Graphic Design Label Requirements

Designing your food bar wrapper is a fun and creative part of the manufacturing process. Before you implement your design, there are several requirements to take into account when developing the artistic strategy of your labels.

The Process

While you do want to strive for a unique and attention-grabbing design for your wrappers, it is important that you do so with the proper layout in mind. When you are ready to move on to designing and printing your wrappers, Element Bars will send you a template for your graphic designer to work with.
Once your graphic designer has developed artwork that will work within the template, they will then send it over to us to finalize. We will then make any adjustments needed to make sure it complies with the requirements for both the FDA and printing production. To find out what the FDA label requirements are, please see the FDA requirements section of our wholesale website.

The Choices

If you look closely at the food bar wrappers you see in stores, you will discover that there are really only two types of label templates; a sticker label and a film label. We will take a look at the sticker label first.

Sticker Label Requirements

All sticker labels are 2 inches by 5 inches in size and are digitally printed. This simply means that you can select a certain shade of red on the screen, but the red you select may not look the same once it is actually printed. Sticker labels will be printed on sheets and they are color printed edge to edge. Because the labels will be printed immediately next to each other, there will be no space between the designs. When designing your template, you may choose to have a continuous design for this reason. Otherwise, you will have to accept that there will be variances in the designs. Below is sample of the template for the front and back label of your sticker template.
Front Label –
Outside of the FDA label requirements, you have complete control over what goes on your front label. You will definitely want to make great use of the space to come up with a unique design for your food bar wrapper.
Back Label –
Contrary to the front label, your back label only gives you a limited amount of space for design. The blacked out area in the image represents the area where the FDA requirements, such as the nutrition and health information, must be placed. In short, white means go, black means stop. Element Bars will assist you in calculating and placing all nutrition panel information.
While it is not a requirement, it is strongly preferred that we receive your designs as a vector file. Vector files give us the flexibility to scale your graphics to a certain size without losing any of the resolution. In addition, these files are more efficient to print and they come out a lot cleaner and sharper looking. Vector images are produced in the following file types; AI (Adobe Illustrator), PDF, and EPS (Encapsulated PostScript).

If you still are not sold on vector files, the other option is to have a bitmap file, also known as a raster. This type of file is constructed from pixels, and are usually in the form of a digital picture. Think about a time when you tried to enlarge a photo for printing. Most likely it got pretty blurry and pixelated as you increased the size. The same thing happens when we use these types of files for printing labels. Additionally, even at the required size of 300 dpi (dots per inch), bitmap files will not produce the same quality as vector images. Lines and dots may still be visible to the naked eye on printed labels. We highly recommend vector files.

Printed Film Template

Your other option for packaging is the printed film template. This is a 6 inch by 6 inch film wrapper as outlined in the graphic below.
When you choose this template, it is important to follow the layout exactly as shown. Due to the type of sensor contained within our packaging machine, the area labeled as the “white channel” or that states “No Printing (or white only)” in the diagram must be kept blank. If you were wondering what area on your label has the greatest chance for error, this would be it. No matter how great your design might be, if it goes into that area, it will need to be removed.

Also, if you intend on having information outside of that required by the FDA written on your wrapper, your designer should avoid including it by the end or fin seals. Once the seals are pressed together, any text will be next to impossible to read.

Depending on how your wrapper is designed, you may opt to have your bar visible through the package. This can be accomplished by selecting a clear film instead of a metallized film for printing. The area that is required to be transparent, must be included in the design and clearly specified. It is crucial that you do not include any colors previously used in the design, nor can you include white. This will allow the printer to recognize the transparent area and leave it blank.

For more information on the different types of wrappers, please see the Wrapper Options section of the Element Bars wholesale website.

Printing Options

Now that you know what you are getting printed, it is time to decide how you want it printed. Stickers are always digitally printed, but you have options when it comes to wrappers. The first choice to make is whether the labels will be digitally printed or produced by an offset printer (also known as a flexo printer). There are pros and cons to each, but ultimately it will come down to the type of quality and the amount of money that you choose to spend. For an in depth look at the difference between digital and flexo printing, please visit the Wrapper Options section of the Element Bars wholesale website.
While digital printing is pretty straightforward, flex printing is a bit more complicated because the colors are separated. Because of this, flexo printers utilize one of two methods for color printing.
4 Color Process Printing –
The 4 color process is a system where a color image is separated into 4 different color values by the use of filters and screens. By taking the four base colors (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black), the printer takes each dot and places a different color over it until the right combination is obtained. Using the 4 color process makes it much harder to match the color that you see on a computer to what you actually want printed. The other downside is that many imperfections such as dots and lines are more visible to the naked eye.
Spot Color -
Instead of creating hues by blending inks during the printing process, spot color printing transfers solid fields of pre-mixed ink directly to the page or object. This means that the color will remain exactly the same with every print run. Since they can’t achieve the same level of color variety as economically as four-color process, spot color designs contain only a limited number of colors (typically between one and three), each applied separately to the desired surface. The maximum amount of colors you should have in this process is 5. Anything beyond that can get very costly.