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Ultimate Guide to Custom Labels

There is more to creating the perfect product label than just clicking print. We’ve been printing custom labels for nearly two decades. We know how important it is that your product tells a simple yet outstanding story, and we’re experts at creating labels that help you do that. We’re proud of our work and want to help you produce a label that matches the excellence of your product. We’ve compiled all the resources you’ll need to help you design and print the best labels for your product.

Quote & Order Now

Expert Guidance to Help You Create the Best Labels for Your Product

We’ll equip you with information for making essential decisions like how to choose a printer, how to choose a shape and determine a size, how to choose a material and finish option, how to design your labels, order and so much more!

Labels for Your Products

Today’s consumers are awash in brand choices. Products that end up in shopping carts are the ones that attract buyers. A well-designed custom label will motivate shoppers to pick up or click on a product and may even be the deciding factor in whether or not they make a purchase.

Shop by Product Type

From supplements to cosmetic products, we can print labels for almost any industry. Shop for the best custom label options by your product type.

Shop Labels by Product Type

Shop by Material Type

Choose from waterproof options like Plastic (BOPP), or pick an eco-friendly label option like Kraft Paper, Avon Classic Crest®, or TerraSkin®. We have 14 label material options to choose from.

Shop Labels by Material Type

Popular Labels

White BOPP Labels

Waterproof, Oil-resistant, Durable

Metallic Labels

Waterproof, Oil-resistant, Durable

Clear Labels

Waterproof, Oil-resistant, Durable

Holographic Labels

Waterproof, Oil-resistant, Durable

Custom Labels vs. Custom Stickers

Custom labels and stickers can both be used to promote your brand and engage with customers, but they serve two distinct purposes. Custom labels are primarily informational and are designed to be applied directly to your product packaging. They contain the information that tells consumers the details about what’s in the product, how it’s intended to be used, and the potential benefits of using it.

Custom Label Example:

Example of custom product labels on a roll.

Stickers, in contrast, are mainly used for promotional purposes. Companies may include stickers along with an order or give them away at promotional events. Stickers can even take the form of a product that you sell. Like labels, stickers are likely to encounter a range of different environmental conditions like frequent exposure to sunlight, moisture, or oils. So, just like you would when ordering labels, consider how your stickers are most likely to be used and select a sticker material that can stand up to the task.

Custom Sticker Example:

Example of custom printed stickers on a roll.

Determining the Best Way to Print Your Labels

As you begin the custom label journey, you’ll need to decide whether you’ll be printing your own labels in-house or sourcing them from a professional label printer. Understanding your potential volume should help you determine which path to take.

If you’re an entrepreneur starting a business on a budget, printing your own labels might be the best option at first. Keep in mind that printing your own labels involves investment in and maintenance of a printer and ink, label sheets, and also requires a good bit of your time. Investing in a home printer can cost around $300-500, but enables you to print a handful of the exact labels you need right when you need them.

If your time is better spent managing other aspects of your business, or if your business grows to a scale where printing labels takes more time than you’re able to spend, upgrading to professional label printing is the best choice. Outsourcing label printing saves time and can be much more economical in the long run. You do not have to constantly order more label sheets and ink or worry about keeping up your printing equipment. Choosing a professional printer that has an easy online ordering system makes this process all the more simple, allowing you to get back to your business.

When taking the professional printing route, you can either go with a digital or flexographic printer to fulfill your labeling needs.

Flexographic vs. Digital Printing

What is Flexographic Printing?

● A method of printing that uses flexible printing plates made of rubber or plastic.

● Each plate is rotated on a cylinder and coated with fast-drying ink.

● The material is passed between the print plate and impression roller.

● Commonly used for product labels and direct thermal labels.

Benefits of Flexographic Printing

● Enhanced durability: the best solution for labels that require a longer shelflife or those that will be used outdoors.

● Speed of production: uses fast-drying inks that allow presses to add one color after the next quickly; laminating, die-cutting, cold foiling, other options can be integrated into the press line, making production continuous, even for large quantities.

● Color precision: inks can be mixed by hand to control color output.

● Lower cost for large-scale print jobs.

