Learn about the power of label design

by | Oct 24, 2022 | Book Design | 0 comments

Label Design

Your label design is ONLY powerful when it entices someone into an action within the first second. Your product label design must beat the competition in giving a great initial impression.

Let’s get some expert advice on how to get this power.

You go into a supermarket and you pick up a can of tomato sauce. Have you ever wondered why? Why did you actually pick that can up and not the one next to it? Was it the price? Was it the fact that it was closer to you? Maybe it was the company brand name or the colors of the label. Did you recognize the label design from what you were used to seeing in your pantry at home? There are so many thoughts that play into the consideration of each buying decision. Do you want to know which is the strongest, most powerful, and yet, is the one we give the least credit to? That would be brand design.

Label Design and its power

I believe the first time I became aware of the power of design was way back in the 70’s. I was a teenager in high school and I went to the supermarket with my Mom. We were picking up some groceries for dinner. Mom was going to prepare “picadillo”, so she needed some peas and carrots. When we went into the canned vegetable aisle, I saw my Mom (a very intelligent woman, by the way) go “crazy” over the Libby’s branding of their label design. Libby’s had recently redesigned their labels. They now had this very attractive, fresh, new look that had “Libby’s Libby’s Libby’s” written down the front of the can’s label. Those words sat on top of a white background with a photograph of the vegetable of choice on both sides of the white vertical band.

I don’t recall having ever seen any Libby’s brand cans in our pantry until that day. Now, suddenly, you open the door and there sits, “Libby’s Libby’s Libby’s” all over the place. I recall having asked my mother why the sudden change and her answer was, “They just look so much fresher.” Hellooo, we are talking about canned goods here; there is no such thing as fresher canned food! WOW! Talk about the power of label design!

The fact is, a product has just so much time to make an impression on the potential buyer. Take a direct mail piece. You depend on the envelope design to entice the recipient into opening your mail; so can your label “shout out to the buyer”. A good label design will cause that reaction you want: to put it in the shopping cart, and many of them, just like Mom.

A study by Booz Allen Hamilton revealed that 85% of brand loyalty is created at the point of the sales contact and after; only 15% is generated by up-front promotions and the quality of the product itself. So there you have it; my Mom was in the 85%. She had been seduced by the redesigned labels into buying a product that she had not considered up until that moment. Later, comes the 15% of product quality. If Libby’s vegetables did not live up to her expectations, in terms of quality, I suppose she would have gone back to her old brand (I hope), but for the time being our pantry was full of Libby’s.

A product label has very little time to compete for attention. It must speak out to the passerby in mere seconds. There are many things that can help (or deter) a label’s effectiveness. The basics are the same for all other well-designed marketing pieces.

Label design should be in accordance with its target market. In the case at hand, we are talking about middle class housewives of 40+ years old who won’t settle for anything less that the best. Housewives want fresh foods for their families, so give them fresh-looking designs.

Let’s see how Libby’s did this. They include full-color photographs of perfectly cut, fresh, juicy vegetables on the labels. This leads the buyer to believe that this is a mirror of the contents of the can. Eyesight at 40+ is not as keen as it used to be. The usage of clear, large, legible type aids the viewer into easily identifying the product. The contrast in colors makes the letters stand out crisply against the white background. This gives the label a clean appearance, so it must be a desirable food product! Libby’s was one of the first food product companies to capitalize on the branding power of its name. The playful repetition of the name three times on the label, “Libby’s Libby’s Libby’s,” stamps the viewer’s mind and makes it easier for the company to penetrate its potential markets.

All of this from a can of peas and carrots for dinner! Maybe, if my Mom had not stopped to buy those peas and carrots, I would not be a graphic designer today. Who knows? The important fact is that label design is very much underestimated and overlooked.

Label Design is a specialty unto itself and should not be looked upon lightly.

There are reasons for the decisions designers make while designing a label. They should all be guided in aiding your product’s branding and marketing efforts.

By Marina Rivón of Maremar Book Design & More
© Maremar Book Design & More,  All rights reserved.

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