There is great satisfaction in celebrating good label design ideas. These forward-thinking concepts can redefine brands and single-handedly sell products. We've often saluted excellent labels here on this very blog – but today we're taking a different approach.
Any branding expert owes it to him or herself to think about what label ideas absolutely will not fly, either for a particular audience or in general. Bad label designs carry their own kind of "What were they thinking?" fascination, and they help companies stay on track when they debut their own new offerings. The criteria for assessment are more relevant when they contain examples of efforts gone astray.
Wines that don't work
There's a real danger that failure to design and print compelling labels will hurt a brand's prospects. Bloomberg recently highlighted exactly this issue, listing wines that taste great but are less likely to be selected by customers due to bad label designs. Sometimes, the issue is a matter of head-scratching design. Bloomberg pointed to one 2012 vintage sporting a partial portrait of the winemaker – just a pair of eyes peering over the rest of the label. The effect seems to evoke a nosy person staring over a wall rather than a personal connection with the vintner.
Other times, efforts to be edgy just edge into unappetizing. The article highlighted Prisoner Wine Company, a brand which uses vintage-styled images of convicts on its labels. The Blindfold blend, a white wine containing Chardonnay and Viognier, is sold with a blindfolded prisoner as a mascot. While movement beyond classic wine bottle imagery is likely to be expected as the craft beer revolution inspires vineyards, going too far may leave shoppers reaching for something more pleasant.
Room for classics
Sometimes, a labeling fumble can come from an understandable motive: Companies that want to look contemporary and appeal to modern consumers could have a field day with their redesigns only to figure out that they had a classic label design on their hands in the first place. Vinepair columnist Jesse Farrar pointed to this issue in the beer sector, where companies such as Michelob spent years putting their old designs out to pasture before realizing that nostalgia could sell well. Miller actually reversed its "Lite" beer's sales fortunes by introducing a new label based on a retired version that dated back to the launch of the brand.
The quest for quality
Whether it's a bold modern look or a design that evokes a bygone age, a good label is essential for selling any given product today. Companies should ensure they are printing these designs on an adequate printer – one such as the Afinia A801, available to our U.S. customers and Canadian shoppers.