Guest Author - Winsome Tapper
Soap labels can be pretty daunting to make. First, the graphics have to be obtained then they have to edited in a program that most of us do not have such as Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. These programs are costly and require a lot of time to understand.
So, what do you do to solve the label problem?
One answer to that is to invest a few hundred dolllars in a good logo. Once you have a good logo, then it becomes easier to get good labels. A good place to find great designers to design labels is Elance. Elance represents hundreds of skilled designers worldwide. One set of labels for all your products can end up costing much less than what you think. So, have a look at their designers portfolios and remember it never costs you anything to get a quote.
In the meantime, how do you solve the problem of labels that are not professional enough.
Here is an idea.
Try to make labels from products that are sold for scrapbooking. That includes papers, stamps, embossing inks and powders, embellishments, aging inks and acid dyes. The more handcrafted your labels appear, the more imperfect they are allowed to be.
In addition scrapbooking supply stores offer great embellishment classes. Last time I checked, one class, which lasted two hours was less than $60.00, supplies not included.
(To start learning how to use Adobe Photoshop)
But in the meantime, it would be well worth your time to try to understand Adobe Photoshop to create basic labels. First download the trial software from Adobe Photoshop CS3.
Adobe Photoshop creates images that are pixelated - which means that there is a certain amount of dots per inch each inch of the design. This is much like bed linen that is 180 thread count versus 400 thread count - there is a big difference between the two. Therefore, a picture that is say 300 DPI's (dots per inch) will have a different resolution (clarity of detail) than an image that is say 72 DPI's per inch. The image which is 300 DPI's will be a larger file and be more detailed (because of the fine resolution) than the image that is 72 DPI's. So, it is impotant when setting the resolution of the image to create it at a higher DPI, say 300-600, for print. Usually an image taken from the internet will be of of low resolution and will not be good for printing labels. Reason for this is that typical website graphics usually are only 72 DPI's.
So the first rule of creating labels is that all images created have to be set to have a resolution of 300 DPI's or more. Anything less would be poorly defined. Remember, the quality can be scaled down, but not up, so it is important to start with a high resolution file.
So to start creating a soap cigar label create a new document in Photoshop. Even if you do not have any designs in mind still try to create a label in Photoshop. You would be surprised at how beautiful plain words by themselves without any pictures look.
GOTO FILE NEW - name the document and set the size. Set the document size at 2.5-3 inches in length x 8 inches wide(It may be set the other way around, but for the time being, this way is easier to edit). This is a standard size of most soap cigar bands, plus you are making use of all of the width of a regular 8.5 x 11 inch sheet of paper.
Make sure in this same box that color is set to RGB and resolution is 300. Also, make sure, the background contents are set to TRANSPARENT.
Set the label so that the view you have of it is a realistic one. GOTO - VIEW -ZOOM OUT. Zoom out until the image bar says 33% which is the size at which the document will print at. If the image were zoomed in at 100% then the image would be bigger than the the computer screen. This is because the 300 DPI's image takes up more real estate on a computer screen that is set for web graphics that have DPI's of 72.
FYI: The print standard for professionally worked labels is usually 300-600 DPI's per inch.
Next, set the colors. If the color palette is not floating around in the workspace then GOTO Windows and check - SWATCHES. The color palette has different colors to choose from for the foreground colors and background colors. For the meantime, lets try one of the colors. Click on one of the colors. This first color chosen is the foreground color.
In Photoshop, everything has to have layers. So make a layer. GOTO - LAYERS - NEW. The box that opens up gives you the chance to name your layer - make sure the name is significant like - 'LOGO LEAF' or something that will help you to distinguish the contents of the different layers.
Select the type tool(T) and type the name of the company or soap. Create another layer and put graphics on that layer. Then a third or fourth till the label is complete.
To get graphics onto a layer. GOTO FILE - OPEN - and find the graphic file. Open it in Photoshop. Position that file on its separate page near your open label file by minimizing both boxes by dragging the cprners till both fit in the workspace, then select the picture and drag it onto your workspace. Remember that the layer that was last selected before the drag is the layer the graphics file will be positioned on.
Click on each layer and move the contents around. Get familiar with what this means.
Having different layers means that:
*Text can be superimposed on graphics
*That graphics can be layered for effects
*That editing one layer to change the name of one product would mean that the other information in the label would remain intact.
*That once you have your labels designed in Photoshop, you would be able to update the ingredients or other info on the label without having to get a designer to do this.
*And much more.
(Stay tuned for more on working on a label template to finish the soap labels)
Download Adobe Photoshop CS3 Trial.