Product Label Design: 5 Tips From an Art Director

Have you ever wondered how to make eye-catching labels? The answers are simpler than you think. Check out these five easy-to-follow tips on creating distinct label designs from PrintPlace’s Art Director, KD Macalinao.

1. Prioritize legibility and clarity.

Every word on your label needs to be easy to read.

“Labels are meant to be read, so their text should be legible and clear,” KD explains for her number one tip. The product name should be the easiest to spot so interested shoppers can quickly identify your product.

Your logo and brand are secondary to the product name. If consumers don’t find what they’re looking for, they can’t associate that with your brand. Showing up as a viable option for their grocery list or shopping spree is the first step to customers knowing you exist.

2. Plan for an effective hierarchy of information

This design leads customers into reading from the item name to the rest of the relevant information.

You don’t want consumers to be confused while they go over your product label. Everything written on it—from the item name, weight, and other important details—should be clear and easy to spot.

Create an effective hierarchy of information that guides readers throughout the product label design. Start with the product name or identifier having the largest font size. Then, go down a size for the product weight, ingredients list, and other specifics about the item. The font size for each piece of information will also depend on where it’s placed. For example, you’ll need a smaller font size for the product weight and nutritional facts, but the latter is slightly bigger than the former. Ingredients lists typically have the smallest font size.

3. Find an element that will distinguish your product label design.

Old Spice stands out on display against every other deodorant in blue, white, and other fresh colors.

When it comes to designing product labels, you want an overall look that stands out on the shelf. This is especially crucial for common staple items like peanut butter or shampoo. To distinguish your product from the rest, KD recommends doing a competitor analysis and observing other brands’ colors on their packaging. For example, Deodorant brands often choose to package their products with colors that convey a sense of freshness, lightness, and softness, typically in pastel shades. Because of its bright red color, Old Spice is the easiest to spot in an aisle of blue and pastels. Explore doing the opposite of what everyone else does so that your product instantly draws in potential customers.

4. Identify your brand’s personality.

When your branding is clear, it’s easier for you to design the product label. If your business branding is still vague, ask yourself: “What is its personality?” Is it fun and youthful? Understated and mature? Brave and adventurous? Narrow down a list of keywords that show customers who your brand is. Once you’ve finalized these words, you can choose a font, color, and images or graphics that match these descriptions.

Base your font choice on how closely it aligns with your brand’s personality. Most legible fonts come from the Serif family. Serif typefaces represent stability and maturity, while Slab Serif ones are bolder and assertive. Sans Serif fonts are more minimalist and understated. KD also highlights that the font, like Gotham, should be easy to read. Avoid anything that makes a letter not look like it’s supposed to. She doesn’t recommend embellished or script-type fonts, especially for smaller text on the label.

Color choice also draws from the brand’s personality and how you want customers to feel. For example, blue is associated with calm and tranquility, while holiday colors like red and gold evoke that warm and fuzzy feeling. One way to answer how you will make the product label attractive is to choose colors that evoke feelings related to your brand personality. An essential oils brand would likely go for blue to elicit calmness, while a brand offering premium items to high-end customers may opt for black to showcase sophistication.

5. Give your product label design room to breathe.

While these images have several elements, the space around the typography and images transforms it into a cohesive design.

First-time designers tend to create very busy product labels that don’t have breathing space around the elements. KD warns against this tendency to fill in every gap in a label’s space: “Design is a lot like a song,” she describes. “You need pauses—for things to slow down in between.” Allow for spaces around the text, graphics, and images. Avoid trying to put too much

on the label. If you’re considering printing an image, ask first if you need it. Clear packaging will show the customers what your item is, so you probably don’t need that image. But if the package is canned or covered, you can place a sharp, well-lit image people can identify.

Create Stand-Out Product Labels Today

Now that you’re on track with answers to “how do you create an effective product label?”, you can get started here on PrintPlace. Explore our wide selection of custom labels that are easy to apply. Once your design is ready, simply upload it to our site and approve the file check before printing.