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Label Mistakes to Avoid

Label mistakes break down into five main categories. Consider these five factors carefully before you order your labels, to avoid costly delays and rushed reprints!

Environmental Conditions

Don’t fail to take the environment into consideration. It causes the most common label mistakes we see. You need to think about a lot of different variables before you even order your labels in order to avoid some pretty bad mistakes.

  • Think about how and where you plan to use your labels. Will they be pushed into an ice chest or stored in a fridge? Might they be run through a dishwasher? Will they sit in someone’s bathtub niche? Those conditions require specific materials and adhesives.
  • Will you apply your labels to sharply curved surfaces? Slick plastic or metal and items with a unique shape or a taper also cause problems. These can affect the shape, material, or adhesive you want to use.
  • Never order your labels before you’ve decided on a container. And measure your container correctly!
  • Don’t try to use one label size on two different container sizes. Labels that fit one size correctly probably won’t fit the other.
    • If the label is too big, it will peel or buckle.
    • Too small, it will look unprofessional and may be hard for people to read.
  • Will you need to scrub your labeled equipment with harsh chemicals? Will the label sit out in strong sunlight for days, or weeks? Does it need a protective UV or abrasion-resistant laminate?

Design/Artwork Issues

Artwork and design can be complicated. If you plan to design your own labels, we compiled a list of resources that may help. But unless you’re artistically talented and versed in print media, you may be better off working with a designer with print experience. If you don’t know of any local talent, try a site like 99Designs. They can help you avoid a lot of pitfalls that lead to label tragedies.

  • Use the right artwork, at the right resolution. Don’t grab a screenshot of your company logo off the webpage and send it in as artwork. Images for the web are fundamentally different from images for print and do not translate well. Have the original artwork, as vector files if possible, to use in print.
  • Make sure fonts are clear and easily readable. Your color choice makes a difference here, as well. Colors should contrast nicely, without clashing, and with white space as appropriate.
  • If you’re using someone else’s artwork, please make sure it’s not copyrighted. Stock images, free vector graphics, and the like are widely available.
  • Check (and double-check) copy for typos and other errors. 
  • Make sure the labels match up with your company’s branding and visual identity.
  • If you request a proof, look it over carefully and ask questions before you approve it.

Incorrect Barcodes

  • The most common barcode label mistakes are usually to do with size or color, but we’ve also seen the wrong type used. For instance, retail products require Universal Product Codes (UPC) (most frequently in the US), or EAN barcodes (generally used in Europe). If you’re using a barcode or QR code, make sure it’s the right type
  • For linear barcodes, color matters. Infrared scanners read these types of codes, and they need to have particular contrast. Make sure yours will work.
  • Both 2D or linear barcodes require “Quiet zones” around the code itself. Your design can take the barcode into account, but the zones must still be there. For more details and examples of creative designs that work with barcodes, check out Creative Linear Barcode Designs.

Application Mistakes

We touched on this a bit above, when talking about containers, but application involves more than containers alone. You can avoid some common label mistakes if you take the following into consideration prior to ordering.

  • Will you apply your labels when your products are warm, cold, dry, oily? Even if this isn’t the way your customers will use the products, you still need to take it into consideration. 
  • If you need rolls for machine application, make sure you order a size that will fit your machinery. The unwind direction may be very important; be sure to account for it. 
  • We have sheet labels for both inkjet and laser printers – while many will work equally well in either, some will not work properly if you try to run them through the wrong printer. If you’re ordering custom label or inkjet labels, know what your printer type is and order the correct labels for it! 

Your Label Company

And the last label mistake that people can make – not checking out the quality of the company they decide to do business with!

  • Can you get free samples of the materials, colors, or laminates you’re interested in? Every product page on our site has a button you can use to ask for samples.
  • Do they have a satisfaction guarantee? Can you easily tell how long they’ve been in business? Are they rated as reliable by the BBB, customer reviews, and others?
  • What about their customer service team? Can you reach them via your preferred method, are they knowledgeable as well as helpful? You can talk to our CustomerCare team via email, phone (425-771-6500 or 800-537-8816), or chat from any page on our site.
  • Turnaround times should be clearly stated both before and after you order.
  • Can you find their privacy and security policies on their website?

Consider all of the factors above before your order your labels, and you can avoid costly label mistakes!

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