Image Credit: StickerGiant Via Flickr
Stickers are fun and effective – that’s why we see them everywhere. A well-designed sticker can easily convey important information through the text, imaging, styles and colours.
Designing your very own colour stickers is easy if you are sure of what you’re going for and you know what you want the finished product to look like. It’s not necessary to be a pro designer for this, but if you have some basic working knowledge of any mainstream design tool/software, it helps.
Here are important things to keep in mind before and while you design your colour stickers.
This is the very first thing to consider. Many designers get it wrong at times, and that can seriously impact the final quality of the design. If you’re an amateur designer, we recommend understanding the common mistakes designers make and how to avoid them.
Ask yourself what you’re designing the sticker for. Is it for your own personal use or is it going to be used professionally?
If it’s for personal use, you should make sure that it carries your personal brand with it, even if it’s something as casual as a laptop decal. Most such stickers are used for personalization, and that’s why it’s vital to make them look personal – stock designs won’t cut it.
If it’s for professional use, understand the message perfectly well before actually starting the work. Two aspects are the most important in this context – branding and message.
When you’re sure about what message you want your stickers to convey, it becomes much easier to pass it on in the design. There are no lines set in stone here – it’ll all depend on your creative ways. Just be certain of what it is that you’re trying to say and the whole process will become smoother for you.
Understand the colour scheme before you start the design. Many designers wait until the design is actually ready to decide on their colours. If that strategy works for you, well and fine. If not, be sure about all the colours well in advance.
Professional colour stickers don’t have much wiggle room here as the colour scheme is dominated by the branding guidelines. So, the job of choosing colours becomes that much easier.
There’s another angle to this discussion – the sticker material. It’s important to know how the sticker will eventually be printed and what the technical limitations of the process are. Designing a small sticker with dozens of colours makes little sense. In the same way, using complex colour gradients that will not come out as you intend them to in the final product is counterproductive.
It’s easy to understand why complex designs require higher resolutions. Most designing software out there will let you output the design in 300dpi, a common benchmark used by printing companies. Sticker It Die Cut Stickers, for example, require your design to be either in a 300dpi bitmap format or a CMYK coded vector format. These requirements are more or less similar across the board in the industry.
A good design program like Illustrator will let you resample lower resolution designs into a higher resolution output while also letting you adjust pixels and colours as you need. This is, however, best treated as your last option. It’s always easier, less time consuming to start out your designing process with a higher resolution in mind.
Do consider the physical size of the sticker while you deal with its resolution. The same resolution cannot be used in different sizes as the size and resolution are inversely proportional.
While it’s not your job as the designer to worry about the costs of printing (at least, as far as professional stickers are concerned), it’s always a good idea to optimize the design for the downstream costs.
This involves going with easy to print ideas that can – wherever possible – employ less complex elements. Keeping the finer details limited in scope and choosing fewer colours can also bring the final costs significantly down.
The material that these designs will be printed on will also play an important role. It’s common practice to use the same design on multiple materials and/or in multiple sizes for various purposes. For example, product labels use the same design in a variety of shapes and sizes.
Your design should take the costs of printing in multiple sizes and on multiple materials.
Most stickers are either die cut or kiss cut. There’s not much difference in the quality of the two.