Having your own unique labels can help your products to stand out from the rest. And there are lots of software options available that allow you to design your own security labels from home. But what can seem like an exciting task can quickly turn into a nightmare. Thankfully, this list of tips can help you avoid the pitfalls of label design.
Layout is King
Designs having several images, shapes, text boxes and the like. And how you position them within your label’s dimensions is crucial. If your labels are small like most, then too many elements will cause them to look messy and cluttered, and may even result in them being difficult to read.
Some software can also make positioning different elements like text boxes difficult. It all depends on how much control your software gives you over those elements. For example, if you are using a program like Microsoft Word to create your labels, you may have difficulty getting elements to stay together on one label without them ‘jumping’ to the next page.
Limit Content Quantity
The amount of content on your labels is another thing that must be considered to ensure a clean and uncluttered result. Although you may be tempted to add more content, this can negatively affect both the visual appeal and readability of your labels. The fewer elements that are present in a label design, the cleaner and more professional it will look. As well, a label with less content will also take less time to produce.
Borders, Alignment and Backgrounds
Borders can make a label look neat and clean. But they can also wreak havoc with your label content. If there is existing misalignment on your label, adding a border will only make misalignment more obvious. As well, borders can cause issues with printing because most printers are not able to print right to the edge of a sheet of A4 paper. To be sure, check your printer’s manual or settings to confirm that it can or cannot print edge-to-edge.
Similarly, if you want your labels to have a coloured background, you will need to ensure that your printer can print these coloured blocks in the same sharpness and quality over several labels. As well, you will need to ensure that each label is within your printer’s printable area.
Having to layer elements of design on top of one another is an even trickier thing to accomplish when creating your own labels. Most software will allow you to layer, for example, text and images. However, there are likely to be limits on the number of layers your software will allow. One way to avoid this difficulty is to design your label with all its layers, and then ‘flatten’ or merge all of the layers into a single image that can be placed on your label template.
However, once a design has been merged or flattened, it cannot be edited further. So if going this route, it will be important to ensure that you have your design the way you want it before finalising it. If you are using Word to create your labels, you can both ‘group’ and ‘ungroup’ an object to merge and separate image layers as you need to.
Once all of your label’s design elements have been set, doing a test print is the next most important step. Test printing will instantly reveal any issues with alignment or communication errors between your computer and your printer. Test printing should occur on regular paper until all elements have been confirmed to be placed and printed correctly.