DIY vs Professional Label Design: How to Make the Right Choice ?

In the world of branding, your product’s label is its first impression. It has the power to attract customers, communicate your brand’s essence, and ultimately drive sales. But how do you achieve a label design that truly works for your business?

Label Impact : Don’t underestimate the importance of a well-designed label. It can:

  • Instantly Build Recognition: Make your product stand out on crowded shelves – both physical and online.
  • Influence Perception: High-quality design signals that your product itself is also of high quality.
  • Boost Sales: When a label successfully captures attention and builds trust, it convinces shoppers to choose YOU.

Not One-Size-Fits-All : The path to the perfect label design isn’t the same for everyone. For some, doing it yourself (DIY) is empowering and cost-effective. Others find that investing in a professional designer ultimately pays off in a label that exceeds what they could achieve alone.

Goal of the Guide : Our goal isn’t to convince you of one approach over the other. Instead, we want to give you the tools to make an informed decision that aligns with your business’s specific needs, budget, and goals. Let’s explore the pros and cons of both DIY label design and hiring a professional!

1. The Case for DIY (Do It Yourself) Label Design

Sometimes, rolling up your sleeves and designing your own label is the best way to go. Here’s why:

Budget Conscious

  • If you’re a bootstrapped startup or have minimal funds to allocate towards design, DIY can be a lifeline.
  • Numerous free or low-cost online design tools exist (Canva, etc.), giving you the basics to put a label together.
  • This frees up money for other essential areas of your business launch.

Full Control

  • You are the ultimate decision-maker on every aspect of the design – from colors and fonts down to the placement of a single leaf illustration.
  • This can be creatively satisfying, especially if you have a super clear, pre-defined vision in your head.

Potential for Learning

  • DIY label design forces you to at least dabble in the world of graphic design. You might discover a hidden talent!
  • Even if not a future career path, the skills learned translate to other marketing materials you may need to create down the road (social media graphics, simple flyers, etc.)

Important Considerations:

  • Be honest about your skillset. If you’re not naturally design-inclined, a poorly executed DIY label can backfire.
  • Time investment. Design takes longer than you think, especially if you’re learning the tools as you go.
  • Meeting legal requirements. Are you confident your DIY label will contain all mandated information in a compliant way?

2. When Hiring a Professional Designer Makes Sense

While DIY can be empowering, there are times when bringing in outside expertise is the key to getting a label that truly elevates your brand. Consider a pro if:

Lack of Design Skills

  • Be honest with yourself! If terms like “kerning”, “hierarchy”, and “color theory” make your eyes glaze over, a designer saves you from a label disaster.
  • A poorly designed label reflects negatively on your product, while a great one builds instant credibility.

Complex Needs

  • Need a label shaped like a leaf? Intricate botanical illustrations? Photorealistic images of your product?
  • Professional designers have the software mastery (Illustrator, etc.) and experience to execute these elements flawlessly.

Time is Money

  • How valuable is your time as a business owner? Endless hours spent struggling with DIY tools may not be the best use of it.
  • Designers have efficient workflows – getting you results much faster, freeing you to focus on other growth activities.

Branding Expertise

  • Your label shouldn’t exist in isolation. A skilled designer ensures it aligns with your overall brand aesthetic and messaging.
  • This creates a cohesive customer experience, from your website to social media to the product itself in their hands.

Beyond the Label: Designers can often assist with:

  • Logo Development: If yours needs a refresh to match your label’s quality.
  • Packaging Design: Making sure the label works in harmony with the container itself.
  • Marketing Materials: Creating a consistent look across everything your customer interacts with.

3. Factors to Consider

The decision isn’t always clear-cut. Honestly analyze these aspects of your project to gain clarity:

Project Complexity

  • A simple, text-based label on a standard rectangle? DIY is more feasible.
  • Multi-part labels (front, back, and a neck wrap), unusual shapes, or a need for custom illustrations or graphics? Those often necessitate a designer’s expertise.

Brand Importance

  • Is this a hobby project with low stakes, or a core product line vital to your business’s success?
  • The more your reputation and sales hinge on your product’s perceived quality, the stronger the case for a professionally designed label.


  • Have a hard launch deadline? DIY can become an unpredictable time suck, especially if you’re new to design tools.
  • Designers will provide a clear timeline and stick to agreed-upon deadlines.

Future Needs

  • Is this a one-off label, or will you have a range of products needing a cohesive look?
  • Designers create scalable design systems, ensuring consistency across your line as it grows, saving you time and headaches in the long run.

Ask Yourself:

  • Can I handle the frustration of the inevitable learning curve if going the DIY route?
  • Will a “good enough” DIY label truly serve my brand well, or hold it back from its full potential?

4. Hybrid Options

If neither full DIY nor outsourcing the full design feel quite right, consider these middle-of-the-road solutions:


  • Platforms like Canva or Graphic River offer pre-made label templates, often created by professional designers
  • This gives you a solid starting point in terms of layout, color choices, etc., while still allowing customization.
  • Caveat: Risk of your label looking generic if you don’t personalize it heavily.


  • Hire a designer for a one-time strategy session. They’ll help you refine your label concept, choose fonts and colors that align with your brand, and provide guidance on layout.
  • YOU then execute your refined vision using a DIY design tool.
  • This infuses your project with professional insights without the cost of full-service design.

When Hybrid Works Well:

  • You have some basic design sense but lack the confidence to start from a blank slate.
  • Your budget allows for a small investment in expert advice to make your DIY effort far superior.
  • You’re willing to be your own “art director” but need the initial strategic groundwork laid by a pro.

Important Tips:

  • Be clear upfront with a designer if this is your goal, as not all offer this type of limited-scope service.
  • Have your brand messaging and overall label concept outlined beforehand to make the consult session productive.

Ready to decide if DIY label design or hiring a professional is the right path for you?

Choosing the best way to achieve amazing label design is an important business decision. If you’d like a personalized assessment of your project and guidance on whether DIY or a designer is the best fit, Contact Brand Sewa for a Free Consultation.

by Team Brand Sewa

Last Updated on May 3, 2024

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