Template Tuesday Presents...advice about creating image-only label designs.
This week’s Template Tuesday is all about image-only label designs. If you are creating an image-only template, it’s more than likely that you will be adding a “full size” image to your labels – in other words, your label design is a single image (e.g. a logo) that fills each label. Usually, these templates are pretty easy to construct; either you have an image already set up and you simply copy and paste this image into your template OR you are using design software to create your design within the label template from scratch.
The main consideration when it comes to using full size images is how the image fits around the edges of your labels – especially if your image has a coloured background. Generally speaking, most software and hardware is limited in the accuracy that it can produce (to within a few mm), which means that you may need to provide some “wiggle-room” in your label design to get the best possible result when printing your own labels.
One of the most common issues is “white edging”; this occurs when your design doesn’t quite fit perfectly onto your labels, which leaves a small area around the edge(s) of your labels unprinted. This can be accounted for by oversizing your image very slightly, so that it overlaps the edges of your labels – the area that the label design occupies around the edge of each label is known as the “bleed” area.
This technique is easy to use on label sizes that have gaps between and around the labels because the bleed area simply fits into these gaps; however, if your labels are “butt cut” (i.e. there is no gap between them so they “butt up” against one another) you may find that your image overlaps onto another label. This won’t matter if the edge of your image is a consistent colour – in fact, this actually helps to prevent white edges appearing – but if your image features any change in colour around its edges, you may end up with a mismatch at the edge of your labels. For example, if you are printing a landscape photograph (with blue sky at the top and a green field at the bottom) you may end up with some of the green field at the bottom of one label overlapping onto the label below it. Without access to pinpoint accurate software and hardware, there is no way to guarantee that your printer will be able to line up each full size image perfectly on each label, so the best thing to do is to either amend your image if you can so that it has a consistent colour around the edges OR to create a border around your image (either by adding a border or by reducing the size of your image to leave a blank area that will serve as a border in itself).
If you do need to use a border to prevent white edging around your labels, we recommend making it quite thick; if you try to create a thin border, you may end up emphasising any slight misalignment in the positioning of your design on each label.
Image-Only Templates In Word
Word can be quite cumbersome when it comes to working with images because it is designed to prioritise text over anything else that you add. It does, however, feature a few design tools that you can use to get better control over the positional accuracy of any images you add. To find the design tools for images, you will first need to select your image by left clicking on it once. This will bring up a new tab at the top of the page called “Picture Tools Format” – as seen below.
Given that Word isn’t great with images, it’s more than likely that the only tools you’ll really need are those located towards the right hand side of this tab – especially those in the “Arrange” section. These tools can help you to exert greater control over where your images are positioned within your template and to create more complicated designs by layering multiple images.
Perhaps the most important tool is the “Wrap Text” option; this tool determines how your image is positioned with regards to any text that you add (or don’t add). While you might be wondering why you would need to know about this option – given that we’re talking about IMAGE-only label designs – the fact is that Word not only prioritises text over any other kind of item that you might add to a Word document, it also assumes that you will – at some point – want to add text and will assign room within your document that would allow you to do so. This often results in images refusing to move to the precise location you want them to occupy – with the result that they either go back to their original location or “snap” into another position entirely. This is caused by the default wrap text option known as “In Line With Text”; like the name suggests, this option causes your image to automatically position itself accordingly so that it is aligned with (and out of the way of) the (non-existent) text that Word assumes you will want to add.
To give yourself better control over images in Word, you should select the “Tight” wrap option or the “In Front Of Text” wrap option, which will give you much finer control over the positioning of your images than the default “In Line With Text”.
Next week on Template Tuesday: Designing A Label Template – Tops Tips For Combining Text & Images In Word