Be bold with colour and contrast in your label design

Our research into custom label and sticker design revealed that one of the most important tools for grabbing attention with labels is contrast. There are three ways this can be achieved – colour, size and bold designs.

priming the brain
Be bold with colour

Use colour in your label design

Think about a warning label. These are usually red with white writing or white with red writing so that the key health and safety information isn’t missed. With a bold coloured label, where important information is forced to stand out, people are more likely to remember it.

The same rule can be applied for your own labels where you use bold and contrasting colours to make key details about your product or package stand out. In a prior experiment, one researcher found that when searching for a business in a phone book, participants looked at the colour adverts before the black-and-white ones, and they also looked at them for 21% longer. Often small business owners prefer to print in black and white as it’s cheaper when printing labels yourselves, but this could actually cheapen the appearance of your product and also reduce the chances of potential customers actually noticing it. Remember people are prepared to pay more for products which convey quality.

Be bold with colour

Think about font size

Another way in which contrast can be achieved is through size. Previous research has shown, that regardless of the stimulus (e.g. text, image or shape) a larger size increases the chance of it being noticed and the length of time it is looked at for.

Researchers have found that the average gaze duration for a print advert increases by 0.8% for every 1% increase in its size.

Be bold with colour

Create bold designs

A third way of making a label stand out is through creating bold designs. The phone book experiment found that participants viewed 42% more bold listings than plain listings. When you use bold borders, such as thick, diagonal stripes rather than thin stripes, or no stripes at all, this make labels more attention-grabbing.

In our research, envelopes which used labels with a bold font rather than normal-weighting meant that the probability that the bold label would be looked at first was 12% higher. A bold label filling the entire circle with graphics also had a big effect on envelopes: the probability of looking at it first was 14% higher than chance; people were 10% more likely than average to look at it at all; and they spent 20% longer than average looking at it.

Have a look at your product labels and see how you can update your designs so they stand out more. Is there a way you can increase the font size slightly, add more colour or make key information more noticeable?






Related ideas:
Label Stories
Every Label Tells A Story
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