Starting or managing a clothing brand is a multi-faceted endeavor. From finding affordable manufacturers to managing distributors and choosing fabrics, the logistics aren’t always easy. But as you design and plan your company, there’s one important aspect that shouldn’t be overlooked: labels.
Whether it’s a woven shirt label or a custom made printed label, the branding elements on a garment have a huge impact on how customers feel about your brand. And as How to Start a Clothing Company explains, marketing and advertising simply aren’t enough to sell your product. So instead of relying on external factors, here’s how to create a garment that communicates your brand values through labeling and brand elements.
Using Brand Values to Stand out
People purchase clothing from many different stores and retailers throughout their lives. As an apparel company, your brand helps you stand out from competitors and create loyal customers. According to Ben Scrivens, owner and operator of the horror T-shirt company Fright-Rags, today’s apparel brands need to showcase their authenticity. “Branding is as simple as finding those things you do that sets you apart and honing in on them.”
For apparel companies, labels and tags are one of the best ways to communicate and reinforce brand differentiation. That’s why it’s so important to create a label that attracts people’s attention and shows how your values are different from your competitors. But what exactly are people looking for, and what attracts their attention?
Brielle Yang of SilkCards says that effective hang tags include company information and details that a customer wouldn’t normally expect. For example, you may decide to explain how your product is made or describe the unique materials it’s made from. You also could add information about where the product is made and how that place supports the brand story, or how the brand originally came about. All of these details are unique to your brand, and they’re what help you stand out from competitors. Your clothing label and hang tag can work in conjunction to support a brand’s ideas and reinforce a strong, clear message.
Labels and Product Image
Your labels are an important aspect of your brand’s visual communication strategy. Pulkit Rastogi of I Love Fashion Retail explains that labels, brand tags, fabric material and fasteners all portray your product’s values visually. In professional product shots, these elements influence the buyer and leave a lasting impression.
Labels also provide your brand with an opportunity to establish emotional connections. StartUP FASHION explains “great branding offers acceptance, provides a sense of comfort, and yet challenges a customer. Branding inspires a customer on a level that is not solely about the brand.” And if you want to establish strong, emotional connections with your audience, it’s important that you understand their needs and desires.
Real Thread adds that understanding your audience is one of the most important aspects of owning a clothing brand. If your customers are outdoorsy and adventurous, they may desire clothing tags that are durable and simple. If you have an upscale, city-oriented audience, then it might make sense to choose a high quality tag that evokes class and luxury and avoid something like a branded heat transfer label. Understanding your target market and how they go about their day can help guide you towards the right label and tag design.
Label and Tag Design
Regardless of which materials or styles you use, Print Aura explains that simple is always better. Rather than taking up the entire tag space with a long product description, keep it succinct. Choose a few key product features and summarize them in a handful of words for a powerful message that customers remember.
All apparel companies should have a basic understanding of color psychology. Because no matter what color the clothes are, your branding materials and labels can make or break how a customer feels about your brand. Graphic designer Nick Spence reveals that a signature brand color can boost recognition by as much as 80 percent. If you want to establish security and trust — values that are especially important for selling clothing online — blue is the best color to choose. If your labels are a consistent blue color that align with the rest of your brand, for example, you’re much more likely to establish trust and stand out in customers minds.
If it’s excitement and independence you want to portray, red shades can do the trick. Smile.io explains that red is associated with passion, life and energy, so a red label could be well-suited for a brand seeking to define a new niche or be seen as a trendsetter in the industry. When it comes to creating happy customers who associate your product with joy, Help Scout says yellow might be the best choice. In fact, yellow is psychologically the happiest color in the entire spectrum.
But just because yellow evokes happiness doesn’t mean it’s the right choice for your brand. If you’re marketing to children or millennials and your brand mission is about helping people enjoy life while they wear your clothes (a bathing suit or exercise company, for example) yellow could be a solid fit. If, on the other hand, you’re creating high end suits for corporate executives, yellow isn’t exactly aligned. Your label colors are also a part of establishing brand loyalty, because a customer will continue to rely on you to evoke a certain image once you’ve told that story through a color.
If you’re an organic cotton shirt brand or a company committed to sustainable practices, a label made from an eco-friendly material can help reinforce your message. Lindsay Patton of One Green Planet says that hemp and soy are two plants that have minimal impact on animals and the environment. Creating labels from these materials can help reinforce your values as a brand committed to sustainability.
Lightning Labels explains that “using recycled labels, made from 100 percent post-consumer content, is a great way to show that your brand is interested in protecting the environment. Recycling means breaking the cycle of producing new materials and leads to a reduced carbon footprint for all related products.”
You can also communicate earth friendly commitments by letting your clothing label’s natural color shine. Author Marissa Stapley explains that organic cotton usually comes in pale, cream or light green naturally. Instead of following suit with other brands and dipping these labels in chemicals to change their colors, let their natural hues shine. These colors already evoke a sense of calm, so it’ll help reinforce your message.
Another important way to communicate your values through labeling is to ensure that all labels are consistent. This helps a brand uphold its values and ensures that all customers receive the same brand message over time.
According to Retail Insider, having all of your clothing labels and hang tags designed by the same company is one way to ensure consistency. From the label color and material to its overall quality, working with a reliable manufacturer is key to sending a strong and consistent message. It’s easy to adopt a branding or label trend just because all of your competitors are. But adopting trends can have serious implications on your business if they don’t properly reflect your brand.