Label Tutorial - Info Gathering

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Stacy

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A few people were asking for a tutorial on labels. I am not an expert by any means, but I'm happy to try and put something together. It might take me some time, as I'm sure you know, life has a way of laughing at you when you make plans to do something like this. :Kitten Love:

I'm not trying to be presumptuous, if anyone else is already working on this, let me know.

I need some information though so that it can be helpful to people. I use Photoshop, a lot of programs will be similar, but there will be variations on how to do things. So first off, what programs do you all use? Does anyone use a free program that they swear by (I know there are a ton out there, but I haven't used any, so first hand reviews are best).

Secondly, what level of detail are we looking at? Do you want to know how to manipulate photos or just text and colours? Do you need resources of where to get things? Are they for personal use or business (I don't care but it makes a difference to source things like fonts and photos)?

ETA: If you give me an example of a label that you'd like to try to make that would be most helpful in deciding what techniques to focus on!
 
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not_ally

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I would *love* a tute on this, Stacy. I don't use any graphics programs so far, so would probably end up using/buying whatever people on here recommend. I hate to say it because it makes things harder for you - and you will be doing so much work anyway - but I know absolutely nothing about working w/this stuff.

I did try a couple of programs about a year ago just to get an image and text scaled down to size (don't even remember which ones now, although I did not pay for them) but did not use colors. And never made any labels, the whole exercise was too frustrating. Mine would be for personal use.

Thank you for being willing to take this on!
 
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janzo

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Wow Stacy that is incredibly kind of you and one you might regret when you realise how useless I am in this department!! I bought Printmaster thinking I would find a template for a cigar band and be able to sort out everything from there, but can't even find the right template!! I also struggle with a very weak wifi signal, cannot watch you tube videos so that is a problem. I live in a remote part of Zambia on a coffee farm so technology has not reached here! Any help you can give me would be much appreciated.
 

Dorymae

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I use avery for almost all my labels. I print on waterproof labels and use a color laser printer. For manipulation of photos or backgrounds I use picmonkey. Both are free programs.
 

Seawolfe

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Stacy, I use Gimp, which is a free full featured program similar to Photoshop. I teach a few tutorials on how to use it in a virtual world. If you like I can "translate" your PS tutorial into Gimp if you thought that was useful? PS isn't cheap, and I've yet to find something PS can do that Gimp cant, but I haven't tried everything :)
 

Stacy

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Thanks Seawolfe, I was looking at Gimp and Paint.net.

Paint.net looks good but it doesn't have things like editable text and guidelines without addons. I'll get gimp and take a look at it. I'd like to try to do a simple version in a freebie program, then just provide the 'translation' as you say. Most of the things that PS does really well are high level. Given the expense and the daunting amount of tools with Photoshop for someone new to this sort of thing, a free program would probably be best (and honestly more than adequate-I don't even feel I use most of the features in PS).

Plus less spent of software means more for soap supplies!

For those of you worried about your level of skill when it comes to this, just look back to when you first started soaping. It was scary and overwhelming but once you learned a few techniques and a bit of the 'language' you were making your own recipes. This is a skill like that. With the creative people here, I have lots of faith. :D

ETA: Oh yes, Gimp should do nicely. It looks like it has all the basics for sure!

Thanks folks, I'll get started on it.

I'll do up something covering the basics with gimp and then we'll translate from there. Most of these things will work the same in one program or another, it's just learning to recognize the icon for the tools and the quirks of your program. Once we get the basics down we can address stuff like Avery and different photo programs!

Anyone else who has any specific requests for a technique etc. please feel free to add them.
 
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not_ally

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When I tried I used gimp and Irfanview, but I was *still* sort of stymied. See, Stacy and Sea, this is not going to be an easy task ...
 

