Creating custom labels for food and beverage packaging is an incredibly important step in the product creation process. Far from being an afterthought, labels are often the first thing a consumer looks at when considering a product for purchase. In fact, according to a survey from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, two-thirds of consumers rely on food and beverage labels to check for information on calories, fat content, salt, and vitamins. Not only that, but more than half of shoppers will check a label before buying a food for the first time.

If you want your food and beverage labels to stand out on a shelf and end up in a consumer’s pantry, here are some important things you need to keep in mind.

Simplicity

Design is a tough art to master, but it’s one that requires clarity and simplicity. Customers want to know right away that what they’re getting is a high quality product. More often than not, a customer will be able to decide that based on the label alone. While it’s important to have an original design, it’s also important to consider the benefits of a more minimalist approach to packaging and label design. It might seem counterintuitive, but by modern design standards, minimalist designs can actually look more sophisticated. Standing out on the shelf doesn’t necessarily mean that you need a design that shouts at consumers.

Accuracy and Honesty

If pharmaceutical labels weren’t honest about what kind of medication was inside or how a patient was supposed to take it, there would be serious legal consequences. Similarly, the food and beverage industry has very strict laws governing content, so there would be serious legal issues if the labels and descriptive content were not correct and in compliance with these laws. You must be clear and upfront with your customer base about exactly what they’re getting. Anticipate what your target consumer is likely thinking about, then make sure that information is easy to find. If that information isn’t on the label at all, you’ll run into issues.

Readability

The ability to read a label from a distance is one that’s sorely undervalued. Some product packaging is so small that the labels become almost illegible. When designing your packaging, think about the impact that size has on custom printed food labels. Will a customer be able to read all of the information that they need to know before purchasing this product? If not, consider expanded content labels (booklet labels, dry release labels, fold-out labels, 2-ply and 3-ply peel reseal labels) that maximize available space by providing additional panels for printed information within the confines of the overall label size.

Whether you’re printing adhesive labels for foods, beverages, or other household items, make sure you’re keeping these things in mind for your label design. If you get any of these basic label design principles wrong, potential customers may never discover just how great your product really is.