This week, we present the Template Tuesday guide to different types of label templates; including different file formats, orientations, and bleed templates.
Why Are There Different Types Of Label Templates?
There are different types of label templates because they need to be used with different software, to print different types of labels, and to create different designs.
Label templates can be standalone or built-in; standalone templates are individual files that must be opened using software / applications, while built-in templates are part of software / applications.
Standalone label templates often come in various file formats (a file format is the technical standard used to encode information for storage in a computer file); this is because software / applications can usually only read (open) and edit (change) certain file formats – so templates need to be available in formats that work with available software.
Label templates may show a single label layout (which is replicated during printing) or a multiple label layout. The latter can only be used when printing sheet labels, while the former can be used for sheet labels or roll labels.
Different designs are easier to create and print accurately in different types of label templates. A common example is portrait and landscape templates. If you want to create a design that relies on your sheet labels being in a portrait orientation (or landscape), it makes sense to use a portrait (or landscape) label template – so you don’t have to turn your head to get an idea of what your design actually looks like! Another common example is bleed templates; these templates use blank areas around and between labels to allow coloured backgrounds and borders to be oversized – so they bleed over the edges of the labels – to avoid a printing issue known as “white edging”. White edging occurs when a design doesn’t line up perfectly with a label, leaving areas around the edges of the labels unprinted.
So What Are The Different Types Of Label Templates – And When Should Each One Be Used?
Built-In Label Templates
These templates are part of (built into) your software / application. A common example is the Avery templates built-in to Microsoft Word. These templates can be a great option if they are compatible with the labels you want to print (i.e. they show the same label size and layout). They will be completely compatible with your software (because they are part of your software!), which means they’re really easy to use and often give you more control and design options – compared to importing a standalone file. However, they may also be subject to restrictions – especially in terms of available label sizes. In other words, if there isn’t a built-in template compatible with your labels, you cannot use a built-in template. You also have to rely on the accuracy of the built-in template in terms of the measurements used – some built-in templates may not allow you to change the measurements, which means if there is even the smallest discrepancy between the measurements of the template and those of your labels, you won’t get the correct alignment when you print your template.
Standalone Label Templates
These individual files must be opened using software / applications. Your standalone template must have a file format that is compatible with your software. For example, two common file formats are .docx and .pdf. The .docx format is the default file format for Microsoft Word; it can also be read and edited by other word processing software, including Pages and Word for Mac. You can open and edit .docx templates using any of these software / applications. The .pdf format is used for PDF files and can be read and edited by a range of graphics software, including InDesign, Photoshop, and Illustrator.
Standalone templates tend to be available for more label sizes, compared to built-in templates. We’ve created standalone label templates (in Word and PDF file formats) for all of our label sizes – that’s over 100 label sizes!
The measurements of standalone templates can usually be edited (great for making slight adjustments to get the perfect alignment), although they can run into compatibility issues with some software.
Some features and tools of your software may not be available when using standalone templates (that are available for built-in templates). This is because your software will recognise built-in templates as templates and allow you to use related tools freely. It may not recognise standalone templates as templates, and so may block certain tools related to designing templates.
Some software will put standalone files through a compatibility process; this usually happens when your template uses a format that is not the default file format of your software. Your software may convert your template to allow it to read and edit the file correctly. Unfortunately, the conversion process can involve changes being made, which is especially problematic if the measurements of your template get altered.
Single Label Templates
These label templates show the outline of a single label; they can be used to print roll labels and sheet labels, where the design is replicated onto all of your labels during the printing process. Single label templates are more likely to be built-in templates rather than standalone files, although both are available. These templates can be much quicker and simpler to use (as you only need to add a design to one label), however, they may not offer the greatest level of control over the accuracy of positioning they offer during the printing process. Label design software often uses this kind of template – and will offer greater control over the positioning of your replicated designs. However, if you are using any other type of software, you may find that you have little or no control over this positioning. You may also want to avoid this type of template if you want to create labels with different designs or that share a design but have small variations.
Sheet Label Templates
These label templates show the layout of a sheet of labels; they are commonly used for built-in and standalone templates. Some software may provide tools that allow you to automatically replicate a single design across the entire sheet – otherwise, you will usually need to replicate your design manually using copy and paste. Sheet templates give you the flexibility to create different designs on every label OR to create labels that share a design but have slight variations. They are also more likely to give you more control over the measurements of your template, allowing you to make small adjustments to get the best possible alignment when you print your labels.
Portrait & Landscape Label Templates
These templates may refer to the orientation of your labels (single label template) or sheet of labels (sheet label templates). Most label templates use a portrait orientation; for most users, this is fine because labels are generally created with the portrait orientation in mind – meaning that most people will want to print their labels using the portrait orientation. If, however, you’d prefer a landscape orientation, it is much simpler to use a landscape template than to try to use a portrait orientation and continually tilt your head.
Bleed Label Templates
Finally, bleed label templates are intended to help when designing label designs with full colour backgrounds and/or borders. They are only available for label sizes and layouts with gaps ALL THE WAY AROUND each label. Bleed templates use these blank areas to create “bleed areas”; you can then oversize your design to extend beyond the edges of each label – into the bleed area. This means that when you print your labels, you won’t end up with any “white edging” – a printing defect whereby any slight misalignment between a design and a label results in the part of the edges of that label being left unprinted.
Bleed templates tend to be used when printing irregular label shapes – such as round labels and oval labels – where it can be tricky to get a design to line up perfectly with each label. They are a great way to speed up the process of adding full colour designs to labels – and avoiding the problems of white edging.
At Label Planet, we supply bleed templates for all of our label layouts that feature blank areas around each label.
Next Week On Template Tuesday: The Template Tuesday Guide To…The Measurements You Need To Make Sure Your Label Templates Measure Up!