What are the best practices for designing a Woven Clothing Label?

Weaving a Custom Clothing Label is a unique art that has specialized design requirements we have provided in detail below.

Why Woven Clothing Labels?

Labels need to last the lifetime of the item they are applied to which is why Woven Labels are still the most popular way of labeling fabric-based items (among many other types of products). Another basic reason woven labels are so popular for labeling fabric items is that they are also a fabric item ensuring a natural continuity that makes the label and the item feel like one unified object. It would be quite weird to put on a fabric shirt that had a wooden label :)

Woven Labels also hold their color and shape through immense wear and tear or countless cycles through the washing machine. Woven labels have vivid color, sharp lines and when people see them they take notice. 

What Does “Woven” Mean Exactly?

When we say “Woven Labels” we are referring to a process where a loom uses individual thread colors to create an interlocking pattern that produces an emergent design - in this case a custom clothing label. 

In some cases you can see the inverted thread pattern on the backs the label. 

Our machines weave up to 12 different color threads into a single label design. This is why you want to limit the number of colors when designing your labels. Each color of thread in your design also increases the price of the label - for small quantities the difference in price is negligible but for larger quantities the difference in price can be substantial. Logos and simple vector illustrations are great for weaving. Photographs or images with gradients in them are difficult to weave or cannot be woven at all which is why they should be avoided when you create your Woven Label design.

The difference is similar to screen printing vs. digital printing. You screen print with specific ink colors (similar to the individual thread colors) whereas digital printing mixes the color of each pixel as it moves along a medium. Screen printed items tend to look sharper, brighter and last longer while digitally printed items can look photo realistic but the colors are more dull and the lines are less sharp.

Typical Uses of Woven Labels

Woven Labels typically show off the branding of the item maker and more importantly communicates who is responsible for making it. For apparel you generally see branding labels attached at the neck or sleeve of a shirt or in the case of pants the inside waist or on a back pocket. For most other products the label is placed on an inconspicuous seam, pocket or side panel.

There are no hard rules on where to put a label. If you think you can make an interesting label placement work, go for it, and be sure to send us a picture on Instagram! We love seeing your label design and application innovations.

Methods For Designing Labels

We have two ways you can create designs for a Woven Label. You can design your label online with our label design tool or you can upload a custom design and specify advanced options like shapes, sizes, centerfolds or edge folds.

If you are just starting out and don't have an official logo, the online design tool is probably best for you. If you have a logo and/or specific design for your label you will want to upload the artwork for us to produce into a label.

If you are working with a graphic designer for your label designs, simply send them this link and suggest they read the guidelines before creating your label design.

Common Information To Include on a Label

Labels by their nature are meant to be small and unobtrusive in most cases. By extension, this also means that label text needs to be quite small to fit on a small area while still having text that is big enough to read. You want to make sure you include enough text and information to support your label goals but it is generally good to keep the amount of text on your label to just the essentials.

Brand Name

The name of your business or brand. Remember to include a copyright or trademark symbol if you have one registered.

Website URL

The URL of your website. You can skip the "www." in most cases if you want to save space on your label - just make sure your site works without the www first by checking in your browser.

Business Phone Number

A contact number that you expect to keep for a while. Remember to include your area or country code if you plan to distribute your labeled items to a large audience.

"Made-In" Information

There are many reasons you might want to disclose where the item you are labeling was made. In many countries there are regulations that require you to disclose where the item was made in order to sell or export it. You may also just want to show some local pride!

Item Size

There are generally two ways you can add size information to your labels. You can add the size information to the overall label design - but keep in mind that this method requires you to create a separate design for each size you want on your label. If you don't mind designing and ordering separate labels for each item size you need, it will give you the most control over your final label look and application.

The other (and generally cheaper) option is to purchase a separate set of size labels that you sew into your items along with your brand label. This method requires more work on your end but is more flexible.

Item Variations

Does your item have major variations that are worth distinguishing prominently? You may want to think about ordering multiple label designs that include variation information so that it is clear to people looking at your item.

Designing A Label Online

Our label design tools ensure your labels will be legible and produced at a standard size that looks good and is easy to apply.

