7 Golden Rules for Designing Private Brand Product Labels

Private brands are on the rise since the economic crisis. They are the retailers’ response to traditional brands: affordable products produced for the retailer brand, under dedicated brand names. Their main characteristic being low price, private brands tend to be associated with lower quality as well. Plus, they cannot be promoted through the established advertising channels (that would automatically increase the cost of marketing and, thus, the sale cost).

Given these restrictions, what are the designers’ challenges in designing labels for these products? How much creativity can be packed into a creative brief that has one main requirement: adequate pricing to the client’s low cost policy?

Private brands are on the rise, so there is no getting away from private brands design commissions if you want to make a living as a freelance graphic designer. Therefore, these are the 7 golden rules of private label design principles.

1. Stick to the Client’s Visual Identity

Retailers are fighting very hard to build a visual identity to compete with national brands. They will not admit any creative deviations from their branded colors, fonts and distinguishing branding elements.

2. Convey the Right Message

Private label products have a specific target market: people who live on a tight budget, but who strive to get a fair price/quality ratio. Your label design must express that by avoiding pretentiousness. You do that by avoiding designs associated with luxury products: purple, silver and gold colors, graphic elements such as crowns.

3. Keep It Simple

Any product label has to be simple and easy to read. You are not designing a work of art for the Metropolitan Museum, but a visual means to help a person identify a product and find the kind of information they need to make a purchase decision quickly.

4. Make It Explicit

If a person needs to do a double take at the product label to identify the type of product, then it is badly designed. There is no need to reinvent the wheel here. Whatever creativity you want to unleash, don’t extend it to the basic product presentation.

5. Be Honest

Nobody will believe that the olive oil was hand pressed in Italy by happy farmers. Or that the plum jam is home made with absolutely no preservatives. Do not embellish your label designs with misleading elements. An honest label sells more than an unbelievable one.

6. Be Practical

Allocate the correct amount of time to your label designs. Do not slave over them and doubt your ideas, if they are in line with the client’s requirements. You will not get any design awards for product labels.

7. Make It Sustainable

Do not fall victim to current trends. Private brands, contrary to national brands, do not like to update their branding very frequently, as a cost cutting measure. Imagine that the label you design today must be relevant 5 years from now.

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Ionut B
Digital Art Director with an innovative creative thinking able to translate ideas and concepts into useful and memorable interactive marketing campaigns.

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