Resources » Luxury label printing: Advanced techniques and innovative examples to inspire your brand

Luxury label printing: Advanced techniques and innovative examples to inspire your brand

Label testing

Consumers are starting to invest in fewer, nicer things. They’re no longer accumulating just to accumulate, but seeking out products that feel authentic, unique and designed to last.

As a premium brand owner, you want to draw this quality-focused customer to your small-batch bourbon, elaborate eyeshadow palette or deluxe multivitamins. And you understand thoughtfully designed labels are a key component of the exclusive buying experience.

This article isn’t about taking over your label design brainstorm. It’s about strengthening it.

Here, we’ll share ideas that luxury brand owners can integrate into their brainstorm for high-end product labels. We’ll talk through exciting label materials and premium stocks you should know about, discuss embellishment combinations that can create dazzling effects and expound upon the importance of linking design to brand values for the highest quality packaging.

Let’s dive in.

How a label partner finds value for you

Getting your luxury label right starts with a partner who gives you guidance on everything from premium materials to eye-catching embellishments. See the National Reach, Local Touch difference for yourself.

Unique materials for standing out to shoppers

Unexpected material choices immediately catch the attention of luxury shoppers, standing out in a sea of standard films and papers.

The possibilities are expansive, exciting — and include materials such as pearlescent or diamond papers, metalized substrates (i.e. metalized BOPP or silver metalized paper) and materials with velvet, wooden, felt and cotton textures.

The effect of a unique material works best when it ties into your brand vision. Ask yourself what tactile experiences could play into your product’s story, such as a plush velvet wine label that pairs with a sophisticated dinner party or a pearlescent cosmetic label that evokes the glamour of a night out.

Or, with this first example, a natural wooden substrate that connects to the product’s orchard origins.

Luxury label example #1

luxury wooden label example

Thatcher’s Orchard Cut Apple Gin utilized a Fasson® Cherry Wood label material with a dramatic die cut to create an immediately eye-catching effect.

This label achieves a bold contrast while remaining minimalist; the wood substrate is the most expensive component and does the heavy lifting for design, implicitly conveying the natural origins of the gin. Additionally, the first batch of the limited edition apple gin was individually numbered — another luxury product signifier demonstrating attention to detail.

The photo above comes from M_use; more information can be found here

Creative embellishment combinations for tactile labels

Embossing, varnishes and other label embellishments immediately elevate luxury product labels.

And when done thoughtfully, combinations of these techniques can increase their impact tenfold.

In a neuromarketing study of how paper and finishes influence the purchase of wine, when participants have the opportunity to touch the label, the intention to purchase increases by an additional 8 percent. Visually contrasting elements and tactile variations influence shoppers to “look, then touch” — and puts them one step closer to purchasing your product.

The possibilities include:

  • Multiple labels in contrasting, tactile textures, inviting product interaction. The high-end mezcal product below uses three labels (main label, cap band and small circle) in different textures for an eye catching effect.
  • Combining reverse printing on the back label with a clear container to create a forced perspective effect for added depth and interest. This is seen below on the vibrant vodka label. Learn here how these double-sided labels are constructed.
luxury labels reverse printing
luxury labels spot varnishes
  • Uniquely shaped labels, especially when combined with other embellishments, make a huge impact on the shelf. Custom die cutting stands out compared to standard rectangular labels and can achieve intricate shapes such as lace-like detailing.

The last photo comes from M_use; more information can be found here

Luxury label example #2

luxury label embellishment combination example

The Japanese brand Sake combined a pattern emboss with a varnish to achieve both a mesmerizing visual effect and a tactile component for their premium spirit label.

Pattern embossed labels can cover the entire label surface and cleverly accent any label design — in this case, a cloud of emanating lines from the rounded, sans serif typeface. Finally, Sake chose a distinctive but unembellished bottle shape and an understated rectangular label, enabling the label’s entrancing embellishments to take center stage.

The photo above comes from M_use; more information can be found here

Metallics — a luxury staple and proven attention-grabber

Hot and cold foils and other metallic treatments effectively convey quality to shoppers and are great for catching (and keeping) their attention.

In a study of the impact on customers of foils and laminates, participants’ gazes fixated significantly more often — and for significantly longer periods — on foiled and laminated versions of Belgian and Swiss luxury chocolates. And in a follow-up to the study, participants considered the metallic treatment products to be higher quality than their non-metallic counterparts.

luxury labels metallics

The possibilities include:

  • Gold, silver or pearlescent label facestocks to immediately elevate the label’s appearance.
  • Metallic substrates with color inks to create a wide range of effects, such as holographic gradients or jewel-tone metallics.
  • Hot foil stamping in gold, silver or copper to evoke the association with precious metals.
  • Cold foil to create a lustrous shimmer, such as this glitter spray bottle with an iridescent cold foil on top of a shrink sleeve label.

