May 14, 2013

3 More Reasons Your Label Is Boring to Customers

3 More Reasons Your Label Is Boring to Customers

People get bored easily. We know this because in the time it took us to write that last sentence, we got up for coffee, shot a few hoops, watched 13 YouTube cat videos and found three brand new places to scratch ourselves. (Who knew the roof of the mouth could itch?)

Keeping the human animal’s boredom threshold in mind, you want to make sure your product’s label is as thrilling, chilling and killing as it’s possible to be without confusing your brand identity or causing seizures. We’ve already touched upon this in a previous article, but here are a few other areas you’re going to need to consider before your label achieves complete and total grandiosity — or at least stops making people collapse into instant REM sleep seconds after glancing at it.


If you even consider using the Times New Roman font or any other font found in Microsoft Word, for that matter, we’re going to fling our hands up in disgust and just walk away. This is your product label, for heaven’s sake. Try to use something slightly special.

Of course, it is possible to go overboard with special. We can’t teach you to have taste, but we can encourage you to at least use a font that doesn’t look like it was designed by poorly coordinated ransom note authors.


“Material,” you ask? “Aren’t the only choices paper or plastic, like grocery bags before supermarkets shamed you into carrying your purchases in thoroughly insufficient burlap totes?” Well, yes and no.

You are free to choose whatever synthetic or naturally sourced material that you wish, so long as it’s appropriate to the product (not to mention appropriate as a label). If you don’t want to hide the product behind a paper label, then go with clear plastic. If you prefer the old-timeyness of a textured label, go with paper. If your product is being marketed to Pliny the Elder, go with papyrus.

It is also very important to consider your market before you make your decision. For example: your winery might bottle the product of the rarest, most delicious, delicate and uniquely-flavored grapes in the world, but if your label is clear plastic, no one will pay more than $5.99 a bottle. Wine connoisseurs shun bottling innovations the way vampires shun holy water. If you plan on marketing (and subsequently selling) outrageously expensive wine, paper labels are the only way to go.


If your label shape is the standard rectangle, we would like to invite you to join us in the 21st century. Or at least join your great-grandparents in the latter half of the 19th century, because labeling technology isn’t exactly new, here.

You can have quite a bit of fun with a label shape. As long as the product name and badge are clearly legible, logically spaced and pleasing, you can make your label any funky shape you want! Go crazy! And then go sane again and ask colleagues and trusted friends if the label scheme is bold and innovative or merely a cry for help.

If you don’t want to part with the cost of specialty dies that cut unique label shapes, you can skirt that by using the magic of graphics. Simply design your desired shape within the traditional rectangular label and match the borders to the color of the container. Easy-peasy, lemon squeezy!

So, what have we learned today? We learned that the public has a short attention span, forcing you to change your product’s label more often than you change your socks, lest they become bored and cranky (the public, not your socks). We learned that the 2012 Olympic font looks like the most primitive form of masking tape art. Lastly, we learned that expensive, snooty wine bottles use paper labels; wines flavored with corn syrup use clear plastic. We’re not judging; we love a wine that we can enjoy both at dinner and on our morning breakfast cereal.


by Kevin Smith
SmashBrand helps brands create, optimize, and launch successful products, services, and customer experiences. Our data-driven process is the key to accelerating sales and minimizing risks.

We use a strategic combination of market research, design, and consumer testing to solve complex brand problems more effectively, create differentiation, and forge more meaningful connections with customers.

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