What Makes Great Label Design?

We sat down with a Columbus packaging designer to talk trends in product label design.

Blue Label Approved Label Designer, Jeremy Slagle, gave us the inside scoop on what truly makes for great label design, and a peek at what’s on the horizon. Slagle is a Columbus, Ohio native who typically designs for food, beverage, health and beauty products. He works with small businesses and provides branding and logo services.

Great label design is a (worthy) investment

Slagle reveals a truth that many consumers and start-ups don’t realize. “Packaging can cost significantly more than what’s inside the bottle. Brands are truly selling packaging.” With that truth in mind, he notes that it is very important to invest in quality label design and printing. “The bottles, the labels, the six packs… they cost significantly more than the actual product. It’s not like selling shoes where the product is twenty dollars to make and the box is $1.50. It’s flipped. The business owner is putting a lot of money to sell the product within.”

Great label design is tactile

When designing for a new client, Slagle begins the relationship with a field trip. “We’ll go to the grocery store and spend three or four hours there. I watch them pick up stuff off of the shelves, and talk about it. I watch to see how they interact with the product. People are picking up products and feeling them more than they ever have before.” With this in mind, Slagle notes that great label design usually includes some sort of texture. “Tactile, texture, soft touch finishes… those are doing well now more than ever.”

Great label design is client-focused

“The brewmaster I was working with several years ago just did not like my first, second, third, fourth, or fifth iterations,” Slagle says. He opens up about a time where he learned the hard way to trust the client’s vision. “I had to take a few days off and step away from it. I was so in love with what I drew that I was stuck. When I came back, I created something way better than either of us had ever imagined. It’s a lesson to designers: listen to your client. Designers have big egos that are hard to overcome, but if you can really just listen to the client first, you’ll be better off.”

Great label design has a great printer

“People often overlook that you need to know what kind of labelling equipment is going to be used. A lot of people think that a label is a label, but it’s not.” Jeremy also notes that it’s a designers job to educate and a printer’s job to accommodate. “Blue Label is super accommodating and knowledgable. Their customer support is awesome. I wouldn’t send people their way if I didn’t have full faith in them.”

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