Holographic stickers are all the rage. They’re eye catching and durable, and a fun and easy way to advertise or spice up your packaging. If you’ve admired holographic stickers for a while but had no need for them in your packaging repertoire, you’ll be pleased to know that you can have holographic product labels too! In this guide, we’ll walk you through how to design holographic labels and show you some truly stunning examples in action.
How We Make Holographic Labels
So, we’ve got some friends on Mars… just kidding. We make holographic labels by printing on a durable holographic film. Our cyan, magenta, and yellow inks are translucent, which means colors will take on the same holographic effect when printed directly onto the material. Our black and white inks are opaque, so they block out that holographic effect. We apply a primer layer of white ink called spotwhite underneath any color areas that are intended to be opaque.
Design Your Labels
While designing your label, you should already be brainstorming where you want the holographic effects to be. Areas that you want to be the raw holographic material should include absolutely no color in that part of your design. Any colors that you want to be holographic need to stay at 100% opacity–remember, the inks are already translucent! Also keep in mind that areas with black or white ink won’t be able to be holographic, as those inks are too thick to allow the holographic material to show through.
Keep it simple with minimal holographic effects, or create an iridescent masterpiece with dozens of holographic colors.
Pro Tips for Designing a Holographic Label
- Ditch the gradient effects. The holographic material will already provide that iridescent rainbow effect, so a gradient will only muddle it up.
- Let the material speak for itself. If you want to pull off a metallic or chrome look, avoid applying a gray color build to the area. Though the gray area will take on a slight holographic shimmer, it will lack the brilliance of the raw material. Leave these areas in your design devoid of color so you can take advantage of the vibrant silver hologram look.
- Highly saturated colors steal the show. Remember, the base color of the holographic plastic is silver, so lighter colors can darken once printed. Choosing highly saturated color builds ensures your design prints vibrantly and beautifully.
- Your label finish matters! For maximum shine, a gloss laminate will take your label to the next level. To heighten the contrast between the holographic elements and opaque ones, a matte laminate will surely do the trick.
Build Your Spotwhite Layer
After building your artwork layer, you’ll need to build your spotwhite layer. The spotwhite layer tells us which areas you want to be opaque and which areas you want to have the holographic effect. Read the instructions below and follow along with our step-by-step video to learn how to make your spotwhite layer.
- Duplicate your artwork layer and rename it “spotwhite.” This layer should be at the top of the list in your Layers window.
- Create a new swatch in the Swatches window. Name the swatch “spotwhite” and change the color type from process color to spot color. Set the ink to only 100% magenta.
- Elements that need white ink printed, whether to be white or to be opaque, must be set at 100% spotwhite. Elements with no white ink printed (areas you want to appear holographic) must be set at 0% spotwhite. Every element on the spotwhite layer must have the spotwhite swatch, either at 100% or 0%.
- After spotwhite is applied to all elements, use select all to select everything on the layer. Open the Attributes window and check that Overprint Fill is checked on everything. If the option for Overprint Stroke is available, be sure to check that option also.
- To check that the Overprint attributes and spotwhite are correct, go to the View menu and select Overprint Preview. You should be able to see your artwork through the spotwhite layer. Check to make sure everything is lining up well.
Note: The instructions above are specifically for files built in Adobe Illustrator. If you’re using Photoshop, check out our step-by-step video for spotwhite creation using that particular program.
Place Your Order
Got your label designed and ready to go? Head on over to the Order page! From here, you can upload your artwork and submit it to our team. We’ll be sure to review your artwork and send you a proof of your labels before sending your order to print. Electronic proofs are selected by default, but if you wish to see a physical proof, just select “Printed Proof” under the Advanced Options. We can’t wait to print your holographic labels and stickers!