Luxury label example #3

luxury label metallic example

Livio Felluga winery chose a mirror-like gold facestock and uniquely revealing label for their illivio 2017 blend, a historical wine designed to celebrate the 85th birthday of their founder.

The outer layer is decorated with a large (but tasteful) depiction of the winery’s hillside landscape and hints at gold around the edges. When opened, the label unveils an inner gold mirror and the brand’s signature baroque frame.

The thoughtful use of metallic details, multiple substrates for multiple labels (likely hand-applied), double-sided printing and a cleverly hinged label communicate the brand story and evoke a luxury product.

The photo above comes from M_use; more information can be found here

For the most powerful impact, link embellishments to brand values

This may seem obvious, but it’s an important consideration to keep in the back of your mind as you and your team consider what design and embellishment add-ons to choose for your label.

Creative spot varnishes and enchanting label materials will naturally catch consumers’ attention. But when they are linked to an understanding of your brand’s specific values, the effect can be even more powerful.

To strengthen this connection, ask yourself:

  • What brand story are you trying to tell with your product label?
  • How will company history and origins play into your label’s narrative?
  • How do you want customers to feel when seeing and handling your product?

The answers will hopefully get your gears turning as to what brand narrative elements can translate onto the label — such as with this bespoke wine label.

Luxury label example #4

luxury label example

Winery Cantine Leonardo Da Vinci sought to mark the 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci’s death with a commemorative wine.

In the brainstorm process, the team found themselves returning to the motif of da Vinci’s hands — “exploring his homeland, holding a paintbrush, or turning the pages of a codex.” From there, they saw a connection between da Vinci’s hands, the hands of the winemakers and the hands of the customer.

This theme of “handmade” drove their decision for label embellishments.

The hand-torn label edges are an excellent (and rare) touch. Customers are then invited to discover the contents hidden within the fold-out label, which is secured by a hand-tied suede string. The manual efforts are then rewarded with an exquisite gold foil stamp of da Vinci’s “Study of Hands” sketch.

By taking the time to determine the direction of the wine’s story, the brand landed on a tactile label design to catch shoppers’ attention and communicate the product narrative.

The photo above comes from M_use; more information can be found here

Give some thought to going against industry trends

Luxury product packaging design often remains within established market looks, such as wine labels with matte, antique appearances and nutraceuticals with a high-gloss finish. Therefore, it follows that going against the grain of these established trends can help your luxury goods stand out from competitors, especially for products like wine that face major competition on the shelf.

Going completely against type to stand out can be risky if not executed well. The product may appear out of place when established norms are expected (e.g. a goofy, kitschy wine label on a premium expensive bottle).

The key here is to have an actual value statement in the brand story, communicated in the label design. What makes your product better than the others? Why did you decide to start producing this and why do you want people to try it? What is the real authentic story behind this product’s existence?

These risks can pay off — and will do so when backed by quality market research and a compelling story.

Enhance the luxury consumer experience with NFC labels

Brands can create dynamic consumer interaction by embedding small, programmable NFC tags into labels. When a smartphone picks up the passive radio signal from an NFC label, users can access specific, real-time information via the company’s cloud server.

For example, Jelna Winery takes pride in communicating openly with its customers about how grapes are harvested during the entire fermentation process. An NFC label, hidden unobtrusively beneath the facestock and embedded with content readable by a mobile app, brings this educational experience right to the shopper. The tag expands the product’s story and gives wine lovers a deeper product knowledge.

Think about elements of your consumer engagement experience, from cocktail recipes to makeup tutorials, that you could bring right to your consumer with an NFC label.

How to achieve innovative luxury labels for your brand

Luxury products tend to feature minimal packaging with tasteful accents, understated highlights and pristine embellishments. Attention to those details is a mark of intentional design — and is best executed by an experienced printer.

As you brainstorm packaging concepts for your next product launch, consider looping in your labeling partner and asking them:

  • Based on our product vision, what recommendations do you have?
  • What out-of-the-box options can you provide beyond standard (e.g., paper, film, felt, etc.) label materials?
  • What unique materials will perform in my product’s end-use environment?
  • How can we combine embellishment techniques to achieve a sensational effect?
  • What established labeling trends do you see in this sector, and how would you go against them to stand out?
  • How would you incorporate NFC labels into our packaging experience?

In addition to seeking their design input, confirm their technological printing capabilities, too. A high-quality label printer will be able to guarantee precise registration, color vibrancy and producibility for your labels.

(For more guidance on evaluating label converters’ QC merits, read this article.)

Need a labeling expert in your design brainstorm?

Taking a bold label from the drawing board to department store shelves is no easy feat.

That’s what a labeling partner is for.

We believe luxury label design is about going beyond an embellishment or two. This is about tapping into your product’s distinctive story, opening up unforeseen label construction possibilities and thinking outside the box with your luxury labels.

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