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File Formats and Cheap Label Design Software

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File Formats and Cheap Label Design Software

Every few days we get a new customer who sends us some label artwork in an unusual file format. Just browse the aisles at your local Office Depot or Staples and you will see plenty of inexpensive choices of label design software in the $20-$30 range. Most of this software saves the graphic files in a proprietary format that no other program can open.

The main advantage of this kind of software is that it is inexpensive and it often comes with lots of templates that makes it relatively easy to create simple labels. This is probably all you will need if you intend on just printing your labels at home on your inkjet printer. The problem occurs when you try and send this file to your local printer to get professionally printed labels. Most label printers will not be able to use your file.

Don't worry, all is not lost. Most of these packages have a way to export the graphic file to an industry standard format such as a TIFF, JPEG or PDF. These are the kinds of files that every professional printer should be able to use.

For best quality printing we recommend you use Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop to create your labels - this software will enables us to print high quality labels. Now, I realize you are looking at more than $500 for either software package, which may be out of reach for a startup or small business. In that case I recommend Adobe Photoshop Elements - which you can find online for less than $90. It has many of the features of its expensive sibling and can save to all the standard file formats.

Whatever software you use, just make sure that you can save your file to one of these standard industry formats. There is no point creating some nice looking labels yourself and then having to start over from scratch when you want professionally printed labels.