Product Label Design For e-Commerce


This post on product label design tips is authored by guest blogger Kimberly Head, CEO of Watergraphics, a leading branding and packaging design firm.


$124 Billion!

That is how much people spent in the United States buying products online in Q1 2018!  An established large pool of online buyers exists, ready to purchase your product. Of course you want a piece of THAT action!

It may seem simple, just list your products online and BAM you’re a multi-millionaire! But wait, there will be competition – LOTS of competition. You need to attract droves of traffic to your product and provide the WOW factor that compels a person to click BUY NOW!

It is essential to communicate as quickly and clearly as possible what your product does. If a customer sees your main image and is unsure if this is the product they are looking for, they will move on and buy your competitors’ products.

You establish that WOW factor through engaging product label and packaging design. Label design helps express your brand value and character. Consumers judge products by their appearance, and you want to make a good first impression. A well-designed label adds value to your product; poor package design can lower the perceived value and discourage people from buying your product.

Since product label and package design has a massive impact on your private label products, it’s important to begin with these two steps when designing your label for e-commerce sites.


Who is your intended customer? Different products are aimed at different audiences, which can be grouped by age, gender, education level, lifestyle, etc. Also, dive a little deeper into psychographics: do they shop at or Are they picking up their kids in a 12-year old SUV or do they even have kids? These questions help you identify your target customers. Then, your job is to design the label that will speak to your customers because a well-designed label is a powerful communication tool.


What do your competitors’ labels and packaging look like? You should differentiate your label design from your competitors’. In most cases, you do NOT want a label that is similar to other brands and can easily confuse consumers. It should be easy to identify and represent your brand accurately. If everyone is using horizontal layouts for their products in your genre, think of a vertical layout for your product. If most label designs are conservative, design yours to be hip and trendy. Don’t be afraid to be different… that’s the point! Be bold and be exclusive. Browse through various product categories and work with your designer to come up with an unexpected label design.


The visual elements are the main determining factor when consumers are selecting one product over another during an online shopping visit.

COLOR is KEY. Color is the first element that catches the online customer’s eye. Too many colors and your product will appear “muddy” on screen. For North American online shoppers, the following colors evoke certain emotions:

Optimistic and youthful: This color is often used to grab the attention of window shoppers. Yellow evokes clarity and warmth. For example, IKEA and McDonalds purposefully use yellow to make the buyer feel happiness when seeing and thinking of their brand.

Aggressive: Orange is great for calls to action like subscribe, buy, or sell. At the same time, this color makes a buyer feel confident.

Excitement: red is a primal color that is associated with urgency, which is why it’s most often used with clearance sales. This color is useful for spontaneous purchases and is bold when used with brands like Coca Cola and Target.

Romantic and feminine: This is the color most frequently used to market to women and girls for its feminine appeal. This color is used to create a feeling of softness and serenity.

Creative and wise: Purple is used as a soothing color in shopping. This color is often the mark of creativity and imagination, which is especially effective for making the buyer feel that a product is luxurious or artistic.

Dependable and strength: Blue is a serene color used to evoke feelings of trust and security in buyers. For this reason blue is the go-to color for many banks and businesses.

Peaceful and healthy: Green is best to use when you want to convey relaxing, and is associated with money, nature, and health. Green is actually easiest for our eyes to process and is used to calm a buyer.

Balance and innovation: Gray is the color that we see when we think of technology – for good reason. This color is anything but bland and can be used effectively to symbolize neutrality, innovation, and knowledge.

Power and sobriety: Black can be a great color to use for E-commerce professionals looking to market towards luxury. This is a powerful color that can be used for a wide range of emotional responses.
(Source: www.ecommerce-nation)

Keep It Simple and Clear: An average customer takes less than 5 seconds to decide whether to buy a product. Make sure the audience knows WHAT your product is. Create this by placing the product name (“shampoo”, “pet treats” etc.) right on the front of the label, in a clear, easy-to-read font. Listing select benefits in bullet point style is a great way to inform the shopper of why they need to click: “BUY NOW”. Add simple things like is your product organic or is it hand-made? Key selling points should be kept short and simple. Make sure you use white space to help highlight these benefits. If any of these elements are lost in busy graphics, you’ve lost the sale.

Scanning for Success: Most online retailers require Universal Product Codes (UPC) to be included in your label design. A UPC code consists of 12 numeric digits that uniquely identify your business entity and individual product, and these digits are displayed as vertical bars that a barcode scanner interprets. There are many websites from which you can register for and purchase UPC codes. In addition to the number, you will need the actual barcode artwork file that you will place on your label. This UPC-related website is a good resource for all things UPC.

There are also barcode size requirements you must meet for your barcode to be scannable. The nominal size of a UPC at 100% magnification is 1.469 inches wide (from the far left hand number to the far right hand number) by 1.02 inches tall (from the top of the bar code to the bottom of the human readable numbers). When placing the barcode artwork within your label design, make sure that you retain the proportions and do not stretch the barcode image. If you stretch the barcode it will be disproportional and may therefore become a different barcode number.

There needs to be white space around the barcode to ensure scannability. If there are design elements (especially text) too close to the UPC, a scanner may pick that up and try to read the text as part of the barcode. After you place the barcode into your label design, I recommend you print your label at 100% and either take it to your closest retail store who can scan it to make sure it actually scans or obtain one of the many smart
phone apps that scan barcodes. Once your barcode has been placed and you know it scans, you’re good to go!

There you have it! Clean, simple label design with a few key points, great color to attract your target demographic, a UPC code to keep the scanners happy and “voila!” – you’ve positioned yourself for success with a great label design for e-commerce.

Happy selling!