Label Design: A windy road to perfection...
Updated: May 23
Designing labels can be a huge task for an independent business and everyone you speak to will have a different opinion no matter their level of expertise. Right or wrong it's unavoidable, your label will be the first thing a potential customer or vendor sees and it's key that you let them reflect not only your personality, but also the stage your business is at and where you want to take it.
When starting out as a hot sauce producer in 2018, I knew it was important to have some sort of label for my bottles. I got a friend to knock me up a logo and set out on my own. I wanted my bottles to have that artisan, handmade look that only a brown "Kraft" tag can provide, and that's exactly what I got. At this early stage I wasn't particularly bothered about the look as just wanted to get my sauce out into the world and see if there was even a market for me to access. I nervously sent off bottles to a number of established Instagram reviewers hoping to get some complimentary feedback on the actual sauce and pretty much got slated straight off for my utterly unprofessional, budget labels. Not having a background in marketing I really hadn't even thought about it until then, I just wanted to make amazing sauce and sell it. How naive I was.
I stuck with those labels for a while longer though and what actually prompted me to rethink my packaging however, came down to two simple resources: space and time. Not only were the original labels very time consuming to attach, but I also needed more space for the additional information required by UK law; contact details, allergens and more recently nutritional information. I won't lie it still took a long time and almost weekly changes at one point (very easily done if you get yourself a printer and learn Photoshop via YouTube videos) to achieve the instantly recognisable bottles I have now that include easily accessible product information and conform with product labelling guidelines in the UK.
Fast Forward to Today
This was all tackled following advice from designers, customers, stockists, people in the pub, on the street and at home in combination with hours of time spent on the web finding just the right size labels for my chosen bottles. I'm still producing sauce at home (albeit churning out hundred bottle batches not tens) and looking to access a far wider market than my local South London community. I hope my labels reflect that... I think I'm finally getting there but you can decide the answer to that for yourselves.