Drawbacks of Flexographic Printing

● Plate cost: plates have to be made or purchased for each color in the image, requiring a high start-up cost.

● Registration: movement and shifting occurs as printed labels move from one plate to the next, making it nearly impossible to layer colors precisely, resulting in lower quality.

● Order volume: a majority of flexo printers have MOQ’s (minimum order quantities).

What is Digital Printing?

● Files are sent directly from your computer to the press operating system.

● Digital technology prints images directly onto the material instead of requiring plates.

● Digital printing presses deposit toner onto the material (substrate).

Benefits of Digital Printing

● Minimal setup: plates do not need to be created, allowing for quick turnaround times for large and small jobs.

● Higher image quality: digital images are printed as one image, rather than on layers, which results in higher resolution images.

● Lower cost for short runs: minimal setup time eliminates a high starting price, resulting in a lower cost for short runs.

● Flexibility: labels can be changed or updated easily at little or no additional cost, and there are no color limitations

Drawbacks of Digital Printing

● High cost of large runs: digitally printed labels are more expensive individually, and digital presses have a limit to their efficiency, making them less affordable for large print jobs.

● Less durable: laminate can be added to increase durability, but these labels generally aren’t able to last as long as flexographic labels.

● Lower color accuracy: color range is limited and more difficult to control.

● Limited materials: cannot print on heat-sensitive materials, since digital presses use a heat-sensitive process.

Learn More: Printing Your Own Labels vs. Professional Label Printing

Deciding on a Digital Label Printer

If you’ve chosen digital printing, you’ll next need to decide which digital printer to partner with. There are many digital printers operating in the industry, so finding the right one for your business is simply a matter of comparing the features and benefits offered by each one. 

Speed, quality, and customer service are three important factors to review when shopping around for a printer. Speed not only in production but also in the ordering process and turnaround on communication can be a great indicator of a high-quality printer. Likewise, the quality of their website, content, and communication convey the type of service they’ll be able to provide.

Check out the information below to see how we compare with some of the other digital label printers out there!

Us

● Turnaround: 1 or 3 Days

● Minimum Order Quantity: None

● Material Options: 14

● Finish Options: 4

● Formats: Rolls or Stacks

● Label Design Services: Yes

● Payment Terms: Yes

● Business Account Shipping: Yes

Others

● Turnaround: 2 – 5 Days

● Minimum Order Quantity: 50 – 100

● Material Options: 5 – 12

● Finish Options: 2 – 3

● Formats: Rolls or Die Cut Stacks

● Label Design Services: No

● Payment Terms: No

● Business Account Shipping: No

Choosing a Label Shape

In general, most product labels are rectangular as they need to wrap around a container. However, you don’t need to put yourself in a box when it comes to choosing a label shape. You can easily take your branding to the next level by using a round label on square packaging, oval labels on jars and bottles, or even creating an entirely new custom shape. If you have a tapered or irregularly shaped container, you might need to opt for a custom-shaped label.

Determining a Label Size

Once you’ve decided on a label shape, you’ll need to determine the label size. A common misconception is that there are one-size-fits-all label sizes for every product, but this is simply not the case. Just as there are a wide variety of bottles, jars, tins, bags, boxes, tubes, etc. to package your products in, so too are there a wide variety of label sizes available to apply to those containers. A well-fitted label communicates thoughtfulness on your part and subtly lets your customers know that you care about product quality at every level.

Fortunately, it’s very easy to find the perfect label size for your product! We’ve created a step-by-step guide to help you, and we’ve also compiled some commonly used sizes by product in case you’d like to skip the arts and crafts.

Learn more: What Size Label Do I Need For My Product?