Dahila

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I use Microsoft publisher and would love the tutorial, if you know it. I am trying to make all page with pattern but it would not let me, or I have no idea how to do it. Any help would be appreciated Stacy. :))
 

SplendorSoaps

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I use MS Publisher as well, and would LOVE a tutorial! I'm sure that people with graphic design backgrounds can just whip these things out like they're nothing, but my simple little labels took me far longer to produce than I had intended. I'd much rather be making soap! LOL
 

Seawolfe

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Paint.net can be fun for web banners and the like, but yeah it is a bit simplistic for a few things.
 

navigator9

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I've tried Gimp, Paint.net, Irfranview, PicMonkey, and I haven't gotten to a comfortable level with any of them. I would appreciate a tute on any free site, really. I use Avery Design Pro to print my labels that I've designed on Picture it, the program that I'll be losing when I finally hook up my new computer. Avery Design Pro is a nice program, and allows me to fit four cigar band labels per page without any waste at all. But all of my "artistic" work is done on Picture It, things like layers, making objects larger and smaller, using color fill, fading things in or out, things like that, that I've never been able to feel comfortable with on any of the other programs. So a tutorial on any user friendly program would be appreciated, because I'm at a point where I need to make a choice, and I really don't know which program to choose. You are an absolute angel to offer your help!
 

gigisiguenza

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I love gimp because it is so similar to Photoshop. I've made many a client project using gimp and had no issues with it. But it does have a sharp learning curve just like Photoshop. I miss my laptop for one reason - my graphics apps lol.

ETA plus there are a million gimp tutorials on YouTube to learn from for newbies.
 

Dahila

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Stacy so what have you decided. Whichever program you do tutorial I will follow :)
 

Misschief

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I use Page Plus by Serif (pc only), not only at home but I have it installed on my work computer as well; I work in a print shop, for full disclosure. In our graphics department, they use Adobe InDesign. Serif Page Plus is a purchased program but is a fraction of the cost of the Adobe products and does almost everything InDesign can do. Allow me to make a few suggestions.

First, if you'll be taking your files to a print shop for printing, save or export all your creations to pdf, especially if you're using Publisher. A lot of print shops no longer support Publisher files and no print shop I know of has ever supported Print Shop. Every print shop can open a pdf and see what you see.

Second, if you're using PhotoShop (or Gimp, or any photo based program), be aware that it is, primarily, a photo based program and not a text based program. We've had issues with text being fuzzy and almost unreadable in some cases. Also, when using any graphics program, set up your file to the measurements you want your finished product to be. For instance, if you're creating a business card, don't set it up as 32" x 24" and expect good results at 3.5" x 2" (yes, we've had that happen... numerous times); it also works the other way. If you want a 24 x 36" poster, don't set up your file at 8.5 x 11" and expect good results.

Third, and related to the first point, if your program of choice doesn't save or export to pdf, install a program/printer driver like Primo pdf (pc only). Once installed (and it's a small file), it will show up in your printer drivers as a print option. It works well.

Fourth, remember that what you see on your screen may not be what you see in your printed product. We get so many people who are disappointed because the final colour isn't the same as they see on their home computers. Your home computers aren't calibrated to the machines they'll be printing to. They may be able to get close but it will rarely be exact.

Sorry for rambling on.... the above issues are things we deal with on a daily basis and if I can steer anyone in the right direction, I may steer them away from ultimate disappointment.
 

IrishLass

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I use Publisher, with a little help from Run Pixie to fine-tune my colors so that the color of my text matches any pics that I might use on my labels. I have lots of fun with it, and actually enjoy it as much as I enjoy making soap, sometimes even more. For me, Publisher jives with the way my mind works- in other words, it makes 'sense' to me (unlike Photoshop which is enough to drive me stark raving mad, and I own the easy version!). Publisher, on the other hand is much more intuitive for me and very easy for me to use.


IrishLass :)
 

Stacy

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I'm going to start with Gimp. It's free and fairly straightforward...well from the point of view of how these programs work in general.

The write-up is about half done, and I've already recorded the video portion a couple of times, but I need to redo it and speak...more...slowly. I tend to speak too fast in general and when teaching it doesn't help anyone ;-)

Once that much is done and fine tuned (so that it's actually helpful), maybe we can try to work on other programs/printing.

