Increasing Customer Interest With Graphics: Why Your Labels Shouldn't Be Text-Only

If you're trying to develop a design for a product label, you know that it has to be something that stands out and that stays in a customer's memory. One trend has been to have relatively minimalist labels with text that is succinct but designed so that the main words stick out. The lettering is creative, but it's also not that efficient in grabbing customers' attention. You may want to consider avoiding the text-only label and instead stick with photos or pictures as the main feature of your label.

Easy to Absorb

Pictures are going to be a lot easier for customers to see, process, and remember. One reason is that good pictures -- say, a lemon on a bottle of lemonade -- don't have to be translated, so potential customers who don't speak the language used on the label can still tell what the product might contain. The other is that it's simply easier for humans to process a picture. A 2015 article for eyeQ notes that the brain is designed to grab onto visual cues more quickly than text cues. For a customer scanning a shelf, a picture on the label could be the difference between that customer skipping the product and actually pulling it off the shelf to get a closer look.

Better Product Identification

Product recognition is not the same as merely processing a picture of a lemon. The style of graphics you use can quickly become a calling card for your company that leads customers to your other products. For example, if you're marketing a line of sodas, and you use a particular style of picture to show the flavors of each soda, such as cartoon fruit or watercolor-style pictures, customers will be able to spot your other products much more quickly. A chapter on advertising psychology in the Encyclopedia of Applied Psychology notes that this almost consistent type of advertising, where the presentation changes slightly but is overall recognizable, helps make the brand name easier to remember.

Abstraction Issues

The one real warning about using pictures is that you don't want to make them too abstract. A bottle of wine that has a graphic with a bunch of grapes and a vineyard is pretty recognizable, but a bottle of wine that has a graphic that has nothing to do with wine, grapes, wine glasses, or any other related item might not do as well because a customer would have to stop and examine the bottle to find out what was inside. That would prevent a lot of rushed customers from taking time to look at your product.

Having a professional label layout designer take a look at your label and help with the layout is best. You'll end up with something that's got a good picture and a good combination of space and graphics.