How Shrink Sleeve Labels Overcome Design Challenges

You might not notice, but you see shrink sleeve labels on many products you purchase and use every day. The ability of printed shrink sleeves to conform to nearly any container shape and provide graphics and content over a larger area of the container makes it an increasingly popular labeling choice for consumers and consumer goods companies alike.

And chances are, you’re seeing more and more shrink sleeved products on the shelves of your local grocery store—and that’s likely making those products a lot more eye-catching.

Finding the Right Fit
Whether it’s eye-popping color or intricate designs, shrink sleeve labels are capable of approaching the level of artwork. With the right software and the right design professionals, shrink sleeve labels make products in any market stand out.

From a container design standpoint, shrink sleeve labels deliver significant aesthetic advantages. Using shrink sleeves allows the ability to utilize full-container design. Using the entire container gives you significantly more available area to convey the information you want to show your customer (and information that the FDA requires). Since the sleeve label can cover the complete container, the entire package is available for graphics and branding, giving your marketing efforts more space to communicate key brand messaging.

Shrink labels also make possible a range of functional label features that give additional benefits that other label types don’t provide. Shrink sleeves can be designed to accommodate tamper-evidence features, for instance, or designed for product multi-packs and with added promotional elements for on-shelf display.

Development of new enhanced shrink sleeve materials also opens options for container shape. Materials with controlled shrink rate, and higher shrink levels enable effective label decoration of more complex shapes. Trigger spray bottles often used in household cleaning applications are a particularly common example of a marriage of a complex container shape with a compelling shrink sleeve label design. Today, the range of available shrink sleeve materials opens the use of shrink sleeve labeling to an ever widening range of contoured containers.

Design Considerations
Effective label design requires specific software technology and trained design staff to optimize label appearance and to avoid design problems within the layout of artwork on the shrink sleeve. Designers must compensate for the level of shrink depending on location of graphics on the bottle. For example, design elements placed on a narrow portion of a bottle must be adjusted to account for the large amount of shrink that will occur there.

Without proper location of graphics, text, and integration of the label seam into the label design on the container, serious design flaws could result. The final “lay-flat” size of the completed sleeve is also a critical step to ensuring effective placement and overall appearance of the applied, finished label.

A brand’s packaging team should work closely with experienced label designers to help ensure proper size, seam placement, and compensation for graphic design elements to ensure the label achieves the intended look after shrink without unexpected and potentially unattractive results.

Work with a label expert to ensure selection of the proper shrink sleeve material for your container design and label application equipment. Proper material selection is important to ensure smooth packaging operations. The right material choice will also help make sure your label shrinks correctly and provides the appeal necessary to drive product sales.

While shrink sleeve labels can help your product stand out on the shelf and overcome design challenges posed by complex containers, it’s important to carefully choose the labeling professionals you work with using this solution. Packaging Utah has the expertise and capabilities you need for your shrink sleeve products. Our team is here to help you from start to finish. No matter how complex your order, we will help you achieve the label you want.

To start your project today, call Packaging Utah at 866-516-1205, email us at, or visit our website at to request a quote.