When designing label templates, have you ever needed to cut a shape out of an existing shape? Chances are, the answer is going to be yes. If not, maybe you can just read on and maybe learn something new. I created two basic shapes in Inkscape (you’ll need it to edit the images). The first shape I created was the green square. The second shape I created was a Yellow star. If you need to view the picture below in more detail, right click on the picture and select “View Image”.
The next step is to select the two objects. It doesn’t matter the order in which you select them. To select, click on the cursor at the top left of the picture, then click on one item, then hold the shift key down and select the next item. Then, as in the above picture, click on Path, then select Difference. The result is below.
Then, you can do whatever you want to the picture after that. Use the “Edit Paths by Nodes” feature to really have fun. Click on the pointer icon below the cursor icon at the left to edit the paths by nodes.
When designing artwork for shipping labels, you might want to consider faded borders. Sharp borders on artwork can cause problems. If the labels are not lined up exactly on the label layout the uneven spacing can be unsightly. The closer the artwork to the edge of the label, the worse the problem can become. One solution to this problem would be to make the artwork near the edges of the label to be faded. Below is an example of faded edge artwork created in the Gimp. It’s in Gimp format, so you’ll need Gimp to view it.
And you can stick that directly into Microsoft Word. The faded borders make it a little easier to line up on the label. The mistakes are harder to see than if you had hard edges.
Printing labels is something a lot of small and medium size business do from time to time. If you’re a fulfillment house like many of our customers are, you’re printing labels every day. Before printing labels, you should do a spot check of your printers. Make sure the printer paths are clean and and free of dust. If you don’t have a vacuum in the office, you should invest in one. Something inexpensive is fine, but you need to have a needle nose nozzle. Something that is small enough to fit into or very close to all the nooks and crannies in the printer. You’d be amazed at how much dust accumulates in a printer. Dust accumulates on the gears, and compacts and hardens and becomes encrusted on the gears. It becomes a pain to clean the gears, picking the gunk out of each tooth.
If you have a laser printer and you buy cheap toner you’ll also find that the toner leaks out and you’ll find little piles of it near the sides or edges of the toner cartridge near where the gears are. This normally doesn’t happen with the OEM cartridges, but you will find that it happens on the knock off ones. Also inspect the fuser. A dirty fuser can really affect print quality. Buildup on the fuser can happen in many ways. If you’ve ever run one sheet of labels one too many times through the print on occasion to save on labels by reusing the same sheet, sometimes the labels can become separated. When that happens, the labels might become stuck on any part of the print path including the fuser or the toner cartridge. Either way, its a problem. Once the label gets stuck, you’ve got to get it out, and clean all surfaces of the adhesive. Alcohol swabs work best for this, but run a couple of sheets through after cleaning to make sure you’ve cleaned it well enough.
So to keep your printer printing labels nicely, keep your printer clean, and try not to re-use label sheets too much. 🙂