Label design and printing is a complex but crucial part of product manufacturing. But it’s also the part where simple mistakes are bound to occur despite how large or small your operation is.
And if these errors are overlooked, you’d have to deal with issues like misbranding and product recalls. Plus, it reduces the trust consumers place in your products and leads to a loss of brand reputation.
So, in this article, we’ve covered the 5 most common printing and labelling errors and how you can totally avoid them. Here’s what’s covered:
1. Improper Color Consistency
Maintaining colour consistency on all your labels is important as it helps consumers recognize your brand and products. For example, Cadbury’s signature purple and Pepsi’s blue, red, and white have helped us develop recognition for these brands.
But achieving the same colors across all labels and products has become a challenge as the colors on the packaging material look different from that on the computer screen.
This is because of factors like bad color configuration on the designer’s monitor, incorrectly calibrated printers, or printing substances like laminates and varnishes that distort the color.
And to avoid this most common error, here are a few tips you can follow:
- Configure your printer for the CMYK color configuration as it gives the closest results to the label on your screen, even if you’re using sustainable packaging materials.
- Make sure your printer hardware and software are updated regularly.
- Use color calibration tools, so your screen has the right color consistency.
- Make use of a spectrophotometer to evaluate label color and monitor color accuracy throughout label production.
- Use color extractor to detect CMYK & Pantone colors in your artwork files and ensure the files with the right color configuration are sent to your printers.
2. Grainy, Blurry, Or Pixelated Images
The images on your product label attract consumers and nudge them to buy the product.
So, having blurry images on your product labels will negatively impact your sales and brand perception, especially if you’re in the food or cosmetic industry.
Although there are several reasons for blurry images on your labels, print and file errors are the most common ones.
The former occurs because of faulty plates in the printer or because the file wasn’t saved in the proper format. And the latter error happens because photographic images were stretched beyond their resolution, resulting in a blurry image. Here’s how you can avoid these errors:
- Use vector images wherever possible to maintain a crisp resolution as they don’t get pixelated even if they’re enlarged.
- Maintain a resolution of 300 dpi for a decent image and 600 dpi and above for a crisp and clean image.
3. Barcode Mistakes
Barcode errors can lead to hefty fines and chargebacks and cost your business dearly. And the most common causes of these errors are misprints, usage of wrong materials, and poor printer choice.
Luckily all of these causes can be avoided by following a few simple tips like the ones mentioned below:
- Save the barcode in the right vector format (.EMS .EPS), so unwanted shadows, spots, and other figures don’t appear on your label.
- If the misprinting is occurring because the printer is printing too fast, slow down your printer. Also, clean and maintain your printer properly, so you don’t get printhead dents and ink smudges on your label.
- Maintain the recommended UPC or EAN size (1.469″ x 1.02″) for printing your barcodes. You can enlarge it to a maximum of 2.938″ x 2.04″ or reduce it to a minimum of 1.175″ x 0.816″ while maintaining a height-width ratio of 0.694.
4. Unreadable Fonts
If your labels have unreadable fonts, consumers will not buy your products as they check labels to see what goes inside the products they use regularly.
This mostly happens because businesses tend to overlook the labelling requirements of organizations like the FDA. Plus, it’s hard to check for readability when managing hundreds of product labels for different products, SKUs, and retailers.
So, here are a few ways you can avoid these errors:
- Make sure that your font color and background contrast and your labels don’t have any obscuring graphics or vignettes that hamper the font readability.
- Check out the FDA’s code of regulations to find the right font size for your product. And if you don’t want to trudge through pages of legalese, check out our FDA guides for various products in the resource section.
- Use a label management software like Artwork Flow which has online measurement tools to check the font size. You can also check the font type on your label with a font finder tool, so you know you’re using the right font.
5. Missing Basic Legal Requirements
Every label must adhere to the FDA’s legal requirements for distribution across the United States. It must have a statement of identity, quantity declaration, manufacturer’s address, nutritional facts label (if you’re selling food and beverages, supplementary facts label (for dietary supplements), ingredients list, and appropriate warning statements.
Inspection managers and product managers have also reported recalls because these statements were positioned incorrectly. And to avoid these errors, here are a few tips you can follow:
- Create a checklist of FDA requirements your team can use to check for errors. All our FDA guides in the resource section come with checklists, and if you’re using Artwork Flow, you can also use custom checklists to prevent these errors from occurring.
- Use a label management software and create an artwork creation and approval process, so your team doesn’t miss such errors. Artwork Flow helps you create workflows that streamline your artwork management process and ensure that your product reaches the shelves on time without being hit with compliance issues.
Although labels are thoroughly scrutinized, a few common errors are bound to slip through the cracks and cause massive ramifications for your product.
So, it’s best to use a label management software like Artwork Flow to ensure that you’re printing compliant and readable labels with the right color configuration.
You can check out our resource section for FDA checklists or directly sign-up for a 14-day trial if you want to optimize your labeling operations right away.