Frontier Label

Tiny Text Guidelines for Custom Labels

This is an image of a chart of various text point sizes.

Effective labels communicate clearly. Do yours?

When designing your custom labels or stickers, it is wise to keep the end user or customer in mind. What is your desired demographic? What communicates to them most clearly.

Rarely, especially among adult consumers, do people have perfect vision. This means that when you take into account that audience, you need to take the ability to read small text as a luxury, not an assumption.

If you are concerned that the text might not be legible, try printing your design at home at 100% scale. This will give you an idea of what the text size will be once finished. Some home printers have higher resolution printing capabilities than others. To help text be more clearly printed, set the resolution of the image (if raster: .jpg, .psd, or .tiff) to at least 300, but up to 800dpi.

The higher your resolution, the sharper the edges of the text will be (images, too) and the easier it will be to read at all sizes.

For any application at all, we recommend going no smaller than 5pt size for fonts.

This image shows the same line of text at 5, 10 and 15 point sizes.

We can see that the text is very, very small at 5pt on the bottom row.

Further, we recommend that all text be sized to no smaller than 5pt if 100% black (0,0,0,100 CMYK build), or 7pt if built from any other color combinations. When inks are printed at lower than 100% builds, they have spotted coverage of the area intended.

Here is a graphic showing different point sizes and different resolutions with different color builds. Click on the image to expand it to full size.

This is the same text block from the top image, but with pieces of information called out.


In this image you can see that for an RGB build of black, the colors are not solid, so there is no way to create a true black. RGB set to 0,0,0 or  #000000 will always print as a form of gray. To get a true black for text at small sizes, only use CMYK builds that include 100% for the K value. You can see in the image that for the 100% K text, even with some anti-aliasing at the edges, it is still much more solid than the RGB color build. Your labels will look much better and have sharper text legibility with the proper color build.

We have a lot of experience in helping people get their designs print ready. We can help you choose text sizes to increase legibility, or even help you with a design from scratch.

Since we believe in helping our customers in any way that we can, we would love to answer any questions you have. Feel free to give us a call at 877-277-4682 or click the “Live Chat” link at the bottom of this page.

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