How to Choose the Right Label

Written by: Matt Clark | Published on:  June 03, 2021

Custom labels

Custom labels are one of the most basic branding tools for any business owner. Their versatility and ease of use offers limitless possibilities. Whether you need them to brand your products, convey vital information, or simply to make your work easier and more efficient—everyone can benefit from label printing.

If you want to start printing labels but you’re not sure what to look for, this helpful guide can help you determine the kind of label that would suit your specific requirements. We’ll discuss label material options, sizes and shapes, and some examples of popular label types for a variety of products.

Choosing Your Label Material

The best way to decide what kind of custom label works for you is to start with the materials. It is an important choice that will not only affect the look of your label design, but also your product packaging’s durability when exposed to different environments.

This step can be overwhelming because there are plenty of label materials to choose from. However, these quick questions can help you filter choices and help you select the best label stock for your application requirements.

  • Are your products chilled or used near water?
  • Are you using a plastic or glass container?
  • Do you want to add a protective coating or keep it uncoated for writing on?
  • Do you want to showcase the contents of your product?
  • Do you want a glossy finish or a matte coating?

Based on your answers, you will know whether you need something waterproof, uncoated, matte or glossy, and if your labels should have a white, clear, or even metallic background.

For reference, these are the most popular types of labels that PrintRunner customers usually order.

For uncoated labels that do not require protective coating:

  • White premium sticker paper is a smooth, semi-gloss, pressure-sensitive adhesive paper. It’s widely used for indoor products that don’t need refrigeration.
  • Estate adhesive paper is made with uncoated white adhesive paper with a subtle linear texture. This material is typically used on wine bottles and products with elegant branding.

For waterproof labels that can withstand wear and tear:
  • BOPP (biaxially-oriented polypropylene) is a gloss laminated, self-adhesive label. This is the perfect choice for products that require exposure to moisture, oil, or refrigeration.
  • White vinyl is a gloss-coated material highly recommended for products that require outdoor exposure. Bumper stickers are made of the same material. This is usually the thickest and most durable label material offered.

Label Shapes and Sizes

Your product container or packaging determines the right size and shape for your label. Whether you use custom pouches, glass jars, medicinal bottles, or plain product boxes, it’s important to keep these tips in mind:

  • Rectangle shapes are the most popular because they have more space for design and content.
  • rectangle labelsRectangle Labels

  • Avoid label creases from tapered containers that gradually change their dimensions by choosing a smaller size or a tapered custom shape.
  • custom shape labelsCustom Shape Labels

  • Circle and oval shapes are perfect for curved surfaces like jars and bottles.
  • circle labelsCircle Labels

    oval labelsOval Labels

  • If the product is not that aesthetically pleasing, you may want to use an opaque container with a big label that covers everything.

  • If you want to showcase your product’s appearance, such as a sparkling wine or honey, then you may want to use a smaller label or a clear label material like BOPP.

How to Measure the Right Label Size

The two (2) easiest ways to measure your label size is by using a measuring tape or a sheet of paper and ruler.

Option 1: Take your measuring tape and wrap it around your packaging to determine the size you need. This is the best method for curved packaging like bottles and jars.

Option 2: Use a sheet of paper, cut in the shape that you want, and lay it over the area you want to label. If you are satisfied with the way it looks on your product, take the ruler to measure the paper’s dimensions. This method works best for custom shapes as well.

Check out this label size and shape chart to select the perfect label for your products. We picked the most popular product container styles and sizes you can use as reference when designing your labels.

For accuracy, we still recommend measuring the container you are using to ensure the right label size and shape before placing an order.

Now that you know what kind of labels you need, you can order them directly from PrintRunner. Customize directly on our website and choose your preferred your size, shape, and material on the order calculator.

You can upload your own ready-made design or create a layout from scratch using our online design tool. If you need a custom size and shape, simply indicate this option on the order calculator.

Our customer care agents and prepress team are on standby to help you proof your design for free and make sure your label orders are printed according to your exact requirements.