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How to Write Effective Copy for Product Labels

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How to Write Effective Copy for Product Labels

Editor's Note: James Lowry is the General Manager of Lightning Labels. With almost 24  years of professional experience in the printing industry, he really knows what he's talking about when it comes to producing top-notch product labels. If I was you, I'd consider memorizing his copywriting tips below. You can pick up more great tips from James in the column he writes for The Lightning Flash, From the Desk of Our General Manager. Before you even begin to write copy for your product labels, you need to consider how your packaging will impact your label copy. Make sure you understand the size of the label that you will be able to use and if you will be able to use more than one label.  It is critical to understand the amount of “real estate” available for your copy. Other aspects of your packaging that may or may not impact your label copy include:

  • The materials used in your packaging. For instance, if they are eco-friendly, you may want to note this in your label copy.
  • The environment your product will be in after the label is applied to its packaging.
  • The type of product container your labels will be applied to. This may impact whether you use clear labels, simple labels, or elaborate 4-color process labels.

Next, you want to make sure you know what is legally required to be printed on your labels. Depending on your product and where you are selling it, you may be required to include product ingredients, barcodes for retail sale, and/or copyright tags. These are just a few examples of what may be legally required to be incorporated into your label designs and therefore impact the label copy you write. Once you have figured out how to incorporate any legally required elements into your label design, you need to think through what you want your label copy to accomplish from a marketing perspective. Questions to ask yourself include:

  • How should the logo be incorporated into the label?
  • Where should the product name be placed?
  • Is there a tag line to include, either for the product line or the company name? Where should it go?
  • How should you include the appropriate contact info for your company?
  • What are the options to create a strong branding presence with this label that pushes for future sales?
  • Is there a picture or image to incorporate that is an expression of the product? Is there a picture or image that should be used for branding purposes? Or, are there both elements? What colors are used for the same reasons?

The bottom line when it comes to writing effective copy for your product labels is this: Figure out what message you want the prospective buyer to receive when they see your product, then figure out how to convey that message through your product labels. The final step in producing effective product label is to put all the pieces I have just discussed together in the real estate that is available on your labels. While this task can be challenging, completing it is very rewarding. Being able to effectively fit all the required elements into your product labels and still be able to send the message you want to prospective customers will provide you with a great sense of accomplishment. Any product label that you create will be the billboard for your product that consumers see when they walk down a store aisle. So spend the time and energy required to write effective copy for your product labels. I'm not saying it is easy, but I am saying it is worth it. After all, you want your product labels to sell, sell, sell for you all day long.