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Design Tip #8 – To laminate or not to laminate? That is the question.

Custom labels and stickers don’t have a right or wrong answer as far as laminate goes. A lot depends on the end use for your labels and stickers. If it’s going in the shower and you want it to last, a laminate is the way to go. We’ve run samples through the dishwasher and done ‘wipe downs’ with wet, hot washcloths to test our custom stickers durability for customers. There are other factors to consider as well. The ‘look’ you’re going for matters, as well as the eco-footprint you want your packaging to have.

We had an interesting call today from a customer who wants waterproof custom labels for hair clips. In cases like this, one of our our first questions is always how long the custom stickers need to last. Depending upon the answer to that question (and a few more) will help you determine whether to use a laminate for your labels or not. If you’re more concerned with being green, we’ll advise against a laminate. If you’re more concerned about being waterproof, we’ll suggest a laminate.

Design Tip #9 – Take a step back.

Well-designed labels and stickers look great from a distance of a few feet. Simple, clean, bold designs are visually appealing and eye catching from a distance, which is where most people will view your labels and stickers from. Put your custom stickers to the test; take a step (or two or three) back and assess how well your labels stand up. Do they ‘pop’? Can you read your ‘main headline’ (product name or slogan)?

Custom labels and stickers that stand up to the step back test are going to serve you well. If after the step back test you think your custom labels need some fixing, go for it! Never be afraid of a label design tweak when it’s needed. We all need a little change now and again.

Design Tip #10 – Choose your look: gloss or matte.

We just ran some great custom labels for Berber Trader’s Mediterranean Skin Balm. They chose to go with a matte laminate for a natural, organic look. We’ve done the same for many organic and natural products, and the matte look is just right for their products. On the other hand we’ve applied a shiny, glossy laminate for lip glosses, hot sauces and industrial custom stickers.

The product’s use, target market and green footprint are all considerations when choosing gloss or matte laminate, or whether to laminate at all. We’re happy to help you decide which option is best for your custom labels and stickers, as we’ve seen a lot of options and always have an opinion!

Design Tip #11 – Use cut-outs.

Custom labels and stickers can take on extra functionality when you use cut-outs. We recently printed custom labels for an equipment manufacturer who had three to four cut-outs designed into their stickers. In this case, the cut-outs were there so equipment operators could read gauges through the label.

Custom labels and stickers with cut-outs also have the ‘wow’ factor. I love seeing labels that have a cut-out that allows you to see the product peek-a-boo style through the label. It’s juts plain cool. It’s also an underutilized aspect of custom label and sticker design. Ask yourself: are there any cut-outs you should be considering for your custom labels and stickers?

Design Tip #12 – Have some fun with holidays.

This isn’t as much a design tip as an encouragement to have some fun. Custom stickers and holidays are like milk and cookies- they belong together. There are some many ways to create fun, custom labels for clients, friends and family that make them feel like you’ve done something unique just for them. Custom stickers with someone’s name on them are worth their weight in gold and, really, what’s not to love about making someone happy?

Custom stickers and labels can also be a great positivity boost for the people around you. A few years ago Todd, the kids and I were skiing Crested Butte (I highly recommend you go) on St. Patrick’s Day. We covered our ski helmets (I highly recommend you wear one) with custom stickers: shamrocks, leprechauns and the like. We were the rock stars of the slopes! Everyone was smiling when they saw us; some were actually cheering us on. It’s amazing the power that a small custom sticker can have!

Design Tip #13 – Use white space in your design.

White often gets overlooked in custom labels. White is powerful, clean, and easy to see so it makes for a great center-point for custom stickers. Think Target and their logo, or the power of a Nike swoosh on a white backdrop. The white makes both designs ‘pop’!

Custom labels and stickers are often loaded with color, with no white space to speak of. Many of these custom labels are great, as long as you’ve thought through your use of white. White is kind of like your best friend down the street; you tend to forget about how great they are because they’ve always been around. Use white in the color palette of your customer stickers and you’ll probably like the results, just like when you remind yourself of how fabulous that friend down the street really is!

Design Tip #14 – Outline your words.

Not in the English 101 sense, of course. Rather, think how words pop when they are outlined in another color. As much as it pains me as a Wisconsin grad to point this out, think about Michigan’s “M”. Their letter design really works; the navy blue outlined in yellow really is eye catching. Your custom stickers can have the same look.

Custom labels and stickers that are at all associated with education really benefit from color outlining, but they are not the only market this works for. Any words on your custom labels that you want to stand out can be color outlined. Stay away from blocky looking typeface on your custom stickers if you don’t want the academic references to come to mind and you’ll be just fine.

Design tip #15 next time!

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