Finding the right custom label printer is not as straightforward as it may seem. With printing technologies constantly advancing—almost as fast as customer demands—you have endless options when it comes to materials, techniques, sizes, and more.
Today, a label is more than a sticker you slap on your bottles or cans. A label has to perform so many functions: attract, inform, caution about dangers, comply with state and federal legislation—just to name a few.
These functions are even more important in highly competitive industries like wine, craft beer, and spirits, or in regulated ones like cannabis. So it’s crucial that you choose the right label printer who can understand your vision and help make your products shine.
5 Tips on Choosing the Right Custom Label Printer for Your Brand
There is no one-size-fits-all in label printing. Different companies, and different products, have different needs. You need a labeling expert that can help you create a one-of-a-kind label.
1. The Ideal Label Printer Is Flexible
Most label printers will give you a list of options or start with close-ended questions:
- Matte or glossy finish?
- Hot foil or embossing?
- Regular or premium stock?
Questions like these drastically reduce your chances to create a label that stands out from the crowd. They automatically narrow your choices and put your brand in a very tight box. And they don’t consider how your product will be bottled, shipped, stored, and displayed.
A good label printer should offer you flexibility and an endless array of choices—because they do exist! However, this means taking the time to understand your brand and your vision, as well as the legal requirements in your industry, something very few label printing companies want to invest time in.
At AWT, we take great pride in our work for wineries, distilleries, breweries, cannabis product producers, and more. The labels we print inform, attract, and make the product shine. But we know that we couldn’t have delivered these results without a partnership with our clients, who take the time to explain their brand vision so we can offer them the options they need.
2. Choose a Printing Company with Expertise in Your Field
It may seem like printing is the same for every industry. A label is a label, right? Wrong. Wine labels have very different requirements from spirit labels, and cannabis is a completely unique beast. If you really want labels that don’t look like those of your competitors, and take into consideration your product’s specific needs, you should work with a custom label printer with expertise in your industry.
In all our years working with wineries, for instance, we have learned a lot about the industry’s standards and what we can do to help our customers surpass them. The same goes for distilleries, breweries, and all the industries we have expertise in—because we have taken the time to understand industry-specific needs and legal requirements, we can offer products that are eye-catching, value-enhancing, and functional. Our customers come to us for the most innovative labeling solutions.
3. Opt for a Real Partner
A powerful label means teamwork. You need a copywriter for the text, a designer for the branding and design, and a printing company to get the final result.
Oftentimes though, the printing company is involved only in the last stage. But a printer with experience can advise you every step of the way. The design of the label influences printing options, so it’s crucial that you find a label company that can advise the designer and the brand team from the very beginning.
At AWT, we pride ourselves on being a consultative partner through the entire label process.
4. A Label Printing Company Should Ask the Right Questions
If the companies on your shortlist start off by asking you about the type of paper and the finish, beware. A good custom label printing company should start by asking you about:
- Your brand and its values
- Your bottles or packages
- Your eco-friendly initiatives
- How the product will be labeled, shipped, stored, and sold
- Compliance requirements in your industry
- Direct competitors
Only by asking these questions in the very early stages will they be able to offer you the options you need to create a label that complements and enhances your product.
5. Price Isn’t Everything
You should always compare prices. But you should also remember that price isn’t everything.
Yes, budget is a consideration. In printing, however, a low price is almost never indicative of good quality. And if a printer is focused solely on price, they may miss important details like how you need the labels rolled.
We all know how much first impressions matter. A good label can help your products fly off the shelves (in-person and online) and help new customers discover you. On the other hand, a bad label will make potential customers turn away. Remember: they don’t know how good your product is yet. They need something to catch their eye so they are tempted to try it for the first time.
Wrapping Things Up
It’s easy to treat labels as basic stickers and place an order with a few clicks just as soon as you’ve found the lowest price on the market. However, if the label doesn’t work for your product, all you’ve done is waste money.
It’s not just about the money you spent on the actual labels. If the labels don’t attract and entice (as they should!) you’ll also be leaving a lot of money on the table and perhaps even compromise the launch of your product.