The Art of Producing Printed Labels

David RossArticle

Product Label Printing

Creating an ideal identity for your product.

In the market, whether online or in-store, a product’s label plays a crucial role in initiating conversation between the brand and the consumer. For corporate buyers seeking labels for their businesses, it is important to understand the significance of this small yet impactful component. The printing process and label design form a partnership worthy of recognition. Xpress has 300 years of combined experience in the process of transforming paper and ink into a successful product.

Offering a variety of products beyond custom stickers.

Labels have multiple purposes including product identification and description. They also serve as marketing tools, acting as mini-billboards to attract customers. Beautiful paper labels will help your brand to stick. At Xpress we prize print quality and design aesthetics as key contributors to successful branding.

Pressure sensitive labels must be visually appealing with graphics and spot or metallic colours to persuade customers to choose the product. When creating printed paper labels, it’s important to consider the design elements that will make your product stand out on the shelf. Additionally, they must comply with various legal requirements such as including nutritional information and expiry dates.

Artworking: Design your labels in vector graphics and not with Microsoft or artificial intelligence generative tools.

When it comes to designing printed labels, Adobe Illustrator is a powerful tool that offers more flexibility and creativity compared to Microsoft Word or Photoshop. With its vector-based design capabilities, Illustrator allows you to create high-quality, professional-looking labels that can be easily customized and scaled without losing any resolution.

Similarly, using AI tools like DALL·E may produce cool images, but they do not have the resolution for most use cases. Artwork labelling requirements recommend that using AI artwork only works well on desktop printers and on screen. Also, remember that if you can create a self adhesive label design that easily, so can the competition, there is no moat when it comes to IP infringement with generative AI.

Artworking: Ensure the label size matches the measurements of your container.

Ensuring you have the correct label sizes for your products is crucial in the printing process. To do this, accurately measure the width and height of your containers. Determine the shape of the container – whether round, square, rectangular, or irregular. With these measurements, design a label that fits perfectly on your container. Leave enough space around the edges for all information to be visible and legible. Custom label printing is as much about the basics as it is about the aesthetics.

Artworking:  Anything but RGB…

When designing labels or any printed materials, understanding the distinctions and applications of RGB, CMYK, and spot colours is essential for achieving accurate colour reproduction and maintaining brand consistency. Our presses rely on colour profiles that are outside of the RGB colour range.

RGB (Red, Green, Blue) is the colour model used for digital designs, including web and screen-based projects. It’s an additive colour model where colours are created by combining light in various intensities. CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black), on the other hand, is a subtractive colour model specifically designed for printing. It works by layering ink on paper, where each ink reduces the light that would otherwise be reflected. Spot Colours: Spot colours are pre-mixed inks used to achieve precise colour matching, often necessary for brand logos and identity elements. The most widely recognised system for spot colours is the Pantone Matching System (PMS), where each colour is assigned a unique number for reference.

Nobody likes an unexpected white border.

When a label design includes backgrounds, images, or colours that reach the edge of the label, the bleed area ensures that these elements continue past the cut line. This prevents the appearance of unwanted white borders that can occur if the cutting is not perfectly aligned with the edge of the printed area. For instance, if a label is meant to have a green background right up to its edges, the bleed allows the green to extend beyond the cut line, so any misalignment does not result in a sliver of white at the label’s border.

Read more here:

What Is Bleed & How To Use It For Print | Biotef

Artworking: Guides and rulers are useful tools for ensuring precision when aligning artwork.

Producing printed labels demands precision, and one key to achieving this is by using guides and rulers in design software to align artwork accurately. Guides—horizontal and vertical lines—act as reference points, while rulers provide exact measurements for placing elements on the label. This combination allows designers to meticulously position text, images, and other components, ensuring they are centered and correctly placed, which is essential for creating a professional and visually appealing label.

By leveraging these tools, designers can avoid guesswork, maintain consistent margins, and keep critical elements within safe zones, significantly reducing the risk of costly printing errors and ensuring the artwork is set up perfectly for the printing process.

Read more here:

Master Adobe Illustrator: Rulers, Guides, and Grids (

Selecting the appropriate material.

Material matters, and not just for the philosophical or ecological discussions at your next corporate retreat. If you’re labelling foodstuffs that will sit in a freezer, you’ll need materials resilient to moisture and cold. Likewise, if sustainability aligns with your brand, a recyclable or biodegradable label could be just the touch your eco-conscious consumers appreciate. But don’t forget practicality; it needs to adhere to your packaging like a second skin, whether you’re applying it manually or relying on machines to do the job.

