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How Product Label Design Drives Sales

product label designWhat’s the first thing consumers see when they look at rows and rows of products on the shelves at their favorite store? It’s the product label design that draws their eye. If your product label doesn’t stand out on the shelves, it already has two strikes against it, no matter how catchy your advertising and marketing are. Learn more about how better label design can help your products practically leap off the shelves into consumers’ hands.

How to Design a Product Label That Attracts Consumers

Learning how to design a product label that catches customers’ eyes boils down to a few basic principles. Follow them, and sales will jump. Fail to follow them, and your competitors will take the lead in sales.

Follow basic product label design best practices

  • Brand it: Basic product label design starts with branding. Keep branding consistent across packaging, digital assets, and social media, and the brand will take on a life of its own among consumers. Think about the iconic brands that have captured the nation’s loyalty over the years: Coca-Cola, Nike, Hershey’s, Dove Soap, and more. No one can miss those products on a shelf – because they’ve rarely changed their logo and other branding over the years. Don’t have a clue when it comes to branding? No worries. Your printer probably has a designer on their staff who can help turn an idea into a distinctive brand image.
  • Ensure that the label meets legal requirements: Some labels, such as food, supplements, cosmetic products, human and veterinary medications, tobacco products, beverages, and animal foods, require specific information. Consult the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for more information.
  • Provide decision-driving information: While too much information creates a cluttered appearance, companies should include their product’s unique selling proposition (USP) as well as any other critical information that sets them apart from their competitors. Whether it’s “less sugar, more flavor” or “sustainably sourced,” consider what target customers would like to see to drive their buying decisions. For perishable items, consider including a place for the “best by” date, even if the federal agency doesn’t require one. Make sure that the USP occupies a prominent place on the label.

Consider the product’s packaging (or lack thereof)

Choosing the type of label that will work best for a given product depends on the packaging. Some products, such as mechanical parts, garden tools, and similar implements, have no packaging at all. Custom labels designed specifically to fit on those products are the optimum choice. Similarly, a box will need a different label than a bottle or can.

Research target customers

To arrive at a label that will attract customers, marketing teams need to do extensive background research on their target customers. Smaller companies and startups don’t need to consult a budget-busting marketing agency to conduct research. Social media and search engine analytics programs, available for free, can give marketers an accurate picture of their likely customers. Look at several metrics to arrive at the first draft of the label.

  • Demographics: Youthful customers will likely want a more energetic look on a label, while ethnic-focused products, such as Turkish delight or Hungarian goulash, might benefit from subtle reminders of the homeland on the label. A product that urban dwellers would be likely to use should probably look different from one designed for rural farmers.
  • Color preferences: Whether it’s the product itself or the customer base, a label must appeal to people’s emotions. A floral-scented after-bath lotion might sell better with a pink-and-green label, but a pair of high-powered football cleats would probably do better in a high-energy red-and-white color scheme. Naturally, the label’s colors should blend well with the company’s overall brand imagery.
  • Passions and pain points: A product intended for people passionate about saving the environment shouldn’t bear a label that looks plasticky or mass-produced. However, a label for a toddler’s toy would probably get more impulse purchases if it’s wrapped in a shiny, primary-colored label. Music lovers will appreciate a label with an image of the performer or her instrument, while gardeners will probably appreciate images of flowers, vegetables, or other garden scenes.
Take the display environment into consideration

Labels must hold up under whatever environment the product will reside. For a refrigerated or frozen product, condensation can be a factor, causing untreated paper labels to disintegrate. Durable vinyl stickers would probably be a better choice.

Go bold with size

Even though a product might need a laid-back look, the label should read large enough to see from a distance. Test drafts of various label sizes and designs against samples of competitors’ products to see if they stand out on the shelf. If enough budget money is available, actually testing the labels with real-life consumers will help marketing teams decide on the final label design and copy.

Let the label showcase the product

Even with the most amazing products, you’ll get little for all the time and love invested in producing it if it stays on the shelf. There’s a reason why grapes feature prominently on wine labels, corn on a Mazola label, and so forth. People want to crave food and beverages, to envision themselves using other products.

Help their imaginations come alive with labels that reflect the product’s essence. Again, enlist the help of the printer’s label designer to create a vision of enjoyment in the consumer’s mind.

Finally, include contact information

There’s always the possibility that a store that has carried a product for years suddenly drops it. That happened to a friend of mine this holiday season. She loved Jordan almonds – but was really picky about what brand she bought.

Late November, she discovered that the store that had always carried these sweet, yet quasi-healthy treats had suddenly discontinued it. Fortunately, her last box carried the candymaker’s contact information. She discovered that the manufacturer had switched its business to Amazon, found a humongous three-pound bag, and was able to enjoy her favorite treat over the holidays.

Suppose she hadn’t seen the company’s contact information on the label? Not only would she experience a less-than-spectacular holiday, but so would the company. At scale, the company’s loss of income could drive it into the red at a time when most candy companies enjoy their greatest profits. Making sure that the company’s contact information – even only a website or phone number – appears on the label is a great way to ensure loyalty and repeat purchases.

If you’re looking for labels that will practically make your products leap off the shelves, the Nova Custom Label Printing team can help. Get in touch with our team for a quote today!


I've worked with them twice now for specialty labels and am extremely happy with their level of service and quality. Both times, I was able to pick up in Manhattan and get my prints on-time for my events. Would recommend Michael and the team at Nova to a friend.

Lamar Letts Avatar Lamar Letts
November 21, 2023

We needed a last-minute label for one of our new products, so the turnaround time was quite tight. Nevertheless, Nova Custom Printing did their best to deliver our 500 labels right on time, ensuring the best quality! Michael, the owner of Nova Custom Printing, worked closely with us to ensure everything met our standards. It's definitely my go-to spot for commercial prints when I'm in need. Thank you so much!

Phuong Vo Avatar Phuong Vo
November 16, 2023

Worked with Michael! He was quick to respond and I was on a very tight turn around! He was able to help! Labels came out great and exactly what I ordered.

Neil Ford Avatar Neil Ford
October 30, 2023