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Designing Honey Labels

2011 August 26
by Chelsea

Let me be perfectly honest with you: I know next to nothing about graphic design.

I can recognize when design work looks up-to-date, and when it looks clean and nice…but that obviously doesn’t mean I can do it myself. Someday, when we are an actual business, I will happily pay good money to hire a graphic designer. Until then, we have to make do with my own free work. And let me tell you, you get what you pay for.

Our first ever label for our honey jars is fine. It is fairly simple, it says the name of our honey “brand” and has our blog address in case anyone wants to get in touch. It leaves a space for us to write the name of the specific honey harvest. This is (in theory) what it looks like:

Tbar Honey Label

It’s a step up from the Bernardin labels that come with mason jars, at least! I learned a lot from the experience, and for what it’s worth, here’s my tips if you’re also an amateur and also working on your own honey labels:

  • It’s easier and better to use digital photo editing software than a word processor. Once you get the hang of it, you can do a lot more things and you’ll be less frustrated by limitations. Here’s a link to a free image editor.
  • Make sure your resolution is high enough. The first images I tried to use were looking blurry, and it took me awhile to figure out that it was because I had too few “ppi” (pixels per inch). Evidently, you want at least 200 ppi.
  • The internet can help you figure out how to use your editing program. I wanted a woodgrain background, and Google found me a tutorial that worked perfectly.
  • Ideally you don’t steal images from the internet to make your labels; use your own photos and drawing skills, or those of someone who gives you permission. ¬†I’m not an expert on the details of the law on this and I’m a beekeeper, not a cop.
  • Bleeding Cowboys is the new Papyrus. In other words, my label is probably going to be extremely offensive to those with sophisticated tastes in typography. In more other words, if you’re an amateur designer, your designs are probably going to look amateur. No big deal. You can’t actually die of¬†embarrassment. Live, learn and next time hire an expert if you can afford it.

My last tip for you, if you’re going to get stickers printed up, is to make your image bigger than the sticker. Apparently, this is called “bleed” and it ensures that your image goes right to the edge of the sticker and gives a nice clean look. My stickers all have a white spot around one edge where my image didn’t cover. Doh! I’m not losing sleep over it, but it grates just a little when I look at them, and know that my $0.33/each stickers aren’t just right*. I’m happy they’re done, and all lined up, they still look nice:

Jars with printed lid labels

Next batch of labels I make are going to be these awesome Easy No-Stick Labels from Northwest Edible Life. Basically free and plenty good-looking.

* When I ordered my stickers, I asked if the company could please take a very quick look at the image and let me know if there were any glaring design problems, as I’m not a professional designer. Maybe they did look and didn’t think the white space was a problem, maybe they couldn’t be bothered. No big deal either way, really, it was my responsibility to get the image right; I just was hoping for a bit of help. I’m not going to name them or call them out on their lack of customer service, but I’m not going to give them the benefit of a glowing endorsement on my blog, and I’m probably not going to order from them again.

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