Template Tuesday Presents...top tips for choosing the right software to design your own label templates.
Top Tip 1: What Software Do You Have Available To You?
The best place to start is to look the software already installed on your computer. Using existing software means you:
- Don’t have to pay for new software
- Will be familiar with that software – so you don’t need to spend time learning how to use new software.
Software is usually created with a specific task (or tasks) in mind; designing label templates is a design-based task so it’s generally best to use design software where possible. If you have label design software installed, all the better, but graphics packages (such as InDesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop) are also great options – especially if you want to create intricate or complex artwork.
Non-design software, however, shouldn’t be ruled out – especially as it may contain some (basic) design tools. For example, Word is extremely popular for designing and printing label templates. It is not design software (it’s a word processor designed to add, edit, and arrange text) BUT it does contain basic design tools and – more importantly – label design tools.
If you don’t have any suitable software / applications installed, you will need to source something appropriate. Try to find something that contains label design tools. Design software is best for more complex design work, although it tends to be more expensive (free options are available). You will need to bear in mind that both free software and non-design software will tend to offer limited design tools, which may limit the level of accuracy and detail you can include in your label design. You should also try to pick software that is suitable to your own level of experience; buying the most complex, expensive label design software isn’t going to do any good if you don’t feel confident enough to use it to design your own label templates.
Top Tip 2: Is Your Software Suitable For Designing Label Templates?
You can use a wide variety of software to design labels – including software not intended for design purposes at all.
Software with (label) design tools and functions will obviously be suitable for designing and printing label templates – but it might not be so easy to work out if other software is suitable.
Generally speaking, if software mentions (label) design tools then it should be perfectly suitable for designing label templates. If it doesn’t, you may wish look at the tools available to see if they are suitable for this purpose.
If you aren’t sure, it may be best to choose an alternative. While you might be able to use the available tools to design labels, this could involve using them in ways they were not intended to be used. This may make it more difficult and time consuming to design your label templates; not only because you’ll need to figure out how to use non-design tools for design purposes but also because this process will probably take more time (and be less accurate) compared to using design tools as they were intended to be used.
You also need to consider the level of accuracy and detail you can achieve with the tools available. Design tools in non-design software (like Word) are always going to be less accurate that those in a design package (such as Illustrator or InDesign). Likewise, freeware might feature less options and less accurate tools. If you want to use non-design software, you may simply need to give it a go and see how far you get – bearing in mind that you may need to adapt your intended design to suit the capabilities of your software.
Essentially, you need to balance what your software can do with the level of detail you want to achieve.
Top Tip 3: How Confident Are You With The Software Available To You?
This last top tip is one that people often overlook. Customers often ask us to recommend the best possible label design software – without realising that this tends to be the most expensive and time-consuming option.
Sometimes using basic software that you are familiar with (and therefore more confident in using) is actually a better option than investing in expensive design software that you have absolutely no idea how to use. One of the biggest hurdles in achieving a detailed AND accurate label design is actually knowing how to use the tools available to you in the most efficient way. This is one of the reasons that Word is such a popular choice. Most people know how to use Word and can create a range of label designs fairly easily and quickly.
This means you actually need to balance what your software can do and the complexity of design you want to achieve, against your own level of experience of performing design-based tasks with a computer.
Top Tips – A Summary
- If you have suitable software already available – use it! Generally speaking, if your software includes (label) design tools, chances are you’re good to go!
- Design software is best for design-based tasks BUT not a necessity. Non-design software may do the job just as well.
- Find a balance between your design complexity, software capability, and your own knowledge / experience. You don’t need complex design software to create a perfectly good set of labels. Especially if you are creating simpler text-based designs (e.g. address labels, product labels, bottle labels, jar labels etc).
Next Week On Template Tuesday – FAQs About Label Templates & Microsoft Office