?
- What type of finish would you like: gloss, satin, matte
- Will you need to write or print on the labels?
- Are you hand-applying the labels, or will they be machine applied.
5: I‚Äôve got my, container, label size, label material and design finalized, what now?
All your hard work is done as far as the label is concerned. At this point you can sit back and let your printer go to work.