Do’s and don’ts of label design

When it comes to product marketing, label design is one of the most impactful tools at a brand’s disposal. Product labels communicate directly with the customer, and can be the deciding factor between competitor offerings.

A simple guide to the do’s and don’ts of label design


Unfortunately, this simple yet effective marketing tool is not always utilised to its maximum potential because of really basic mistakes. When considering label design, here are a few do’s and don’ts all industries should weigh up.


The do’s of label design

1. Incorporate storytelling

Every product has some element that makes it unique and, as humans, the best way we can share these differences is through the ancient art of storytelling. Your product’s story does not need to be a novel, but rather some key feature that set it apart which will resonate with the consumer. By describing your brand in a unique and compelling way, you are engaging the customer and making them feel like they are a part of this particular experience. It’s inclusive and establishes a sense of loyalty from the start.

2. Consider the label material

Understandably, everyone has a budget and the product label material will need to be within budget. Just remember, however, that the material chosen forms part of the story narrative. A cheap material that doesn’t hold colour or text, which doesn’t adhere to the product as it should, is communicating a product that is lacking in quality – even if it isn’t. The label material needs to reflect the quality of the product.

3. Check safety standards

Health and safety guidelines of any country must be strictly adhered to when considering the label design. Regulations such as necessary warnings and precautions, ingredient lists, shelf life or any other instructions should be made clear on the product label. A brand is unlikely to recover from negative exposure related to consumer injury or ill health when using a product that is lacking safety information.

4. Stay in line with the brand

While bright reds and blues with bold graphics might attract attention, if they aren’t communicating your particular brand’s story, then they’re not attracting the right attention. It’s not about personal preference, you should rather identify your brand’s image, language and tone, then research the best colour, font and graphics to work into the label design. Once you’ve established your brand’s look and feel, this should be communicated across all platforms and maintained so as not to lose loyal customers.

5. Include relevant contact information

If you want your brand to survive, you need to know what customers are saying about your brand, and discover ways to improve. This requires supplying easy-to-find, up-to-date contact information on your label design. While telephone numbers and postal addresses are fine, the digital age requires a web address, social media pages or a simple-scan QR product labels code for a quick response.

6. Include a list of ingredients

As mentioned earlier, adhering to health-and-safety regulations is vital, and one of the stipulations is the clear indication of what customers will find inside your product. Modern consumers are well-informed, so don’t try to bamboozle with scientific jargon or confusing terminology. State – simply and accurately – the ingredients that can be found in the product directly on the label.

The don’ts of label design


1. Make false claims

If you’re looking at establishing a brand for the long-run, then making false claims is going to backfire horribly. Customers are looking for environmentally- and socially-conscious brands, but if you’re not part of this movement, then don’t falsely claim you are by printing eco-friendly or anti-cruelty images on your labels. Consumers and regulators are likely to dig a bit deeper, and if you are caught out, it’s almost impossible to build up brand reputation and credibility again.


2. Overdo it

One of the overriding messages in label design today is that simpler is better. When you are designing a product label, there is limited space, but if you use this space wisely, you can communicate the vital product information without overwhelming the audience. Remember to prioritise – what is important and what can be left out, or rather expanded on via the website or social media platforms? A busy product label will make consumers feel anxious.

3. Merely follow trends

There are always emerging label trends within industries that will see the sale of certain products spike, but trends don’t last and they certainly don’t work for every product. Don’t simply buy into a packaging trend because it has shown to work for another product. The personal narrative of your particular product is what sets it apart, so work that in and don’t follow the crowd.


Designing the perfect label can be an arduous undertaking, but it’s made much simpler with the guidance of experienced industry professionals. It’s really worth consulting with established label designers and manufacturers to determine what will work for your particular product label design and how to realise your vision.

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