In order to understand how you can customize shipping labels, you will first have to know how they are printed. Shipping labels are printed using a thermal label printer. Such printers do not have any ink of their own. Instead, they have a roller inside that heats up and as the label moves over the roller, it turns black in those places.
This technique is also applicable to how a receipt is printed. So, in case you are planning to add colored content to your shipping labels, shipping labels are not exactly the best place as they lack graphic friendly specifications.
Now, shipping labels are available in standard sizes, such as 4" x 4", 4" x 5", 4" x 6", 4" x 7", with the 4" x 6" being the most commonly used size. These are the ones that are commonly pasted outside the boxes before they are shipped. Another type of shipping label is printed on the larger letter sized paper, that is 8.5”x 11” or A4. Now, the shipping labels printed on these papers are still restricted to the 6 inches x 4 inches size, but they also contain some extra information. It can be the packing slip, the return label, and more.
Due to lack of space, shipping labels are just enough for printing an address, one or two names, along with barcode and Government mandated instructions. This leaves very little room for customization. However, this little space can also be effectively utilized to personalize the label specific to your brand voice. Here are a number of ways in which you can customize them.
Adding the company logo on the shipping label is a great way to leave your company’s mark in all the steps of the shipping process. However, the space that you get is really small. Since the entire shipping label has been standardized, the layout of the label cannot be modified. So, there are several spaces like next to the recipient’s address or the free space at the bottom of the label, where you can get the logo printed.
The space that you will get next to the shipping address is a very small square- about a 1” x 1” area. Since the area is small, it is better to not use a wordmark. Instead, you can use a graphical logo that will fill the square visibly and proportionately.1" x 1" on a 6” x 4” shipping label is a tiny area. Hence, make sure you are using the right variant of your logo. There are many online services and softwares that allow you to put your logo on shipping labels.
Next, comes the small space at the bottom of the shipping label. Here, you get the entire width of the shipping label and a height of about 1”. This space can be effectively used to add promotional messages about upcoming discount campaigns, offers or set the brand voice. Messages like encouraging people to leave a feedback or urging them to post a review about your product on social media are a few examples. You can also tell your recipients to click unboxing photos and put your company’s social media handles in that space for easy sharing. The space is also large enough to put QR codes for new products and other promotions.
Colored Shipping Labels
You can also change the color of shipping labels which goes well with your branding. Shipping labels do not necessarily have to be white in color. There are multiple colors that have been approved for use. Some of them are red, blue, green, orange, tan, yellow, gray, purple or pink. However, the print should always be in black. Make sure your colored labels do not affect the legibility of the shipping labels and the barcodes and text still remain machine readable.
Finally, positioning your shipping label on your product packaging can also make quite a huge difference in how the entire packaging looks. Generally, shipping labels are placed arbitrarily on the packaging, and more often than not, they mess up the design of the packaging itself. So, if you do not want to leave it up to chance or fate regarding where your shipping labels go, especially if you have invested in custom packaging, then you can also print a spot for neatly pasting the shipping labels.
A simple 4” x 6” rectangular outline can be printed on the packaging itself. It is always better to have a talk with your carrier or shipping service provider about what options they provide. Some service providers also have 4” x 8” shipping labels that leave extra space on the top of your company logo. These are just some of the ways in which shipping labels can be customized. There obviously are a lot more ways based on the size of the shipping label you are choosing.
If you liked these ideas, or have an idea that you would like to share with us, then let us know in the comments below. Stay tuned for more such tips and ideas to increase customer engagement through packaging!