Labels vs. Custom Printed Packaging, A List of Pros and Cons

Labels vs. Custom Printed Packaging, A List of Pros and Cons

Labels vs. Custom Printing, What You Need to Know about Each

Labels vs. Custom Printing, What You Need to Know about Each

The items you sell are only one-half of the total product you are offering. The other half is the packaging that the item goes into. However, you can’t just stick your products into unmarked packaging bags because no one will know what’s stored inside. You need some way to add your brand information and logo to the exterior of the packaging. You have two options: labels or custom printed packaging. How do you know which you should use for your business? Consult the following guide to learn the pros and cons of the two branding options.


Labels vs. Custom Printing, What You Need to Know about Each: Pros of Using Labels

Labels vs. Custom Printing, What You Need to Know about Each: Cost Efficiency

Pro #1- Cost-Efficient

Labels and stickers are the cheaper of the two branding options, and for some businesses, that is the end-all-be-all. However, there is a high amount of variation in the labeling industry that can drastically affect the price. One color, paper labels will be tremendously less costly than holographic multi-color vinyl stickers. Do you want your label to be glossy, matte, or somewhere in between? The additional bells and whistles all add to the overall cost. The general trend is that the cheaper you go, the worse it will look. Decide how much you're willing to spend to improve your brand’s image, and move on from there.


Pro #2- More Room for Variation

Due to the lower cost and the lower minimum order quantity for labels, you can create more variations of designs than you could through custom printed packaging. If you own a tea business and want different packaging designs for each of your flavors, then labels would be the way to go. Lower MOQ's make it possible to have custom labels for each of your product types. It also allows for quick customization. You can swap the color of your packaging for seasonal trends or events but still use the same label.


Pro 3#- You Can Do it Yourself

If you have a Cricut or a printer you can design and print labels from the comfort of your home or office. Even if you lack the right machinery, you can easily order custom stickers online. The freedom to do it yourself is appealing to some businesses looking to be completely self-reliant. It can also be more cost-effective to print labels yourself.


Labels vs. Custom Printing, What You Need to Know about Each: Cons for Using Labels


Labels vs. Custom Printing, What You Need to Know about Each: You have to do it yourself

Con #1- You Have to Do it Yourself

Unless you are paying someone to apply the labels for you, you are going to have to individually apply each of the labels to your packages. This can be a time-consuming and tedious task if you have a large inventory. The human element in the process also increases the chances for mistakes. The label can be placed crooked, upside down, or in the wrong size. The result is then a wasted sticker and a ruined package. If you are running your business yourself, applying the labels can be a days' worth of work that could have otherwise been spent doing something more productive.


Con #2- Requires two Separate Purchases

When you split the labeling and packaging process, you will then have to deal with two separate purchases, and maybe even two separate businesses. You will have to repeatedly check to make sure the labels are the right size for the packaging. Mistakes can be made if you are dealing with two separate companies who do not know the exact dissensions of the other product. You can also quickly be placed in a situation where you have the labels but are still waiting to receive the packaging. Dividing the two processes will inevitably lead to stress and confusion.


Con #3- Labels Wear Off

Whether it be through abrasion, moisture, or handling, labels will eventually fall off or tear. Nothing looks worse than a ripped sticker with the residual glue still stuck onto the package. That just screams cheap and low quality. The highest-end glossy vinyl stickers are still not 100% waterproof, so any contact with moisture will degrade the look of your branding.

Labels vs. Custom Printing, What You Need to Know about Each: Labels wear off


Con #4- Labels Looks Unprofessional

Think of the top brands on the market or any product in the supermarket. All of these products have custom-printed packaging. That is because stickers are just less professional. Stickers are fine for your farmer's market or start-up products, but if you want to break out in the major leagues and package your products like a legitimate business, then you need to ditch the labels.


Labels vs. Custom Printing, What You Need to Know about Each: Pros of Printing

Pro #1- It's Easier

Design your package, receive your package, fill, and sell. That's all you need to do. With custom printed packaging, you don't have to worry about preparing the package. Now, all you have to do is add your product. Your brand information and logos are ready and waiting for your customers to see. No placing stickers, no adding labels, just fill and seal. Also, by getting your packages and printing from the same spot, you know that the design will work on your packaging.

Labels vs. Custom Printing, What You Need to Know about Each: Its Easier and Lasts Longer 


Pro #2- It Lasts Longer

Unlike labels or stickers, the printing on your custom bag is as durable as the bag itself. When you use waterproof bags like our metalized film or aluminum bags, the custom printing will be equally as resilient. The printing can't peel off or wrinkle, and it will still look great for much longer than labels can.


Pro #3- It Looks More Professional

Every legitimate business uses custom printed packaging. That is because custom bags exude an air of quality. When a brand has designed and created its packaging, you know it cares about its image. That concern then also extends to the quality of their product. A premium package signals a premium product stored inside.


Pro #4- Custom Printing can be combined with Labels

Each of the two branding methods has its benefits. So, why pick one over the other? You can easily design your package with custom printing and leave a space to place labels. You can add your logo and brand info on one side of the bag, and place a label for the unique product type on the other side. This way you get the professional look of custom printing, with the customization and versatility of labels.


Labels vs. Custom Printing, What You Need to Know about Each: Cons for Printing

Con #1- Price

Custom printing can be more expensive than labels. However, there is also room for variation for price-sensitive businesses. Single-sided, one color printing is going to be the most affordable option. However, if you want a more colorful and cohesive look, you can spend a little more on double side multi-color print.


Con #2- Less Room for Variety

Custom printed packaging has a higher minimum order quantity than labels. At QQ Studio, our minimum order quantity for custom printed bags is 1000. This means you have to be committed to your design. You also need enough inventory to utilize all the packages. Changes and alterations in the design cannot be easily made when you are printing custom packaging.

Labels vs. Custom Printing, What You Need to Know about Each

Consider this list of pros and cons before you decide on which branding method you will choose. If you are interested in custom printing, visit our page to begin the process of creating your own fully personalized packaging bag. For more information on the sales process, consult our blog on direct and indirect distribution channels. QQ Studio is here to ensure that your products are spread far and wide, all while looking the best they possibly can.

QQ Tip- Combine custom printing and labels to get the professional look of personalized packaging, with the versatility of stickers.


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  • Custom cardboard boxes offer a versatile packaging solution tailored to your needs. Whether for shipping, retail, or gifting, these boxes provide durability and customization options to suit any product. From branding to protection, they’re a cost-effective choice for businesses and individuals alike.
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    Limcy Packaging |
  • It made sense to me when you said that a company cares for its image when it considers a custom label. This makes me think of how retail store owners of clothes need to find a cotton label supplier. I would assume that using custom-printed labels would make their customers feel that they prioritize the quality of their products.

    Shammy Peterson |
  • Thanks for mentioning that there’s lots of variety in the label printing industry. I run a small cosmetics business, and I want to upgrade my packaging. I think that investing in some custom labels would go a long way.

    Eve Mitchell |
  • I’m glad you informed us that labels offer a cheaper and more cost-efficient option when it comes to branding, but there is a variation to choose from that can also significantly affect the price. I sell handmade accessories in my store, so I was thinking of getting custom-printed tags for the items soon. I’ll be sure to keep this in mind while I look for a specialist to contact about the tags soon.

    Elina Brooks |
  • It’s great that you mentioned how cost-efficient it is to opt for custom labels for your branding, so it’s best to consider them carefully. I’m opening a pastry shop later this year, and I need custom labels for my packaging. I’ll keep this in mind while I look for packaging services to hire that will help me with my full-color labels.

    Anna Collins |