Four Factors That Influence Product Label Pricing

You’re a smart business owner.

That’s why you’re always on the hunt for areas where you can save a few bucks.

Although quality is important (especially when it comes to your labels) you might be able to cut back by making a small tweak to your colors or design. The key is knowing what you can change to save.

Here are the four factors that influence your product label price.

  1. Label Dimensions
  2. Consistent Artwork
  3. Total Number of colors
  4. Quantity

1. Label Dimensions

This is one of the most important factors to consider in pricing.

During production, labels are often combined according to size. The material must match too. The only thing that doesn’t have to be the same is the artwork. Because the only two factors that must be consistent are the dimensions and material, you can print both your front and back labels in the same production. You can even have different images or text.

If your front and back labels are different dimensions, you’re going to have to make multiple production runs. This will inevitably increase the price because each requires it’s own setup.

Too often I see companies that have a 6oz, 8oz & 12 oz bottle have similar bottle sizes but use different label sizes for an exact fit.  However, the aesthetic benefit doesn’t warrant the extra costs to have three distinct size labels.  Let’s suppose the shape is the same cylinder but with different heights.  In this case, they may be able to take advantage of using the same size label on all three containers which would allow them to combine the production run and save money on the overall costs.

2. Consistent Artwork

Artwork doesn’t have to be the same during a production run when the label is the same size as long as it is run in process.  Even occasionally, you can have spot color changes, but it is best to consult your printer as to how many additional spot colors you can have on each label without driving up costs. However, the more you change your artwork from production run to production run, the higher the cost will be.

Keeping your artwork consistent makes design and printing faster, saving you money. The more you can do this across all your labels, the more money you’ll save.  Many times, common graphics can share the same set of plates for most of the label graphics with only a single plate text change.  

For example, a mistake that I’ve seen among customers who try to design their own labels is that they create a label with the same image but different text.  If they have 3 labels with the same image ( e.g. a CMYK logo) but different flavors, they would pay for the CMYK + 3 spot plates (one for each version) = 7 total plates.  However, if the image is laid out in a slightly different position on each of the three labels, then every label has unique set of plates (CMYK + 1 spot x 3) = 15 plates .  With plate fees that range anywhere between $50 – $125/each, 8 additional plates adds up quickly.  

3. Total Number of Colors

It’s clear that the total number of colors used in your product label impact how much you’ll pay for printing. Still, it’s not always easy to limit the number of colors. After all, you want your label to stand out on the shelf. Stealing even one color from your design could impact sales so you should consider the impact when considering taking away color options.   

Here are a few ways that you can reduce your costs and maximize color:

  • Print in CMYK: Especially if you have short run quantities, this is an ideal application for digital printing.  There are no plates and your labels can run in combo as long as the size and material are the same.  Digital printing allows you to have multiple images in the same run quite easily and at lower costs than flexographic print for short run quantities.
  • Design with fewer colors:  Go for a “clean” look and limit your colors to less than three.  If you combine different version labels with different text but the same spot colors, you will reduce costs compared to printing photographic images.
  • Avoid printing metallic inks:  Metallic inks have a much lower shelf life than standard inks and usually are only good for one use.  Even if you only have a small area of coverage on your label, the costs are still higher as the printing company still has to fill the pan to lay down the ink, and then often throw it away when done. Standard inks can be stored and used again later.  An alternative is to tint metallic material with a standard ink to achieve the metallized look.  You should be able to have your printer weigh this option against the total run quantity to see if it is more cost effective.

Each of these has a direct impact on the price. If you’re able to limit or reduce any of these special treatments, you could lower the quality of your label but you could also save some money.

4. Quantity

Are you looking for ways to combine quantities for the best price

For longer press runs (generally, greater than 5,000 quantity)  on conventional presses, the more product labels you can print at once, the cheaper it is per label to produce. That’s because it doesn’t cost as much in setup costs to run the printer multiple times. You can maximize print efficiencies by combining multiple versions of labels to gain a higher total quantity in one run and save on your unit costs.

Have you considered the frequency of your order?

Also consider the frequency of your order. Is it more cost effective to produce larger quantity print runs and hold for a longer turn to take advantage of a lower unit cost?  Or, if shelf space and cash flow are tight, it may be better to spend a bit more and order smaller quantities more frequently.  Print process like digital printing are ideal for just-in-time print production.

Before You Start Tweaking Your Product Label…

These four factors could make a difference in how your labels are priced. However, making too many changes could affect how well your product sells. If your bottles aren’t flying off the shelves after you change to black and white coloration, you’ll lose more money than you’ll save.

Question:  Is it worth it to your business to make small changes to your product label just to lower the price? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

The next question you probably have is, “how much money could I save on my product label if I make a small change?” It’s a good question and one that’s hard to answer in a blog post. I encourage you to reach out to The Label Link for a few quotes. We’ll let you know the exact savings you can expect to see to your pricing. We’ll also let you know the potential impact it could have if you change your label too much. Contact us for a quote today.

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