Whether it’s designer handbags, premium vodka, or top-end electronics, luxury products are aspirational and desirable. And it’s not just because of the products themselves: Luxury brands carefully manage the entire consumer experience, from the personal attention of expert salespeople to the gleaming showrooms to the rich feel of the packaging.
The label on a luxury product, then, is not an afterthought. It’s an intrinsic part of the brand. There’s a good reason the word “label” often is synonymous with luxury brands.
Your product’s label is one of the first things your customers see. They may even feel it under their fingers before they make their purchase. The label may even be on prominent display in your customers’ homes, inspiring covetous glances from their friends.
How can you use your label to signal quality and class to your customers? Here are a few tips:
Align With Your Customers
Luxury doesn’t mean the same thing to everyone. Older folks might be attracted by history and heritage, while a younger generation might prefer brands that showcase creativity, authenticity, and sustainability.
Case in point: A Nielsen study of wine buyers found that millennials preferred “bold and distinctive” labels, while Gen Xers and baby boomers opted for more traditional designs.
Think about what matters to the buyers you want to attract and what you want your label to say to them. It’s important to create a design that speaks to these values and that reflects the story you want to tell about your products.
For example, if you’re aiming for understated elegance, you might want to steer away from busy colors and unconventional shapes. On the other hand, if you consider your brand an irreverent disrupter, an in-your-face approach might be the way to go.
Think About Durability
One of the hallmarks of luxury is timelessness. A high-quality watch is engineered to keep on ticking from generation to generation. Fine bourbon is aged for years.
A luxury brand label should also withstand the test of time. But, a number of factors can cause a label to crack, peel, or lose its color. Excessive heat or moisture can cause adhesive to give up its grip. Light can fade certain inks. Flimsy label material can rip when handled roughly.
When choosing the material, inks, and adhesives for your luxury label, it’s important to tell your label printer about the environment your product typically encounters. Is it a wine bottle that will be stored in cool, damp cellars and might be served in an ice bucket? Is it a beauty product that will sit in steamy bathrooms?
Your label printer will use this insight to guide you to durable elements that will help your label hold up over time, use, and exposure.
Consider Premium Materials and Techniques
A hint of gold. A flash of silver. Thick, creamy white paper.
Certain materials just say, “luxury.”
Depending on the equipment your label printers have available and the skill of their press operators, you can incorporate metallic foil and inks into your label for an elegant shine. Other techniques include using “crinkly” textured material to give the label for a well-worn rustic look or giving it a handcrafted appearance with a wood veneer. Embossing can give your label subtle three-dimensional texture, drawing eyes and fingers to your logo or product name.
Ask your label printer what premium label-making techniques and materials they offer that can give your product a high-quality finish.
Keep It Simple
In this hectic world, consumers crave simplicity. A minimalist, clutter-free design provides a breath of fresh air and lets the quality of your product speak for itself. If attractive enough, consumers may even reuse your bottle or jar as a vase, or to hold trinkets, keeping your brand front and center long after the product is used up.
As you design your label and choose materials, colors, and fonts, balance your impulse to try new things with your respect for classic design standards. Don’t be afraid of white space and the impact you can make with just a few carefully-crafted words.
Protect Your Brand
Luxury brands are among the most frequent targets of counterfeiters and gray market resellers. This is, of course, because consumers highly trust luxury brands. But counterfeiting and gray market sales erode that trust.
You can use your product label to strike back against counterfeiting. Your options include high-tech, overt features that are difficult to replicate, such as holography and color-shifting ink, as well as covert features that counterfeiters may overlook, such as microprinting and ink that can be detected only under special lighting.
Adding discreet markings that enable track-and-trace technology can help you keep a closer eye on your supply chain, offering benefits such as easier prevention of product diversion into the gray market.
If you’re concerned counterfeiters or the gray market are damaging your brand’s well-earned reputation – or even that they might try to — your first step should be to talk to your label printer about brand protection features that could be incorporated into your labels.
An Amazing Label Doesn’t Have to Be a Luxury
Your luxury brand requires a luxurious consumer experience, and the label is a major part of that experience. By putting careful thought into your label design and working with your label printer to select quality materials, you can imbue your product with the high-end cachet that draws the discerning eye.
Learn how to buy labels with confidence in our free “Custom Label Buying Guide: An Inside View of What Makes a Great Label”.