Recommended Label Sizes by Packaging Type

Popular Label Sizes for Bottles

Wide Mouth Capsule Bottle – 2.000” x 6.000” Rectangle

Long Neck and ISB Beer Bottles – 3.000” x 7.000” Rectangle

Bomber Beer Bottles – 5.000” x 5.000” Square

High Shoulder Wine Bottles – 4.500″ x 3.000″ Rectangle Square Corners

Sloping Shoulder Wine Bottles – 3.250″ x 3.250″ Square Square Corners

Boston Round Bottles – 2.750″ x 5.000″ Rectangle

750 ml Wine Bottle – 4.500″ x 3.000″ Rectangle Square Corners

50 ml Mini Bottle – 2.000″ x 3.000″ Rectangle Square Corners

0.5 oz / 15 ml Dropper Bottles – 1.250” x 2.500” Rectangle

1 oz / 30 ml Dropper Bottles – 1.750” x 4.000” Rectangle

2 oz / 60 ml Dropper Bottle – 2.000” x 4.000” Rectangle

Popular Label Sizes for Cans

12 oz Beer Cans – 3.500″ x 4.000″ Rectangle

16 oz (Pint) Beer Cans – 5.000″ x 7.500″ Rectangle

Popular Label Sizes for Bags

Side-Gusseted Bags – 2.500″ x 5.500″ Rectangle Square Corners

Square Bottom Bags – 4.000″ x 5.000″ Rectangle

Stand Up Pouches – 3.500″ x 3.500″ Square

Popular Label Sizes for Lip Balm Tubes

0.15 oz Lip Balm Tubes –
2.125” x 2.125” Rectangle with Perforated Tamper Seal
1.750″ x 2.000″ Rectangle Square Corners

0.5 oz Lip Balm Tubes –
2.700” x 3.300” Rectangle with Perforated Tamper Seal
2.650″ x 2.750″ Rectangle

Popular Label Sizes for Jars

4 oz Jars – 1.375″ x 7.000″ Rectangle

8 oz Jars – 2.500″ x 3.500″ Rectangle Square Corners

16 oz Jars – 2.500″ x 5.000″ Rectangle Square Corners

Mason Jars – 3.250″ x 3.000″ Rectangle

Straight-Sided Jars – 1.500″ x 7.000″ Rectangle

Selecting a Label Material

Selecting a label material is a matter of both form and function. First, consider your product and the environment in which it will be stored, transported, and used. Bath and body care products usually need waterproof polypropylene (plastic) labels to endure frequent contact with water. Coffee and tea packaging can be paired with specialty paper materials that are designed to enhance aesthetic appeal rather than withstand the elements.

Bag of coffee with a custom label laying next to a mug and coffee beans.


White Plastic (commonly referred to as BOPP) is hands down the most popular label material because it is well-suited for virtually any application. Waterproof, oil-resistant, and easy to apply, this label material is the perfect choice for novice brands and experienced manufacturers alike. Furthermore, this label material is as economical as it is durable, so you get plenty of bang for your buck. Plastic is also available in Metallic, Clear, and Ultra-Clear options for further customization.

Bright yellow supplements laying next to an open bottle with a holographic label.

Learn more: Ultimate Guide to Label Materials and Finishes

Choosing a Label Finish

Finalize your label look by choosing between a gloss or matte finish. Gloss finishes add extra shine and saturation to colors on your label, creating an eye-catching look that’s sure to wow. Matte finishes create a non-glare, understated look, heightening the contrast on metallic labels and adding a frosted aspect to clear labels.

Clear matte label on a bottle of body oil. A red rose lays next to it.

Request free samples

Unique products deserve extraordinary labels! With us, it’s easy to create labels that meet your needs, exceed your expectations and help you sell more products. Log in or create an account and complete the request form to have all our materials in your hands within a matter of days for testing.

Determining Your Application Method

Do you know how you’ll apply your labels once you receive them? Will you be applying each label by hand, using a label applicator, or will you send them to a third-party manufacturer who will fill and package your product? 

Hand Application

If you are a small business just starting out or are making small batches of products, you might likely start out applying your labels by hand. Tons of people do this, and it’s a lot easier than you think! We’ve got three methods that work wonders.

1. The Inside-Out Method

Peel the label completely from the backing and apply the middle of the label to the container. Working from center, smooth the label from the inside all the way to the outer edges, making sure no air bubbles are left.

2. The Band-Aid Method

Peel only one edge from the backing. Apply the exposed edge to your container. Using your hand or a straight-edge tool, flatten the label to the container from the seam, and pull away the backing paper at the same time.

