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Have you ever heard the acronym C.R.A.P. when used in terms of good visual design? “C.R.A.P.” is a simple way to remember what will work on a flyer, in an ad, on a website – and even on the ultimate promotional canvas: the product label.

Get these principles down, and whether you layout your own labels or look over the shoulders of a graphic designer, you’ll know what works and why… or why not!

1) In the basics of composition, C stands for CONTRAST.

You can use contrast to differentiate items on your label. You can use contrast to your advantage when you play off the different graphical elements there (color, typography, shapes and sizes, etc.) to make a statement. In working with contrast, think about which shapes and colors will dominate and which will recede. Also consider the size of your fonts, and know that the largest type will get the most attention. It’s a push/pull energy you’re trying to tap into and on a little label, the results can be visually arresting.

2. Then there’s REPETITION.

When you create multiple versions of the same or similar visuals in your design, a distinct feeling of cohesion happens. Without knowing why, people will gravitate to your product label. They’ll think it’s ‘classy’ because all the visuals are consistent and it all feels so coherent and amazingly familiar. Careful though — sometimes this repetition can be overdone – you can overwhelm people if it all gets redundant.


comes next in the design acronym. Everyone likes to see order on a page or label. Be purposeful about the placement of your design elements. Use grids when you organize what goes onto your label. While you are at it, visualize columns too – even if there won’t be any obvious vertical lines in the final printed piece.

What goes best on the left, in the all-important center and, finally, on the right? You’ll be making your message crystal clear to your customers by ensuring the elements carefully align. The information will be easy to understand when you use alignment in your label design. That clarity is highly desirable and could well result in more product sales!

4. P stands for PROXIMITY.

What this boils down to is ‘like likes like!’ Place items further apart when they are disparate and closer together when they are similar. At its simplest, this means keep the caption with the photo it describes. At its more subtle, your background colors, borders and indentations can direct the shopper’s eye to what goes with what. Be obvious or discreet, but make sure that readability is enhanced by your deliberate groupings.

Conclusions about C.R.A.P.

People sometimes say that they don’t have a clue what makes a good layout or a pleasing image. But the fundamentals of C.R.A.P. can tell them at least four solid ways to know why a graphic design is masterful – or a mess!

We produce product labels with pizzazz. Clients bring ones that are already designed and we print their text and visuals faithfully onto labels.

Another option is to have us use our designers and consult with you about what you want your labels to look like on the shelf. What feelings you want to evoke. The sort of brand image you want to convey. Either way, your knowing about C.R.A.P. helps us all get on the same page so we can produce the best custom labels on the shelf!

Contact us today to get your printing project off the ground!







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