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20 Jun '18

Using the right SHAPE label for your content.

Posted by Ron Schwarz

While the standard Return Address Label is just a bit over three times as wide as high, this is not a good shape for all content.  Even some addresses with four and five lines would look better on a label that is closer to twice as wide as tall. 

Three examples of a standard Return Address Label shapes are displayed below:

Original IPC Size Label Standard Roll Label Size Avery Return Address Label Size
Original IPC Label Size Standard Roll Label Size Avery "Return Address" Size

You can see that three line content, four line content with longer lines, and content with a monogram or icon fits on this shape label pretty well.   However, four line content with shorter lines, and five line content leaves a lot of "wasted" space on the edges of the label.   In addition six and seven line content simply will not fit without the font becoming so small as to be unacceptable to most people.

Three example of labels with a smaller width to height ratio are displayed below.  The smallest is only suitable for up to three or four lines since the label is so small.  It is really best with three shorter lines that would leave too much empty space on the 1.75" x 0.5" labels.   But it will work well with four lines if the print can be pretty small.  The next two labels work well with 5 and 7 lines respectively.   They both have enough height to print more than four lines without leaving empty space to the sides of the printed content.

Small 1.25 x 0.5 label Medium Small 1.25 x 0.75 Label Larger 1.75 x 1.0 label
1.25" x 0.5" 1.25" x .75" 1.5" x 1.0"

So, this raises the question, how do you determine the best shape for your content if you want the label be completely used without a lot of empty space. The simplest way to start is to simply type your content in any word processor, using a fairly standard font. See Below:

RDS Services, Inc.
892 Deer Valley Road
Willis, Virginia 24380-4208

Next measure the longest line, and the height of the text.   It doesn't really matter what font you use as long as you don't use a very narrow font, like "Arial Narrow" or a very wide font, like "Lucida Handwriting".  Only use one of these fonts if you intend to use them in the final product.  Also, it doesn't matter what font size you use since the ratio will still be essentially the same.  In the example above, on the computer I'm using while typing this the longest line is 1 3/16" (1.1875") long, and the four lines measure 11/16" (0.6875") tall.   This width over height ratio calculates to 1.73  (1.1875 / 0.6875).   Since the 1.25" x 0.75" labels have a with over height ratio of 1.67 (1.25 / 0.75), the content would fit very well on those labels.   However, the  1.75" x 0.75" labels have a width over height ratio of 3.5 (1.75" / 0.5") and as you can see below will leave a wide left and right margin on the label.


LHQ 1.25 x 0.75  
1.25" x 0.75" 1.75" x 0.5"


If you aren't up to the math, no worries, just ask and we can help you determine the best shape for your labels.   

Once you determine the shape, you will still need to determine the size of the label based on the font size you would like, and your budget.   Obviously the larger the label the larger the font, but the larger label also costs more per label than a smaller label.  Since the per sheet cost is about the same, a label with 32 labels per page will cost about twice what a label with 64 per page.   So, balance minimum font size, with your budget and look at labels close to your width over height ratio to determine the best labels for your application.

To review all "standard" sizes and shapes review our Label Comparison Chart for in-stock options, and our Blank Labels page.

As always if you would like to discuss options that might fill your needs, email us at support@label-headquarters.com with your questions.




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