3. The Template Method

Create an inverse template of your label from a piece of paper or cardboard. The template will help you apply your label in the exact same spot on your container every time.

Learn more: Methods for Applying Your Labels by Hand

Machine Application

If you are using a label dispenser, applicator, or are partnering with a copacker to label your product, you will need to know what roll direction to request from your label printer. The roll direction, sometimes known as the unwind direction, refers to how your labels are oriented as they’re unrolled. 

Roll direction is indicated by numbers 1-4. Each number corresponds to a specific orientation of the label on the roll. If you’re handling the product labeling yourself rather than working with a partner, your label applicator machine’s product manual will give you a heads up on what roll direction you’ll need. If your manufacturer or co-packer is taking care of label application, ask them what roll direction and number your labels should be. 

Roll Direction #1 means that the top edge of the design comes off of the roll first.

Label roll mockup showing roll direction number one. The top edge of the design comes off the roll first.

Roll Direction #2 means that the bottom edge of the design comes off of the roll first.

Label roll mockup showing roll direction number two. The bottom edge of the design comes off the roll first.

Roll Direction #3 means that the right edge of the design comes off of the roll first.

Label roll mockup showing roll direction number three. The right edge of the design comes off the roll first.

Roll Direction #4 means that the left edge of the design comes off of the roll first.

Label roll mockup showing roll direction number four. The left edge of the design comes off the roll first.

Learn more: How to Determine Your Label Roll Direction

Creating Your Label Design

You have plenty of options when designing your label: using robust graphic design software like Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop, using an online graphic design tool like Canva to create the design, or hiring a professional graphic designer. There’s no right or wrong choice. The amount of time you have to invest, your own prior graphic design experience, and your budget are all factors to weigh into your decision.

One way to streamline the design and printing process is to find a label printer that also specializes in design. At Frontier, we would love to partner with you on design work for your custom labels, so feel free to inquire about our design services. We’ve been in the industry for quite a while, so we have the skills and expertise needed to create beautiful custom labels for your business.

Graphic prepress artist editing designs for custom labels via Adobe Creative Suite.

When designing your custom labels, always be sure to do research on any special requirements or regulations the FDA and other organizations might have for your particular product. We’ve done a good bit of research ourselves and have compiled some guides to help get you started.

How to Design an FDA-Approved Supplement Label

How to Label Your CBD Product

How to Create FDA Approved Hand Sanitizer Labels

How to Correctly Label Cosmetics

Custom Label Design Tips

Designing your own product labels can be a rewarding experience as you bring your creative vision to life. Here are five pro tips to keep in mind as you design your labels.

1. Conduct counterintelligence.

Knowing what your competitors’ product packaging looks like will make it easier to design a label that’s truly unique. Additionally, you don’t want consumers to confuse your brand with the competition. Invest some time to research the competition. As you explore, make note of what’s working well and brainstorm how you could do it better. Remember, shoppers have plenty of options to choose from. For your products to stand out, they need to look more compelling than the other options on the physical or digital shelf.

Before you ever contact a graphic designer or sit down in front of your computer, you’ll want to answer some important questions. This information will help to guide you as you create your label design.

Define your target audience:

●      What type of consumer is most likely to buy your product?

●      Are they younger, middle-aged, or older?

●      What’s most important to them?

●      What type of label design is most likely to appeal to them?

●      Are they more likely to be drawn to something high-energy and fun or prefer a more refined, classic look?

Define your competition:

●      What’s already being done by existing brands?

●      What are your competitors doing well with their branding?

●      Where do you see an opening to improve on what’s already out there?

●      Is there an unmet niche or product marketing need that your brand could fill?

2. Make it eye-catching.

Don’t underestimate the power of a single, high-quality graphic or an engaging pattern. The strategic use of a professionally designed illustration or image can add interest and increase the chances your product attracts attention in the sea of other choices available to shoppers.

3. Set the mood with your color choices.

Colors have the power to engage emotion. Each color and hue creates a different response in a viewer. The color you choose for your custom labels can add a youthful energy, instill calm, generate excitement, or produce a sense of mystery. Use colors strategically to reflect your brand, product, and feeling you want to create in your audience. 

