Just one glance at your local grocery, or pharmacy shelves and you realize that not all labels are the same. Not only will you find labels of all shapes, sizes and materials, stuck on all kinds of products, but you will also see a variety of artwork. Artwork can be tricky. Just because the artwork is more complicated and detailed doesn’t mean it is going to print well.

The options for printing custom labels have never been greater. However, the influx of printing options over the last decade has increased the number of poor performing labels. Artwork is not only about the ability to print it on the actual label surface, but it directly affects the shelf appeal and sales meter of the specific product. A poor design, with complex details and little whitespace can actually produce a less than desirable label. The artwork may look great on a laptop and fit on the actual label, but it can still be off dimensionally, objects and/or fonts can be blurred, or just not as sharp as desired. Artwork should be designed for the label size instead of one-size fits all approach. A layered design structure is better because you can manipulate and change elements to get the desired finished label you want. Working with a reputable and professional label printing company can help you avoid these kinds of mistakes.

Images in label artwork are another potential snare. Usually high-resolution images look better than low resolution ones. Vector files (.ai, .cdr, .fh, .eps) are preferred to raster files (.jpg, .gif, .tif, .bmp) because you don’t run as much risk on definition and resolution as you do with pixelated files.

If a specific Pantone color is required you need to know if the printer will want to use CMYK (additive) colors instead of RGB (subtractive) colors. Label size, print area and the specific label material factor into label artwork and the finished product.

Printing companies with a professional pre-press department/team can accurately assess your proposed artwork and the printability on the substrate of the label. This can save valuable time so you are not submitting artwork that just won’t print, or look great only to have it going back and forth between the printing company and your graphic artist for changes.

Keep in mind that your label can attract, or detract potential customers simply by its shelf appeal, or lack thereof. Label artwork is something your company does not want to get wrong after producing a great product.

At Century Printing and Packaging we have a pre-press department to help clients avoid artwork pitfalls and insure they get the label they desire.

Ben Waldrop, President
Century Printing and Packaging, Inc.
Greer, SC 29651