orange juice labels

How to Choose the Correct Label Size

Written by: PrintRunner | Published on: August 15, 2021 | Updated on: January 5, 2023

Custom label printing may seem easy, especially with online printing companies' convenience and endless customization options. But if there's one aspect of label printing that most of our customers struggle with, it's choosing the correct label size to order.

There's nothing more frustrating than ordering custom labels only to find out your font size is too small, or the label size could have been bigger, or worse, wrinkles on the material!

This helpful guide will take you through the essential steps in measuring the best label shape and size to suit your product.

First Things First: Ask the Right Questions

To choose the correct label size, you have to start with two fundamental questions:

  • On what type of surface do I apply these labels?
  • How much information will I print on these labels?

Answering these questions before you do anything else can help you pin down exactly what you need. It eliminates expensive mistakes and needless expenses. Take a minute or two to ask yourself these questions and you’ll be surprised by how much you can learn.

What kind of product or surface area am I working with?

Is it a flat box? A jar with curved edges? A tapered bottle? Product packaging comes in various shapes, sizes, and contours. Answering this question eliminates unnecessary label options by helping you decide which shape would go best on your product. It also enables you to understand how much label application space is available.

Flat surfaces are the easiest; almost anything goes! For rounded container shapes—circles, ovals, and rectangles are suitable. To avoid creases, be mindful of choosing only the flat surface of the container and prevent any ridges or curves. Tapered bottles are the most challenging, as the packaging shape changes in width from top to bottom. Traditional rectangle labels will create bubbles and wrinkles, so choosing a curved custom shape that matches the container's dimensions is best.

Below is a quick guide on what label shapes and types to use with specific surfaces.

Product Surface Label Shape or Type
Flat surface
  • Almost any shape and type
Rounded container
  • Circles
  • Ovals
  • Wraparound rectangular label
Tapered bottles
  • Wraparound rectangular label
  • Curved custom shape
  • Ovals
Flexible pouch
  • Circles
  • Rectangles

What content will you print on these labels?

If you have substantial product information for consumers, consider wrap-around labels that cover the entire flat surface of a bottle or jar. These are suitable for items that provide the ingredients list and nutritional information. For logo printing, customers often prefer a circle or oval because the shape draws the eye immediately to the center of the label design.

Here are some recommendations on what label types work well with specific content:

Content Type Label Shape or Type
Product ingredients and/or nutritional information
  • Wraparound rectangular labels
  • Circles
  • Oval
  • Square
Shipping addresses
  • Rectangles
Award-winning books or products
  • Starburst

How to Measure the Right Label Size

We recommend two (2) measuring options to get the most accurate label size. These methods work for flat, rounded, and even tapered packaging.

Option 1: Use a measuring tape.

Its flexibility allows you to measure any surface contours easily.

For round containers, take your measuring tape and wrap it around your packaging to determine the size you need. Start measuring from 0 inches. Only measure the completely flat surfaces.

For containers with narrow necks such as a bottle of wine, measure the height of your bottle only on the flat surfaces. Start from just above the bottom curve until the part where the neck starts to curve.

For tapered packaging, start by measuring the packaging's top circumference. Wrap the measuring tape completely around the top of the bottle where you want the label to start and mark this down as your top circumference. Do the same to the bottom of the container where you want the label to end and mark that down as the bottom circumference. For the label height, start from the top circumference and measure up to the bottom circumference.

Option 2. Use a sheet of paper.

Cut it in the size and shape you want, then lay it over the area you want to label. If you are satisfied with the way it looks on your product, take a ruler or measuring tape to record the paper's dimensions. This method works best for custom shapes as well.

If you have decided on the shape but are unsure about the size, we have printable label shapes and sizes you can use to measure against your container.

These are the most popular label sizes that PrintRunner offers. They are free to download and print so you can see first-hand what label size and shape would look best on your product.

Choose PrintRunner for Your Label Printing Needs

Now that you know what kind of labels you need, you can order them directly from PrintRunner. We guarantee premium label printing, flexible turnarounds, and a hassle-free order experience for our customers. You can easily design and print event and wedding labels to suit all types of applications.

Upload your own design, customize your preferred label size, shape, and material, confirm your order, and you're good to go! Our print experts can also provide free proofs at checkout to ensure your artwork file meets guidelines and prints exactly how you want your labels to look.

Not sure what type of label fits your budget? PrintRunner's product order calculator automatically generates the price for your selected printing options. You can also choose your preferred shipping options and costs before confirming your order.

If you are in a rush, we offer a variety of printing turnarounds you can choose from. Our most popular custom labels have 1-business-day printing turnaround options if you're in a rush.

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I create my own custom labels?

Follow these steps to create and print your own labels with PrintRunner.
  1. Select the type of label you need.
  2. Choose your label format (cut-to-size, roll, sheet, or kiss-cut), shape, type of paper, and quantity.
  3. Upload your own design or create your own with our design tool.
  4. Submit your design for FREE proofing.
  5. Select Checkout to complete your order.

How do I create a custom-shaped label?

If your design does not match any standard label shapes we offer, you can choose Custom on the order calculator. Then, select the design dimensions to trim your labels according to their exact size and shape.

Do you offer free label samples?

Yes, you can request a free sample kit and have it delivered to your address. This kit includes samples of popular print products like stickers and labels, a materials swatch kit, and information about sizing and folding.

Do I see a proof before printing?

Yes, you can request a free proof together with your order. Our prepress team will check your design for any technical errors before it goes to print, free of charge. We will e-mail you a PDF file for your approval.

How soon can I receive my order?

You can select your preferred printing turnaround time plus shipping transit time on the order calculator. Just input your ZIP code to get rates and the estimated shipping arrival dates.

Looking for more resources on product labels? Take a look at these articles!