Is your label size spot on? How to determine your dimensions

The secret to a great label is the way it compliments the container. Product packaging and labels should fit together flawlessly to create a seamless overall appearance. But, there’s more to a perfect pairing than picking a suitable bottle and designing an eye-catching label. To ensure everything sits in the right spot, you need to determine the correct label size. Sounds easy, right? Taking measurements can be one of the most difficult parts of the process. One centimetre out of place and your label won’t fit. We’ve put together a simple guide to help you measure your label size accurately.

label size

Measure the right label size for your containers

Before you begin taking measurements, you should have your container sorted and on hand. Now, it’s time to find the sweet spot. This is the area your label will be applied, usually the flattest section of your container (we’ll get into different shaped containers later on). You need to take into consideration where on the container your label will be applied – top, bottom, front, back or fully wrapped. Precise measurements are critical when you apply your labels by machine.


It’s all in the dimensions

With your desired location in mind, it’s time to determine your label size. When taking measurements for label packaging, this is always height x length. Measure your height from top to bottom of the container, followed by the width of your label. If you are gathering dimensions for a circular bottle, you will also need to measure the circumference.

Always make sure you know what’s needed before you measure your label size. The commercial printing world, for example, requires the reversed measurement – length x height. Setting up the wrong size will cause confusion during application. Many machines apply labels in a specific orientation – the copy position, making the correct dimensions crucial.

Remember to stay clear of the container’s curved edges, panels or recessed edges by 1/8″ when measuring your container.  


Measuring label size for different container types

Bottles come in all shapes and sizes, often varying from one manufacturer to another. The type of container you’ve chosen will play a significant role when determining your label size. That’s why it’s important to have your actual container available when taking your measurements.

label size


When measuring for a bottle, keep the 1/8″ clearance in mind, as most bottles have a curved at the top leading to the bottle neck called the shoulder. The base could also be curved. You’ll also need an overlap area of at least 3/16″ if you’ve selected a wraparound label. Keep these clearance areas free from any text or images when designing your labels.


Tubes are cylindrical containers with a unique application – they are usually upside down and empty when the label is applied. Applying the label to a tube that is already crimped can lead to wrinkles and application issues. When measuring, plan a clearance area of 1/8″ away from the crimp. While most tube labels aren’t crimped, they can be crimped through the tube.


Jars are similar to bottles, the difference being whether they have a taper or not. Many jars do have a taper. To check, hold a ruler along the side of your jar. If there is a taper, there will be a gap towards the bottom of the jar. Tapered containers need special labels, as a standard rectangle tends to wrinkle during application. It’s best to seek professional help when measuring your label size for a jar that tapers.

Special shapes

When it comes to containers, there are no limits. You can choose any shape or size you desire. If you do happen to have a uniquely shaped container, you will need custom dimensions. Send the container to a professional to ensure the measurements are correct.

With the measurements taken, you’re one step closer to printing your perfect product labels. If you’re having trouble determining your label size, give us a call, and we’ll gladly give you a hand.