What to Consider When Labeling Unusual Bottle Shapes

What to Consider When Labeling Unusual Bottle Shapes

The shape of a bottle plays a key role in determining the size, type and shape of a product label. The curvature and taper of unconventional bottle shapes can present challenges.

Bottle labeling challenges

The bottle is typically divided into four main sections:

  • Body: The widest and usually longest part of the bottle, commonly straight and round.
  • Shoulder: The transitional area between the wide body and the narrow neck.
  • Neck: The slender area between the finish and the shoulder, reducing air contact.
  • Finish: The opening of the bottle with threads for a cap or cork.

The body of the bottle offers the largest label area, allowing for the application of labels on every section. However, pressure-sensitive labels struggle with complex curves. If you’re planning to use curved, tapered or otherwise unusually-shaped bottles, you’ll need to account for that in your label design.

Also, note that the finish portion of the bottle typically doesn’t accommodate labels. However, labels can be wrapped over the cork or cap and onto the finish and neck as an anti-tamper measure. Adding overrun space (an extra ⅛ to ¼ inch) accommodates slight variations in bottle shape, label shape, or application errors.

Which kind of label should you choose?

For flat surfaces, determining label size and type tends to be straightforward. Adding custom die-cut labels or using off-the-shelf labels for common bottle designs ensures a perfect fit.

For example, winemakers often face specific regulations for labeling white or red wines, along with varietal wines. A dedicated wine bottle labeler is designed for various label applications, including wrap-around, front, back and cover labels. Products that are chilled may expose labels to moisture. Water-resistant labels are crucial in such cases to prevent label deterioration.

Accommodating curvature and tapered surfaces

Tapered surfaces require curved labels to match the bottle’s shape. This helps prevent skewing and distortion. Measurements at the top and bottom of the taper help calculate adjustments. For bottles with ridges or curves, measure the width of the bottle and multiplying by pi provides the diameter.

Design software tools can help you create curved designs—software like Adobe Illustrator allows designers to create flat designs, then curve or taper them so they appear straight when applied. Round or oval labels and hybrid designs are also effective solutions for bottles with angled surfaces.

Is an unusual bottle shape worth it?

Labeling unusual bottle shapes demands a thoughtful approach. You’ll need to consider the bottle’s anatomy, industry-specific regulations and design nuances. Whether it’s a unique wine bottle or a craft beer container, the right labeling strategy can turn unconventional shapes into a distinctive branding opportunity.

While curved or tapered bottles can be an eye-catching way to brand your products, be sure to consider whether the benefits outweigh the costs. Using standard bottle types and labels can still produce attractive, high-quality results—and they may save your company money at the same time.

To learn more about Quadrel’s labeling systems and find the right machine for your needs, contact our helpful team today.