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How to design clear stickers and labels

This article is all about how to design the perfect clear stickers or labels.

It covers design aspects that are specific to transparent stickers and albels. If you want a full, in-depth guide to designing the perfect label, see our article How do I design my own custom labels?

Some of the most premium stickers and labels are crystal clear and look beautiful when applied to your product or product packaging. This means getting the design right to create the most beautiful clear sticker or label is super important.

We will go in-depth on 4 points that are vital to think about and specific to designing transparent materials. They are:

  • Think about the colour of your background
  • Ensure your font is legible
  • Create a white layer
  • Use high-contrast colours we needed

Let's get started.

Think about the colour of your background

When you design your sticker or label, you need to think about the colour of the background - the background will be whatever is behind the label (the object you're sticking it to).

For example, if your clear labels will get stuck to transparent glass bottles, it could be the colour of the liquid that's important.

Or if your transparent product label gets stuck to a dark-coloured box or another piece of packaging, you'll need to use white or other high-contrast colours to show against the packaging.

The image below shows a great example of using white as a high-contrast colour to show against the contents of the transparent glass container.

Rectangle clear labels applied to four spice jars filled with different spices

Ensure your font is legible

When designing onto clear materials, you'll generally have less of a contrast than, say, when designing onto a white material.

This is, of course, not always the case, but something to consider during the design phase.

Because there is less of a contrast, or the background can distort the design, you want to ensure the fonts are nice and legible for your readers - even when they forget their glasses!

It would be a shame to lose a sale because the customer cannot read the ingredients or scent, or other vital information.

The image below shows an example where the background can become slightly distorted. This is why the fonts used are larger, so they're still nice and easy to read.

Clear rounded corner sticker applied to a clear candle jar with a white candle next to white flowers in a vase

Compare this to the design below. The designer has used much smaller fonts because they've got the high-contrast white background that they control because of their choice of material.

Rectangle biodegradable paper stickers with detox design applied to a clear glass jar filled with soaking salts

Use high-contrast colours where needed

Now we know to think carefully about what our transparent label or sticker will be stuck to, and we can consider our use of colours.

For parts of your design you want to stand out, you'll want to choose the highest contrast colours possible.

However, in some of the areas of your label or sticker, you may want to be much more subtle to complement your design or to frame your brand.

The image below shows a perfect example of this. The artist has used big, bold, dark font for the product name on this candle label but then brought the essence of the brand through with the subtle colours used for the background - and it works perfectly!

Rectangular eco-friendly clear stickers applied to a clear candle jar with an orange candle

Create a white layer

When designing customised clear stickers or labels, you'll inevitably need to think about white ink. Clear printing relies heavily on white ink.

White ink is a bit special, but nothing to be scared of.

Not all print suppliers offer white ink printing, so be sure to check that out before placing your order. Sticker it offers white ink printing as standard on many of our materials, including clear.

White ink can also be more expensive than printing with CMYK inks. However, it's often worth the investment to get that extra bit of design pizzazz.

When used correctly, white ink can really make your design pop - especially on clear labels. Take this for a perfect example:

Rectangular clear label applied to a pink gin bottle

The white layer in this design utilises the pink colour of the liquid perfectly.

If you are unsure about how best to add this white layer to your design, see our article How do I add white ink to my design for more information.

How to make transparent stickers online

If this sounds like too much hassle, you can make clear stickers and labels super easily. Simply visit Graphic, our free online design tool to get started. Then, hit print, lean back and let us do the work!

Select your material of choice, and it will immediately generate a clear background for you to fill.

It is as simple as this with most other design tools. Select the "background" tool from the toolbar on the left-hand side of the screen.

You can then choose the "Transparent" option from the background colour drop-down menu.

Now, your entire design will have a transparent background! When you order your clear stickers, our design team can also create a clear background for you.

Then choose your favourite sticker template to edit and modify.

There is no need to worry about your bleed area or white ink. Simply create your design, submit it and leave our design team instructions as to which parts of your design you want white ink printed behind or any other ideas you have.

They will then send you a design proof, a digital representation that shows your final design. If you are happy, send it to print.

Some beautiful examples of custom clear labels

There is nothing better than some great examples to show you what works well and also what is possible.

Here is a selection of beautifully designed transparent labels to give you some inspiration. We hope they help to improve your next label design and get your clear labels printed:

Oval clear sticker with gin logo applied to a clear gin bottle
Round clear sticker applied to a cardboard box with a pink bow containing a wedding gift for guest on a white plate
Rectangular clear labels applied to clear soap dispensers next to bars of soap
Clear eco friendly labels applied to three different honey jars
Clear eco friendly labels applied to a glass soap dispensers containing exfoliant
Clear eco friendly stickers applied to glass containers with brown sugar and oats

Are you ready to print clear labels?

Our clear labels page is the perfect place to start. You can generate an instant quote by inserting how many clear labels your need and what size they should be, get inspired, and learn much more about our label products.

Or, you can stay right here and check out our blog to learn everything about label printing.