Learn more: How to Effectively Use Color in Your Label Design

4. Harness the power of strategic font use.

A font choice or combination can command attention from advertisement-weary consumers. By varying the size of your fonts, you can emphasize certain text you want the eye to focus on first. The style of fonts you choose can help support your branding message too. For example, an elegant, flowing script sends a different message than a bold, chunky font. When designing your labels, you’ll want to think about not just what you say, but the font you choose to say it with.

5. Sometimes less is more.

It can be tempting to fill every square inch of space on a product label with text and graphics, but to do so would be a mistake. People are bombarded with enormous amounts of advertising copy and images each day. Adding to the stimulus overload isn’t going to increase your chances of making a sale. Use blank space to your advantage, leaving the areas around important text or graphic elements. This blank space will draw the eye to the areas you want viewers to focus on.

Consider the content that needs to be included on the label. All effective product labels have a few things in common: quality graphics, strategically combined fonts, effective use of blank space, and a compelling marketing message. These key ingredients are the difference between a mediocre label and a highly effective one. If you have a food or beverage product, you’ll need an information panel. For cosmetics and supplements, you’ll also need to follow FDA label guidelines. 

Learn more: 10 Characteristics of a Well-Designed Product Label

Ordering Custom Labels

Once you’ve chosen your label shape and size, decided on a material and laminate, and finalized the design, you’re ready to place an order for custom labels. 

We make ordering your label simple and efficient with our Quote and Order Tool. Use the tool to give us details of your product label design, and we’ll help you execute your vision. If you’re still not sure which material will look best with your label, create an account on our homepage, and we’ll gladly send you samples of all of our materials

How Custom Labels are Printed

After we receive your order, your label goes to our prepress team, who reviews it with an expert eye and sends any edits back to you to make sure you’re satisfied. Then we send your design through our digital printer that prints in millions of vibrant CMYK color combinations. After your label is printed, we laminate it, cut it, and then ship it to you in a matter of days. With our digital printer, we don’t have to use plates, which saves us time and cuts your cost. Digital printing allows us to match the quality of your labels to the quality of your brand. 

Digital press operator proofing designs for custom labels.

Our team works with our partners to provide custom product labeling solutions. We also work directly with business owners who’ve chosen to handle their labeling in-house, as well as directly with product manufacturers. No matter what your label printing and application needs are, we can help.

Frequently Asked Questions

Pricing

How much are custom labels?

The minimum cost for a label order is around $250-260. Size, shape, label material, and the number of labels all influence the final cost for a custom label order.

How can I get a quote?

You can receive a quote by using our Live Quote Tool. The tool is quick and easy to use and is always up-to-date with current pricing. If you need assistance with generating a quote, contact our friendly Experience Team for help.

Turnaround Time

What is your turnaround time?

Our standard processing time is about three business days from the time you place your order–in other words, really, really fast. Additional features added to your order may require additional processing time which we indicate clearly for you on the Live Quote page.

We also have an expedited processing option that removes two business days from your processing time, resulting in same-day turnaround in many cases (really, really, REALLY fast)!

Can you push my order to the top of the production list?

Yes! We have an expedited processing option that results in same-day turnaround in many instances. This quick processing is $295 for every 10,000 labels expedited.

Next-Day Label Printing: Get Your Custom Labels Fast!

Artwork

Can you design a label for me?

Yes! Our design team is able to take on projects intermittently as capacity allows. Fill out our Design Request form to let us know what you need done and our Prepress Team will reach out to you with next steps.

I have a label designed but I need to make changes. Can you make edits to my label file?

Yes! We are happy to help. Sometimes you just need someone to lend a hand. We can answer questions about preparing your files for print, offer design services for a fee, and can give feedback on work you’ve done yourself. Give us a call or start a Live Chat today!

Shipping

How much will shipping cost?

You can estimate your shipping charges right from our Live Quote Page! Just input your zip code to see available shipping options and prices. Additionally, all available shipping options will be listed with their exact prices at checkout.

Do you offer blind shipping?

Yes – we understand the need for privacy when it comes to your vendors. We can produce your label order without Frontier branding on the inner cores, on the shipping box, or packing slip. You will be able to select this option at checkout.

