Template Tuesday Presents...top tips for choosing the right label templates for you.
There are a LOT of different label templates available, so how do you choose the right one?
The Things You Need To Think About
You may encounter a lot of different choices when it comes to selecting a template. For example, you may find templates that are built-in or standalone, single label or sheet, standard or bleed, Word or PDF, portrait or landscape and so on.
To help narrow down your options, here are THREE factors to keep in mind; your label design, your software, and your experience.
Choose label templates that suit your…design
One consideration is whether you want a set of identical or unique labels. Identical designs can be created by any sort of template BUT varying designs need a template that allows you to edit each label separately.
Top Tip 1: to create different designs, use a sheet template (showing all of the labels on your sheet) rather than a single label template (showing a single label).
Top Tip 2: to create labels that share a common design but feature variable information (such as addresses or product details), make sure your label template is suitable for use in a mail merge – so you can combine your design (template) with a data source (spreadsheet/database etc).
Another consideration is the complexity of your design. If you’re creating a simple text-based design, you can pick from any label templates available but If you want something a little more complicated, you may need a more sophisticated template.
This could be graphics/image-based designs (especially if you’re designing them from scratch), designs with a coloured background / border, designs that combine multiple elements (such as text and images), and designs that use the shaping of your labels (such as rounded corners or round labels / oval labels).
A common example is Word templates compared to PDF templates. PDF templates show the exact outline of each label. Word templates represent a sheet of labels with a table – using only squares and rectangles made up of straight lines. Furthermore, Word templates only give access to basic sets of design tools available in word processors like Microsoft Word (software essentially designed for working with text), while PDF templates give access to the complex design tools of graphics packages.
Top Tip 1: if the devil really is in the details of your design, pick a template that offers access to more sophisticated design tools and better accuracy.
Top Tip 2: if you want to include design elements or features at the EDGES of your labels, consider using a bleed template – if one is available. Bleed templates use the blank areas around labels to overlap designs and prevent “white edging” appearing, which means these templates are only available for label layouts that feature gaps all the way around each label.
Choose label templates that suit your…software
A key decision here is between built-in and standalone templates; built-in templates are part of your software, while standalone templates are individual files that must be opened using your software.
Some software will only allow you to use built-in templates, some will not have any built-in templates, and others will give you access to both.
Top Tip 1: check to see if a) your software contains a suitable built-in template and b) if your software allows you to open a standalone template.
Top Tip 2: if you have a choice of built-in or standalone it’s really up to you. Built-in templates won’t have any compatibility issues and will work efficiently with your software’s tools – because they are part of your software. However, not all software will allow you to make adjustments to the measurements of built-in templates, which you may need to do to get the perfect alignment.
Standalone templates MUST be in a file format (the technical standard used to encode information for storage in a computer file) that your software can READ (open) and EDIT (change).
Some software indicates the file formats it supports; if not, you can check with the developer / supplier.
Top Tip 1: some software can READ but not EDIT certain file formats; i.e. they can open a file BUT cannot change it. A common example is PDF Readers, which can open and display the contents of a PDF file but cannot make any changes.
Top Tip 2: some software will offer to convert your template to a file format that your software supports. Be wary of this offer! As part of the conversion process, your template may be altered in ways that prevent you from using it properly or may even end up with different measurements (rendering it useless). If you do convert a template file, always double check the measurements in the converted file before you start adding your design.
Choose label templates that suit your…experience
Finally, you should always consider your own experience. Some people get tempted to choose a more sophisticated template because they offer greater design capabilities and accuracy – but soon find themselves struggling to create their design.
Using a template (and software) you are familiar with can be much more effective. You don’t have to spend time learning how to use your template (and software). You are also likely to have the confidence using the tools available to you that you need to create your design (compared to trying to use tools that are unfamiliar).
Next week on Template Tuesday – How To Download Label Templates From Label Planet