Our label design tool gives you the following label design options:

  • 3 industry standard label sizes - small, medium and large. The smaller the label the less text you can fit on it so keep that in mind when selecting your size.
  • The text you want on your label. Text will automatically scale to best fit the dimensions of the label size you choose. The bigger the label the more text you can fit on it and/or the bigger the text will be.
  • A library of fonts that you can apply to your label text to give it more character and better showcase your brand.
  • A library of symbols you can use to give your label an artistic flair. Due to space constraints you can only add one symbol per label.
  • Separate color selections for your label background and text. You will want to make sure that you pick either a light-on-dark or dark-on-light color scheme for your label to make sure your text and symbol are legible and stand out.
  • The ability to add a frame around your label design.
  • The ability to select either sew-on labels or iron-on application methods for your labels.

In the event that you are not able to fit the amount of text you need or have other requests for your label that the design tool cannot accommodate you can either have a graphic designer create a design that you can upload or contact customer support who can help you figure out other options for your desired label design.

Creating A Label Design In A Creative Application

If you are somewhat experienced with labels and sewing you will likely want to have your logo on your labels - or even make special designs specifically for your label application purposes. Most customers use Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator to create their labels but virtually any creative software can be used to design a label.

When you send us a label design we turn it into a weaving pattern that requires a certain level of abstraction between the pixels in your image and how the weaving machine will weave the threads that make up your design.

Our specialty is being really good at translating images into weaving patterns but there is always going to be some level of difference between the image and the final woven result due to how weaving works. This is true for any weaving method and is not specific to Dutch Label Shop labels.

What You See Is What You Get

You will always get the best result when you represent exactly what you want in your uploaded label design. If you only have a file that contains your logo but want it placed on the top half of a centerfold label, either create a design that places the logo in the top half of the image or contact customer support and we will place your logo into your desired design for you.

Don’t be shy. We’re happy to help!

Detailed Label Design Specifications

Label Design Size & Format

  • Label design files should be .jpg .png .pdf .ai or .psd format.
  • Label designs are automatically interpreted by our system as being 300dpi - meaning for every 300 pixels in your image we will see that as 1 inch / 2.54 cm worth of label in either dimension.
  • Label design files should be the actual dimensions of the label you want. Example: If you want a label that is 2 inches wide by 1 inch high (or 2.54cm x 5.08cm) - you would submit a design that is 600 pixels wide by 300 pixels high so that it comes out to 2 inches x 1 inch when interpreted at 300dpi.

Label Design Colors

  • Don’t use more than 12 individual colors in your design - remember each color you use will be converted into an individual thread color
  • Avoid using gradients or photography in your design

Label Text

  • For legibility reasons you generally do not want to show type that is smaller than 24px but labels are special and you can go as low as 16px in type size. Any text smaller than 16px will be very difficult to both weave and/or read.

Adding Folds to Designs

  • If you are adding centerfolds or edge folds to your design, use a black or gray dotted line.
  • You can also add folds to your design when you upload it but you will still need to make sure you have accounted for them when you create your design layout. If you are not sure how to do this, feel free to contact customer support and we will be happy to help you out.

Adding Sewing/Seaming Allowances

  • If you need a special sewing allowance make sure you factor that into the size and placement of the elements in your design. Example - If you need a large sewing allowance just add more background/canvas space to your design so that there is plenty of room around your design elements for sewing threads to pass through the label without colliding with your design elements.
  • You can add a standard .25 inches/6mm sewing allowance to your design when you upload your design to the site if you would prefer to avoid modifying your design directly.

Custom Label Shapes

  • We can laser cut labels into non-rectangular shapes like simple circles all the way up to the outline of a logo, animal or other object
  • The width and height you see in the upload design tool is calculated based on the rectangular box that fits around the edge of the design - the final size will be cut to your supplied dimensions
  • If you click “Custom Shape” under “Label Type” that lets us know that you want us to cut out the shape of the label you have provided us. We will always reach out to you to confirm your custom shape before we produce your order.

We Review Every Label Design

If you choose to provide your own label design or logo your order will be checked to make sure it can be produced at the requested size and we will reach out to let you know if we have any concerns.

We take pride in helping you get the label you envision.