5 Common Product Labeling Errors and How to Avoid Them

Branding is one of the biggest concerns for modern businesses. The way you label your products is key to branding success. Printing some stickers and slapping them on packages might seem simple enough, but it’s not.

There’s no end to the range of product labeling errors companies make, some more ridiculous than others. No matter how many label problems you list, a manufacturer will always come along and one-up the previous biggest mess-up.

Still, that doesn’t mean that covering common mistakes isn’t a must for learning how to label products the right way. Take a look at these frequent product labeling mistakes.

1. Printing Fragile Labels

As you create packaging for products, consider where the packaging might end up. In some cases, labels end up exposed to the elements. This could happen during the shipping process, when retailers store and set products outside for sale, or when customers store and use the goods.

There are two primary kinds of label fragility.

The first is low-quality ink that fades fast and/or smears when wet. The other is when the sticker itself rips or falls off when you open the package. Fragile stickers may be due to thin paper or backing, a package that rips with too little effort, or weak adhesive.

These labeling errors can annoy customers, who might switch to another brand if they become annoyed enough with how hard dealing with your product’s label is.

2. Ignoring the Main Purpose

When labeling products, one of the biggest mistakes you must avoid is illegibility. Clarifying what a package contains is the main purpose of product labels. Yet, it’s far too easy to get caught up in the design’s minutia and ending up with a label many people can’t read.

There’s a wide variety of ways to go wrong with text on labels.

Complicated, curly, and artistic fonts confuse the eye and distract from the message. Tiny text is hard for people with poor eyesight and reading disabilities. Font weight and color also affect how easy it is to comprehend product labels.

Switching your logo design or brand name too often is another way to squander the purpose and value of your labels. Building a brand identity is the second-most important reason to use labels. Some would argue that it’s the most important reason, but it’s hard to deny the need to point out what packages contain and any product hazards.

If you keep changing your design all of the time, potential buyers won’t form a strong impression of your brand. That’s important because if people don’t remember you, they won’t become loyal to your company.

3. Violating Label Guidelines

This mistake isn’t a problem for all companies, but you need to mark some products per various laws and regulations. If you export your product to various states and countries, make sure your labels follow their laws.

Failing to do so results in a lot of wasted money because governing bodies won’t let you sell mislabeled products. Governing bodies might also hit you with fines and/or bans if the mistake is too egregious.

Some label guidelines are important for safety, like HazCom labeling and food label rules. Misprints in these cases can lead to poisonings and allergic reactions that you could’ve avoided.

If your label mistake causes harm, your troubles could be much bigger than fines and bans. You could be sued or even go to jail if the labels lead to enough trouble. Be sure your labels don’t break regulations before you apply them to products and ship the goods.

4. Machinery-Related Product Labeling Errors

One of the more subtle things you need to watch out for when labeling products is how well your labels do or don’t work with the printing machinery.

If you aren’t careful, you could buy a roll of labels when the machinery takes flat sheets. You might choose a material that the printer doesn’t print on or that the ink doesn’t work on. Errors like these are common among small-scale operations that do their own printing and are new to the work.

Those issues lead to labels that look unprofessional, are hard to read, come out crinkled, peel off, and more.

In the best case, you’ll catch the issue before your products hit the market and can replace all of the labels. The worst case, products with unsightly labels making it to stores, isn’t uncommon. It’s not a good look for your brand and doesn’t boost sales.

You should also make sure the machinery fits the product itself. While it’s clear that some printers aren’t any good for labeling large products, but how easy it is to overlook obvious factors like that may surprise you. If you pay for a labeling machine or for renting one only to run into a problem like that, you’ll waste all of that money and time.

5. Spelling, Word Choice, and Syntax Mistakes

As you read, labeling problems often deal with the structure and appearance of the label. When it comes to content-based errors, mislabeling is the first one that comes to mind. That issue damages reputation at best and leads to dangerous situations at worst.

Some content errors are less serious but still put your company in a bad light. When your spelling, word choice, and syntax are poor, it can be hard to understand what your label says. These errors might not be impossible to read or a mislabeled product, but they look unprofessional and lower trust.

Stay on Top of Key Industry Insights

These frequent product labeling errors cost companies thousands, even millions of dollars every year. Bad labels make you pay for labor with no product and for materials you have to throw away. They also cause harm to the environment by wasting resources and using energy. If you want more must-have industry insights to climb the ladder of business success, you’re in the right place. Browse the site, fill your head with information, and lead your company to a bright future.

Carol Gilmore

Carol Gilmore