When it comes to the art of producing printed, pressure sensitive labels, material matters more than many may realise. The type of material used can greatly impact the functionality and overall effectiveness of a label. For instance, if you are labelling foodstuffs that will be stored in a freezer, it is essential to use materials that are resilient to moisture and cold temperatures. Labels that cannot withstand these conditions risk peeling off. The good news is that there is a wide range of materials out there. Your high quality labels can look amazing, feel great and bond well. Perfect labels is our speciality at Xpress.

A palette of considerations.

Design and colour play a key role in reflecting your brand’s identity and values. It is important to choose visuals that are not only visually appealing but also maintain readability and consistency with your brand image. Utilise professional graphics and select a palette that is suitable for your target audience, both locally and globally, while being mindful of cultural preferences.

Effective product labels should be carefully designed with consideration of colour and design to accurately represent your brand’s identity. A label serves as a key interaction point between consumers and your product, making it essential to make a positive impact and differentiate yourself from competitors.

The Shape of Success

Pressure sensitive labels come in a variety of shapes, including squares and custom stickers. Instead of calling them custom stickers, we prefer to refer to them as beautiful paper labels available in a variety of shapes. Label printing with Xpress ensures durability and unique design features for your artwork without compromise. The label should be designed by an artist to complement the packaging. Whether it’s for bottles with curves or boxes with corners, by matching its shape and size. Die-cuts or unique shapes can be utilised to enhance product visibility on store shelves and appeal to potential customers.

Navigating regulatory challenges

Designing and printing pressure sensitive printed labels isn’t just an art; it’s a regulated discipline requiring conformance to regulatory requirements. Moreover, if your finished product is globe-trotting, be prepared to meet various international standards. We can help you with this, as our team of designers is fully conversant with the latest regulations.

In your artwork, you must display the following information (mandatory information) on the product packaging or on a label attached to the packaging.

  • The name of the food, the quantitative ingredients declaration (QUID),
  • where needed, a list of ingredients (including allergens)
  • the weight or volume of the food (net quantity)
  • a ‘best before’ or ‘use by’ date
  • the name and address of the food business operator (FBO) responsible for the food information
  • the alcoholic strength by volume (as a percentage) on drinks containing over 1.2% alcohol by volume
  • Find out how to label spirit drinks that you plan to sell in the UK here source:

Connecting with the digital age.

Printing has come a long way since the 15th century, when William Caxton set up his first press in Westminster. Traditional labels have mastered the physical realm, but what about the virtual one? Modern labels can do more than just look attractive and be informative. Artists are using QR codes, augmented reality labels, and NFC chips to bring labels into the 21st century. Artwork for pressure sensitive labels can offer interactive experiences with digital content. It offers more comprehensive information at the scan of a mobile device. By augmenting printed information, these forms of interactive content can provide educational content. Often, they provide more relevant content on the screen of any smart device. These digital solutions can enhance consumer engagement and turn a physical label into an immersive experience.

Counting the costs.

Professional label printers consider both quality and price in their label manufacturing process. When selecting inexpensive “stickers,” it may appear to be a budget-friendly choice, but working with a label company that compromises on quality could result in increased expenses down the line. Achieving a balance between the aesthetics and durability of print surfaces is crucial in business branding production. Xpress uses digital printing for short runs and flexographic printing for longer runs in their production methods. Finishing machine lines support various printing techniques, including variable data, allowing for customised production runs. We aim for a successful, long-term partnership by providing cost-effective business solutions that meet your annual spending needs while maintaining quality. Xpress seeks to modernise traditional label printing through strategic discussions to achieve mutual benefits.

It’s what the customer responds to.

Prior to printing, test your label artwork on your target market. Utilise our expertise in fonts, print type, colour scheme, shape, and finish for product label design. Gather feedback from your audience and conduct market tests on the design. Consider incorporating anti-counterfeit features like holograms or foil colours for added security on high-value items. Think about domed labels and metallic labels to catch the eye. But be mindful of those with visual impairments in the range of colours you use.


Packaging design and the process of creating a custom label are as intricate as developing the product they describe. For professional designers, the design process and label artwork play a vital part in how your product is perceived. Remember that each choice you make elicits a response from your customer. The choice of material, surface finish, print quality, and design for interactivity say a lot about your brand. If you do it right, it is a way to find potential new customers who are interested in your product. Product label design by an artist can be the deciding factor that tips the scale in your favour. In a competitive market, we need to give you the edge, to win business in your industry.

If you have an upcoming labelling project Xpress Labels offers guidance throughout the production process. We have a team of print experts with over 300 years of collective experience in label manufacturing. Our industry experience and your imagination can make a winning combination. Try us today and let Xpress Labels prove to you that labels in bulk without compromising on quality are a winning choice.