Do you offer international shipping?
Yes, we can ship your order internationally via UPS. You will be able to review available shipping options and pricing at checkout.

Can I ship on my own account?

Yes! You can input your proprietary UPS account number at checkout.

Talk to us about your custom label project

There’s a lot to consider when creating custom labels. Selecting the best shape, size, material, and price can be challenging. Our label experts are here to help make things simple.

Two customer service representatives discussing a custom label project.

We provide more than just labels. We provide real, practical business solutions that meet your unique and varied needs. Our team is motivated to see your business succeed, whether you need a hundred labels or hundreds of thousands every week. Get in touch by phone, chat, or from the contact form below!

Address

2 Task Industrial Court
Greenville, SC 29607

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9 AM — 6 PM ET
Monday — Friday

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Customer Reviews

Frontier Label
4.9
Based on 245 reviews
Chelsey F.
Chelsey F.
19:35 22 Nov 22
Incredible experience with Sttark! We ordered our custom labels recently and the quality of the label, the clarity of the print and the customer service was SUPERB. Not to mention, the amount of compliments we have received! I would HIGHLY... recommend anyone that might need custom labels to give Sttark your business. We will order from them again.read more
Dylan L.
Dylan L.
21:40 11 Nov 22
So happy with the quality, price, and service from Sttark (formerly Frontier). I recommend them to everyone I know that needs labels, and now custom boxes. I love the online quote tool and wide array of paper customizations.
Andrew C.
Andrew C.
19:14 10 Nov 22
I am a now a second time buyer through this company and they are the most professional people ive worked with . Their quality is outstanding and so is their customer service. I was in a little pinch on time and it was my fault for not... ordering in time but they really did everything they could do to ensure i got my labels on time... and that was my first experience using these guys. Will be a customer for liferead more
Sally C.
Sally C.
21:57 09 Nov 22
Genuinely the most helpful, quick and thoughtful customer service I have ever received from a vendor. They do an excellent job, and genuinely have made my life easier figuring out certain labelling issues.
Abba G.
Abba G.
00:50 09 Nov 22
very very good service!!!!!!!
Daniel C.
Daniel C.
20:00 07 Nov 22
I use Sttark for all my supplement labels. Easy ordering and quick turnaround. Print is always in register and shipped with no damage. Can't ask for more!!!
Lisa T.
Lisa T.
23:24 05 Nov 22
This was the easiest company to business with! They help us "newbies" every step of the way! Will would definitely recommend them to anyone! Thank you Sttark
Anthony “Prism Arts” P.
Anthony “Prism Arts” P.
05:30 05 Nov 22
This company got me out of a bind. Forever greatful.
Dmitriy R.
Dmitriy R.
19:34 04 Nov 22
Hands down the best labeling company. Their customer service is phenomenal and they know exactly what they are doing when it comes to printing quality labels.10/10 - wish I could give a higher rating.
Ronnie R.
Ronnie R.
20:28 10 Oct 22
Hi Quality service ...fast turn around an excellent company..!!
emyly B.
emyly B.
17:15 05 Oct 22
I am currently looking for beer can labels for my upcoming wedding! I went on the website and opened a chat. Wilbur was fantastic! He anticipated my needs. Asked questions that got me thinking about what I needed.... which at the moment I... wasn't sure of. But he knew exactly what that was. He was knowledgeable about the products and knew what would work and made suggestions. At the end of a short chat (say that 5 xs fast lol) , I was excited about receiving sample labels!!! SAMPLE LABELS!!! I cannot wait to get them.read more
Katie R.
Katie R.
16:37 05 Oct 22
Wilbur was great when we had a last minute change that needed to be updated before our order went to print. Super speedy and top tier customer service.
Kyle M.
Kyle M.
23:18 04 Oct 22
I have been using this company when it was still called Frontier label. Everything is prompt and the customer service is immaculate. Someone answers right away and they are always able to handle a situation with ease and resolve my issue
Sheree R.
Sheree R.
22:00 04 Oct 22
Was very pleased with the help they gave, and your customer service was very nice and friendly
Angels
Angels
21:25 04 Oct 22
Good service
Next Reviews