Regardless of your reason for printing labels yourself or getting them printed by a company, one fact remains: your labels must be as close to perfect as possible. The reason for this is that anything you print, including labels, will be a direct reflection of you, your business or both.
But if there’s anything we all know for certain, it’s that mistakes can – and do – happen that can turn your easy label printing experience into a complete nightmare. But the good news is that each of them is preventable with some expert tips.
Artwork and Bleed
The bleed on label artwork must be adequate. “Bleed” is the amount of artwork which extends beyond the boundaries of the label. Ideally, 3mm of bleed is best for smaller printing such as that which occurs with labels. An inadequate amount of bleed can lead to uneven or incomplete borders and images.
In addition to bleed, as far as label text is concerned, it’s important that it stay within its borders. Otherwise known as an ‘imaginary’ border, this is located a minimum of 5mm from the edge of any document. This provides some space between the label’s edge and its text. Not staying within this border could see your text being cut off once it’s been printed.
Interestingly, not every colour of label background will respond well to the same text size. For example, if you want to place white text onto printed black inkjet labels, it’s important to ensure that only black – and not a combination of colours to make black – has been used. If more than one colour has been used, white text will appear blurry. This rule also applies to other colours as well as textures.
There are two ways text can be added to a label: vector or raster. For the purpose of label printing, the former is better. This is because vectors are made using mathematical formulas, whilst raster images are made from pixels.
Before printing your labels, you must convert the colour type from RGB to CYMK. Not doing so can result in a lot of confusing colours where there once was uniformity. Conversions should also occur if you plan to have your labels printed by a company as opposed to printing them yourself.
Another confusing element of label printing can be font conversion. Anytime you are using a programme that combines vector artwork and raster images, it`s important to ensure they`ve been converted to outlines before you export them to another file format for printing, such as PDF. And of course, always ensure that the conversion was made successfully before you print.
You may have decided on a great image for your labels. But will it work once it reaches your printer? A common issue is pixelation, which can occur when an image’s resolution is too low. The higher the pixels per inch, or PPI of an image, the clearer it will be when it’s been enlarged.
In general, understanding what makes a label work and what doesn’t is crucial. This can be done by conducting some research into sound label design elements. You can even go online and visit design communities. These communities allow you to upload your artwork and receive feedback from experienced designers, which can be incredibly valuable if you are printing your labels on your own.
If you’ve decided to use a company to print your labels, it can help to ask them questions about the above. Although they’ve likely got it all in hand, asking questions can show you are interested in and want to understand more about what they do.