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Five Tips for Food Product Label Design

Designing food product labels can be both exciting and challenging. The fun is in creating a great design that captures the essence of the food and the company behind it. The challenge is in crafting a marketable design that wins sales from the competition for the right target audience. Here are five tips for food product label design you can employ to keep your products going through the checkout lane:

Know thy audience

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The person-in-charge likely has tons of information about the food and the company, so those things shouldn't be difficult to find. What is perhaps more important is the customer: You have to know what your customers are looking for before you even begin to sketch design concepts. What problems do your customers have, and how does this food product solve it? Food product labels have to do everything any product label does, but so much more. They must also promote fresh and quality ingredients, sanitary cooking processes and convey delicious flavor. You also have to understand audience expectations. If they want an Italian dish, they're looking for Italian colors - green, red and white. You can also capture a snapshot of your target audience - think of a rough 'n touch cowboy on beef jerky packaging. Keep in mind that demographics such as income level also come into play here: This is why economy green beans are packaged to look generic while Green Giant green beans are adorned with the famous giant. The same product, packaged differently for different customers.

Know thy competition

We've covered audience expectations, which is why the Italian aisle of any grocery is filled with green and red packaging. Still, it's a wonder why so many companies continue to put out food labels that are so similar to one another. This makes it extremely difficult - if not impossible - to stand out. Your food product label designs should be markedly different from your competitors'. This isn't to say that you should ignore customer expectations, but that you should meet them in a new and profound way that gets attention and sets you apart from your competitors.

Show the food

Design your label with a clear see-through section so shoppers can actually see the food. Images of food on the labels are one thing, but actually getting to see the tasty treat that could be yours in just a few short minutes is priceless.

Highlight ingredients and features

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The image of a dew-covered tomato is almost cliché, yet it works. Instead of depicting your food on your packaging, show the fresh ingredients that went into making it. You should also highlight features so they're easy to see - organic logos, award/contest winnings, taste-test votes, preparation techniques, the original ingredient - anything that sets you apart.

Design for post-sale marketing

Many of your customers will more fully read your packaging once they return home, so the back of your label (or even the inside) provide prime real estate for your continued marketing efforts. One of the most effective techniques is to include recipes that use other ingredients made by the food company. Kraft has mastered this technique to the point that the company even distributes a recipe magazine. Food label marketing is fun, but it's not easy. Follow these tips for designing food labels to get your products on the shelf, on the table, and into your customers' bellies fast!