Your product will most likely dictate the container it goes in. This choice is very important in the marketing of your goods. Once chosen, the next most important aspect will be your label. Not every label works well with every container. You’ve probably seen labels that are misaligned, or that bubble, wrinkle, or flag. These packaging no-no’s are costly to repair and can leave an unfavourable impression of your product with customers or, even worse, would-be customers. By understanding some basics about the core elements of a package, including its label, you can make sure you’re putting your best foot forward when your product hits the shelf.
For many containers, the labelling process involves being fed onto a machine and rotated while the label is applied. These mechanics affect how a label sits on a container and should be taken into consideration when determining the size, shape, and placement of your labels.
Different materials work well for different products. Plastics are an obvious choice for things like pastes, creams, or gels—things the customer might squeeze or pump. Glass works well for drinks and food, or any product that might be poured or packed in little pots. While plastic and glass have radically different qualities, they also share some common qualities.
The shape of your container will dictate, to a large degree, the shape and size of your label. Wine labels, for example, are often rectangular while a small pot of gel could take a thin wraparound. In general, you’ll need to find a flat, unobstructed surface for the label and design to fit its size and shape. Ridges are the areas on a container where the surface curves, like at the neck or at the bottom near the base. Avoid labelling over a ridge as that will lead to slack, wrinkling, or bubbling. As a rule, design your labels to miss the ridge by at least 1/8th of an inch.
All glass has imperfections because of the way it’s made but this should not deter you from using it. You should simply make sure that you design the label to work with the container. Give embossment, debossments, ridges, or imperfections a berth of 1/8 of an inch. If there’s a taper, consider this in your label design.
You put a lot of energy into designing a label to make your product pop. By taking into account some of the mechanics of application and the properties of glass, plastics, adhesives, and labels, you’ll ensure that your overall packaging impresses.