Do you judge a book by its cover?
It’s an old adage — “don’t judge a book by its cover”. Taking this literally, unless you are a well-known author, the cover is often the only way that people will stop to look at your book.
The same is true of food products. If you are a new kid on the food block, your label may be the only thing that catches a customer’s attention. So it pays to spend a little time thinking about your labels.
The design is obviously critical, but the decisions start before then. You need to choose label stock that looks professional and matches the “tone” of your company and product. Do you want sleek, glossy white? Matte, kraft-colored labels for a homemade look? Gold metallic for an upscale feel?
What size would work best? Will you standardize your label size across your products (highly recommended when possible) or will you offer a different design for each change in package?
Finally, you have to consider cost. Labels can be tremendously expensive when purchased off the shelf, and can add 25 cents or more to the cost of your product! Finding a reliable, affordable source is going to be one the most important business decisions you will make, in the early stages of launching your biz.
Thank goodness, I found just the right supplier for me: a great company called Online Labels (www.onlinelabels.com). They fit the bill in every area that I described — paper type, sizes, shapes and pricing. Like most things, the price drops dramatically if you order in bulk (which is another reason to try to standardize your label sizes). After many different designs, I ended up with 3 sizes. It feels like more because I flip their orientation for different packaging needs (for example the same label that is used on my salt grinders gets turned 90 degrees and used on my sample pouches).
These days, it is expected that online ordering be easy, that customer service be efficient and friendly, and that delivery be affordable and fast. They offer all of these things, but it is actually ONE little aspect of the company that made me a fan for life: they will pleasantly ship you samples of labels to try out. I’ve probably asked for samples 5 times in 3 years, and they have always obliged with several sheets. Especially when narrowing down a selection to 2 finishes, having samples to use on my own printer was exactly what I needed to make the right decision.
Online Labels also offers their own label design software, Maestro Label Designer. I haven’t tried it yet — I already owned Logo Design Studio, and have had good luck with that, but you may want to check it out (it’s free activation with an order).