Misschief >> Those are all really good points. I've had a few things printed for me and I have just enough knowledge to be dangerous in that regard. I plan on telling people to set up the image to the actual print size they want (as you suggested) and at a 600 DPI/PPI resolution. I know that's high for most home printing, but then if someone changes their mind and wants to send it out a later date, they have the option. Maybe this is overkill and I should suggest 300?

The printer color is a very important issue I almost forgot about, I'll have to touch on that as well.

gigisiguenza >> I know there are already a ton of tutorials out there, but if I'm hoping if I can focus on some basics that are used in labels just to get people started it will be a little less overwhelming. From there if they're feeling brave they can wade into deeper waters. :lol:

I checked on the price of Photoshop yesterday just to see if it was expensive as I remember. It is. The last downloadable version is 1000 USD. They seem to have moved their model to a cloud based subscription service now, so you also have the option of paying 50 dollars per month to use it.

So Gimp will work just fine!

IrishLass >> You make a good point as well, everyone work a little differently. Sometimes one person can explain for hours and be no help whatsoever, then someone else can come along and clear it up withing a few minutes. It doesn't mean one approach is better than another, just that it worked better for that person.

The same goes for the type of program. Some things will appeal to some people and not others. Even if someone completely 'gets' everything I'm saying in the tutorial, they still might not like the way the program works.

Yes, I'm managing expectations here. :wink:
 
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Consuela

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I use avery for almost all my labels. I print on waterproof labels and use a color laser printer. For manipulation of photos or backgrounds I use picmonkey. Both are free programs.
I also use Avery, have you tried using clear labels - if so what are your thoughts on them?
 

Stacy

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I've used clear labels, but there is one very important thing to remember about them. Printers don't print white (well they can but they're special printers and are very expensive). To save a long explanation, basically, they assume that the paper is white and subtract color strength for shading etc.

This means that any white on your label will be clear and any lighter colors will actually be opaque.

If you have a label with black text only, they'll probably look great, but when you start getting into color, it gets a lot more difficult.
 

Consuela

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This means that any white on your label will be clear and any lighter colors will actually be opaque.

If you have a label with black text only, they'll probably look great, but when you start getting into color, it gets a lot more difficult.
This is exactly what I found! And I found it looked best on a white container - versus a "natural" one. The natural one looked really washed out and light. Wasn't a fan.

I only considered clear labels because of water-proofing thoughts.. Also found the laser rubbed off of the clear labels more easily.
 

Misschief

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I've had a few things printed for me and I have just enough knowledge to be dangerous in that regard. I plan on telling people to set up the image to the actual print size they want (as you suggested) and at a 600 DPI/PPI resolution. I know that's high for most home printing, but then if someone changes their mind and wants to send it out a later date, they have the option. Maybe this is overkill and I should suggest 300?
Higher DPI is always better but, in most cases, 300 dpi is fine. Depending on the complexity of the design, file size could become an issue. My camera takes pictures at 180 dpi and I've printed posters that are 18" x 24" with no loss of detail. Print that same file saved at 72 dpi and it would definitely be blocky.

I've used clear labels, but there is one very important thing to remember about them. Printers don't print white (well they can but they're special printers and are very expensive). To save a long explanation, basically, they assume that the paper is white and subtract color strength for shading etc.
Amen to this one. If you want a white on your label, print on white stock. Colour is fine on a clear label but do not include any white; anything white will remain clear on your label. Even using a press, it is difficult to print white. It would take at least two passes with white ink to get a really nice white, which is why we never print white on black card stock. Not only is it difficult for the pressman to get it lined up each time, it also becomes more expensive for our customers and there's a lot more waste. Digitally, we print the background, not the text.

Might I also make a suggestion concerning font choice? When you're choosing a font (or typeface), especially for your ingredients (logos and product name are a different matter), a serif font (i.e. Times Roman) is easier to read than a sans serif (i.e. Arial). The serifs lead the eye from letter to letter, reinforcing the shapes of the letter. And avoid all caps.

Just my two cents. :)

I'll stop now.
 

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