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The trend sweeping food label design

Graphic label icons

Small focus. Big trend. In 2016, food label design is zeroing in on the graphic label icon. With the ever-expanding pool of brand choices, an explosion of shelf competition has left many brand managers and designers searching for ways to catch shoppers’ eyes. Savvy food producers nationwide are incorporating this popular, fresh design trend into their label design. And it may just be the perfect way to highlight the key traits of your product.

Examples of label icons

Graphic label icons are small, colorful highlights that pack powerful meaning and sit prominently on a label. Companies typically use them to highlight key aspects of their foods or production processes, including:

  • Non-GMO
  • Gluten free
  • Organic, and variations within the organic category
  • Vegan
  • Sustainably sourced, such as rainforest preservation on coffee packages
  • Locally-produced identifiers, such as “Pick Tennessee” for foods produced in Tennessee
  • And more

As shoppers become increasingly selective of their foods, many are looking specifically for goods that meet certain criteria. By adding a prominent label icon in your food label design, you help your customer quickly see that your products meet their standards. And that may be the difference between making a sale and shoppers purchasing another brand.

Key production considerations for label icons

For some producers, adding a graphic label icon may alter the label printing process. You’ll likely need expanded color printing options.

To accommodate these icons, most brands create two graphic versions, a one-color version and a four-color version. The one-color version uses black or a spot-color in the printing process. The four-color version requires a four-color printing process (4CP), where the label printer mixes four main colors (CMYK) to create any color combination.

The best color printing option depends on your label. We’ve seen many of our customers transition from a three-color label to one with splashes of extra colors. In many cases, digital labels offer the best combination of color flexibility, printing quality and price. Digital label printing uses 4CP printing and can accommodate any color combination, including black and white. It also provides other key benefits not seen in traditional printing methods, such as:

  • Perfect color consistency on every label in a print run
  • Elimination of expensive, custom printing plates
  • Reduced cost per unit for short to medium size runs
  • The most precise, crisp type
  • Photographic quality imagery

In addition to printing quality and cost savings, digital label printing can incorporate variable data printing (VDP) and accommodate versatile, label-to-label customizations.

The latest label trends

From new, eye-catching label decorations to innovative printing processes and smart inventory tracking, the label industry in in the midst of rapid change. We’ve published a guide highlighting these trends to help you take advantage of the best new opportunities, capture savings and achieve your design vision. Fill out the form below to download this brief but informative guide.

Find the best solution that makes the most sense for your brand.