5 Important Design Rules in Packaging Using Stickers and Labels

5 Important Design Rules in Packaging Using Stickers and Labels

When we talk about designing custom packaging, we’re not referring to anything extravagant or super costly that should cause you to break out into sweats or keep you up late at night. 

To prove this, think about a brand that’s a market leader in the sauce and condiment world: Heinz Tomato Ketchup is one of the best-selling brands of ketchup, and they supplement a practical design with an undeniable brand identity just by using labels and stickers.

So when it comes to product packaging, if the design is good and you know how to make the most of it, your product will absolutely stand out, and with great success too. And expressing brand identity can start by having some fun with stickers and labels.

There are just a few things to know about using those sticky pieces of marketing goodness.  

Designing your packaging using labels and stickers

1. Minimalism avoids identity theft

We know it feels great to have authority over your own packaging design, but remember that design does not have to be a lot of things. Effective product presentation doesn’t only include what goes into your design, but also what gets taken out. You don’t want to go overboard and end up with a cluttered or too-busy design.

Instead, to draw attention to your product, pay attention to the white space. Contrary to what some might think, this extra space on your product label is not a “waste” of space or a lost opportunity to market your product and brand. Think about it, without any white space, everything will look the same. We want to make sure you stand out. 

Position your labels and stickers in the best way you see fit, but keep it simple to draw the most focus to the brand. That is your identity –you don’t want it to get lost amidst your design. 

2. Keep it crystal clear
Keep your label and sticker design (and all the text in it) clean to optimize customer understanding and usability. Choose a text that ensures your brand name is legible, contrasted against an appropriate background. Aside from your brand name, another thing that should be immediately clear to your customer is what your product is used for. Guessing games are no fun here, boo.

We know you’re an incredibly smart cookie, but remember to keep all that linguistic genius to a minimum when designing your product’s packaging. Again, simplicity is key here to convey what you want to say to your customers in the most impactful way. 

3. Careful where you put that thing!

When you’re determining placement for your label, think a little to the future. If you’re planning on using brown or white corrugated boxes, your packages will likely get slapped with shipping labels in a very visible way. The last thing you want is to put your label on the side or top of shipping box where its beautiful face will get disfigured by those boring old slips. 

In fact, great news: the outside packaging of your product does not have to be the end-all as far as stickers go. If your product is something precious like jewelry, watches or even art work, you might not want to draw too much attention by broadcasting the content on your shipping box. 

You can always create an entirely separate unboxing experience by including another set of packaging inside your shipping container. Here you can go crazy on your design (not too crazy, we talked about this), where you’re able to focus on placement without having to work around shipping and packaging eyesores. 

4. Be more than just a pretty face
While the aesthetics of your packaging is an incredibly important piece in marketing your product, design means more than being pretty. You want your packaging and label design to serve a functional purpose. Ask yourself, what do you want your customers to do? Is your packaging label purely informational or is there a call to action? 

Our two cents – you’ve worked way too hard to have a customer read your packaging labels, unbox your product, and not do anything beyond saying some ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’. You want the outcome of your packaging and design to ultimately benefit your brand, be it through increased sales, an amazing customer review, or word-of-mouth promotion.

Try and include something in your design that drives people back to your website and to help build brand loyalty. This can include asking for feedback, filling out a customer survey, or including a coupon code to incentivize another purchase. Get creative with this! 

5. Stay inspired
One incredibly important value to always hold onto during your design process is your motivation and creativity. You’ve already made it this far, fueled by your innovative and out-of-box thinking; but the journey should not come to an end once you’ve figured out a design. Keeping your packaging design static and fresh is especially doable when you’re using labels and stickers. 

Change up your product’s outfit with the seasons or with a cause you’re passionate about. It doesn’t have to cost a lot. It can be as simple as changing colors or adding a pattern to your background (think red hearts for Valentines or an orange sticker to represent the Fall colors). Remember that your customers can often be occasion-specific shoppers, looking around the market for specific goods around specific times of the year for things like birthdays, baby-showers, bachelorette parties, or holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas. You want these people to be drawn to your product, meeting their holiday or seasonal needs and matching the spirit that those times bring! 

And don’t forget that your design does not just end with your (amazing) logo. There are a ton of free resources out there for packaging design inspiration – use them! Make your design process a real experience – look around, see what’s out there, and make magic happen.

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.

Also in Blog

Custom packaging: Which printing method is best for your e-commerce shipping boxes?
Custom packaging: Which printing method is best for your e-commerce shipping boxes?

The custom packaging world can be somewhat daunting. There’s the usual manufacturing or printing jargon and then there are upfront set up costs. For a growing start-up or small business that’s looking to switch from plain U-line boxes to something more personalized that shows off your brand, here are a few things to consider that will determine the right printing method for your custom printed boxes.

View full article →


When was the last time you thought about your unboxing experience? For most online businesses, the answer is normally never. Packaging in the e-commerce industry is mostly seen as a necessity for protecting what the customer ordered. In any case, as e-commerce evolves further and as consumer habits change, delivering the ultimate brand experience will require extending beyond the product itself and into the whole experience.

In this post, you’ll learn precisely how critical a branded unboxing experience is along with all the instruments and assets you need to deliver that ‘wow’ to your customers.

View full article →

BOX APPETIT: The Perfect Recipe to Creating a Successful Subscription Box Business
BOX APPETIT: The Perfect Recipe to Creating a Successful Subscription Box Business

For subscription box owners and subscription dreamers, recurring revenue on a monthly basis is the ticket to success; your gateway to the hills of Hollywood. No e-commerce entrepreneur has been able to reach stability with a one time sale- it’s all about repeat business!

Here’s a recipe to make sure you don’t skip a step as you grow your box empire.

View full article →