Thursday, December 9, 2010

Aesthetics of our products: Label making

Tara made this comment in this postI love the pictures you post of your products. Maybe somewhere down the road, you could do a post on label making.

I admit the aesthetics of our products is not one of my strengths. I'm the mechanic - I figure out the formulas, create the recipes, tweak the products, and so on - and despite my love of English, I suck at creating cute or interesting names. And don't get me started on my inability to take nice photographs! But I do like to create what I consider nice labels.

I consider putting labels on my products essential because I need to know which version of which product I'm using. I generally write out the labels by hand for around the house (which is why you don't see a lot of them), but when I'm gifting my products, I want to make my labels lovely (and believe me, my handwriting is neither lovely nor legible).

I generally invest in full sheet labels because I can put a ton of different labels on one sheet and cut them out when I feel like it. Ensure you have the right type for your printer - you can use laser labels on inkjet, but you can't use inkjet on a laser printer. If you can't get the full sheet labels or don't feel like cutting them all out, I find the 4 x 2 shipping labels to be the most multifunctional for my needs because I can make them smaller as necessary. I've tried Avery and I've tried generic Staples' labels - the Staples' ones were just awful and I took them back the next day, so I have to suggest Avery.

I use Printshop for the Mac for my labels, but you can use any program that makes labels in the right size. Microsoft Word works okay, but I've found it can sometimes be a little off and you have to make sure your labels are well within the boundaries when you're creating them on the screen. (Your experience may vary by printer and ability to make a nice label!)

I can't draw or design a label to save my life, so I find interesting backgrounds, wallpapers (computer and real life), or pictures of fabrics to create a nice backdrop. Digital scrapbooking papers are fantastic for backgrounds, and you can find some great free kits out there. I love the Shabby Princess downloads and I covet the Pixel Decor tiles (very retro!). I collect fonts, and I admit I tend towards the retro. You can find great free fonts at the Font Diner (I love the diner fonts and holiday leftovers!) and for my fonts, but you can find some great ones at scrapbooking sites.

When you're gifting a product, you don't need to use the INCI names because that can get a little confusing for your giftee. I tend to use the proper names for things like my oils, but I will use the generic name for my surfactants. I will put in brackets what the ingredient might be - for instance, liquid Germall Plus (preservative) - because I want my giftee to know what's in the product and I won't assume they know Latin!

If you're making products for sale, ensure you are following the labelling laws in your county, state, province, area, region, or country! And make sure you're using royalty free images. 

There are a few ways to make your labels waterproof. I used to have an Epsom printer with waterproof inks and they worked really well. But I've switched to to a Canon Pixma ($30 for an all in one!) and the ink runs. So I use the Krylon product Make it Last, clear sealer, to keep my labels pretty in the shower or bath. I make up my labels, spray them, wait about 10 minutes, then put them on my bottles. (I found mine at Michael's, but apparently you can get it at art stores!)

And now we come to cleaning bottles. I spray mine with rubbing alcohol, wait a second or two, then wipe it off with a paper towel. This ensures you don't have any surfactants or oils or other stuff that will get in the way of the product sticking.

Join me tomorrow for some ideas for designing labels.


Tara said...

I guess I will try to find Krylon (Nome Depot maybe?). I often use the vinyl weather proof labels, but even these will smear, so I end up covering the top with a clear label, which costs double in the amount of labels. It would also be nice for when I only use a clear label (which are absolutely NOT weather proof!).

I usually buy from, which has good selection and a pretty good label design software, but costs a lot to ship from Florida :(

Tara said...

I meant to say *Home* Depot, not Nome depot.... ;-)

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Tara! I thought Nome Depot was hilarious - all those little gnomes running about getting lumber, fishing, smoking pipes, doing things they've never been able to do before because they were frozen in time in someone's garden!

I found mine at Michael's - I think it's mostly an art or craft type thing, so I'd check stores like that.

melian1 said...

i like the way krylon seals my labels, and i get it at walmart. i prefer using the regular labels with the krylon over the weather-proof labels.