Labels and Tags are something I create for clients sometimes. They’re actually a subset of packaging design, which is a specialty. I don’t really create packages, although I do know how to create them. Ultimately, I fell in love with label and tag design in college and knew when I opened Purple Rose Graphics in Orange County, CA that I would include it in my services. Since then, I’ve created tags and labels for many different clients and noticed some common questions that pop up. Today I wanted to dive into those questions. Specifically, what is a label versus a tag, and what are some things to know before you create one!

A label is something that sticks on to a surface or package in some way. It can be made of paper, plastic, or another material and usually has an adhesive on one side. They come in a bunch of different shapes and sizes. I’ve made some as small as one inch and as large as 5 inches. What shape and size a label depends on the item to which it has to be attached.

A tag is also attached to a package, but it doesn’t have adhesive. It attaches some other way, such as being tied to it or with the item hanging off of it.  These can also be different shapes and sizes and again, what size and shape it will depend on the product to which it needs to be attached.

Before you create either one you need to think about these three things:

1 What is your product and how will it be packaged.

The type of product packaging will ultimately be a factor in whether you choose a label or a tag. Are you packaging it in a small bag, then you’ll probably want a tag, but if you’re thinking of using a box or canister then a label would probably be best. Another huge factor is your brand values. Your package and label need to match the rest of your visual look. For example, if your brand is focused on a high-end or luxury audience with everything else looking very crisp and professional a tag made of brown recycled paper is going to look out of place. That will ultimately affect who picks up your product. You want to make sure that not only is the package something your ideal customer will gravitate towards, but that every detail including the label is something that matches.

2 Do you want to be able to use the label or tag on other products or dedicate it to one product

I ask you to think about this because this will affect what you pick as well. If you’re picking for a certain product then choose something that fits that package, but if you’re going to be using it on multiple types of packages or maybe even other items such as bags then you’ll need to figure out whether an adhesive label or a tie-on tag will give you the most flexibility. If you’re not sure, that’s okay. Your packaging designer can help you figure that

3 Will it needs a picture or just text?

While this doesn’t directly affect whether you pick a tag or a label. It does affect the design and I wanted to share a few things. First off, let’s chat margins. If you have a color or image that you want to extend all the way to the edge, you’ll need to ask for a bleed. If you’re set on having an image outside of your logo, then you’ll need to have a chat with your designer about what your options are for them. If you use a photograph, make sure it has the best possible resolution. There isn’t a whole lot a designer can do if the original resolution of the file isn’t very good. Most printed items really need an image that is 300 dpi or dots per inch. This means a good high-quality photo is what you need. While not foolproof, I tell clients to have an image file around 1MB this seems to provide a good useable photo. For a text-only tag or label, keep the fonts similar to your logo or other brand fonts. Keep them clear and readable.

I hope this helps you when you’re ready to create your next label or tag for your product!


By the way, if you loved this tip and you want tips customized to your business, Grab your FREE 30 minute 1:1 Getting to Know You Strategy Session. Each session is full of tips tailored for your business to help you now. I do a very limited number of these sessions each month and these can only be scheduled through email, so if you want one, email me today! Let’s chat about how branding and design can get your business where you want it to be! Talk to you soon!