We’ve done label comparisons on supplement products several times in the past, so we’ll save you the diatribe about just how unregulated the industry is (which also means pretending all claims are legitimate, for the sake of the blog of course). A quick troll of any bodybuilding forum will teach you that there are innumerable protein powder brands on the market, and that despite the lack of any proven science behind the claims, every muscle-bound gym rat is convinced their favorite is the best. We chose two popular brands with two completely different approaches to label design for this week’s Good Label vs. Bad Label.
1. Does the label announce what’s inside the package?
As always, we’re putting aside brand recognition to focus on one question: which brand immediately tells you that it’s protein powder? Since we know you can’t read the microscopic type on Syntha-6’s label, we’ll spell it out for you – “An Ultra-Premium Sustained Release Protein Powder.” Win. You won’t find a mention of “protein powder” in between Muscle Milk’s overwrought scientific claims. Although Syntha-6 loses points for its infinitesimal font, it wins this category due to the fact that if Muscle Milk weren’t in the protein powder section at GNC, we’d have to do a little digging to make sure this “protein supplement” is what we’re looking for.
Our designer disagrees. Well, that’s putting it lightly. He’s downright disgusted. Even though Syntha-6 clearly has a professionally designed foil label, he feels that even though the phrase “protein powder” appears, the teeny font renders the effort completely useless. He suggests the designer of the Syntha-6 label go back to undergraduate school and start with crayons. Ouch!
2. Does the label attract attention?
Finally! We’ve been waiting to discuss this category. These two labels couldn’t be any more different. Muscle Milk went with a more cartoony look, a fairly ubiquitous theme for protein powder marketers. Despite the amusing conveyance of its highly scientific formula, Muscle Milk’s label does draw attention with bright colors and sharp contrasts. You’ll never get higher contrast from any two colors over black and white, a smart choice for the placement of the name of the product.
Syntha-6 opted for the minimalist mod approach with a clean label that focuses on the basics – brand name, a well-written description of the product and simple phrases that communicate the product’s intent. The shopper isn’t immediately overwhelmed with a barrage of information. The bright red color immediately catches the eye and sets it apart from competing brands. Although a case can be made for either label, Syntha-6 wins for color choice and simplicity.
3. Does the label instill confidence?
Here’s where it gets tricky. Syntha-6 may have swept the last two categories, but when it comes to getting a consumer to trust your brand, the more information the better (generally speaking). Muscle Milk is targeting the informed fitness fanatic, with detailed information that explains precisely how their product performs in the body to create lean muscle (if you don’t understand the terminology, there’s a picture to help you out…). Where Syntha-6 succeeded with its focused design, it fails when it comes to setting itself apart by explaining the specific advantages a shopper would get from choosing it over any other brand. Muscle Milk takes this category hands down.
Or maybe not so hands down. Our designer chimed in on this category too, and feels that since Syntha-6 has a high-quality foil label, it should be tied with Muscle Milk. We can see his point – one informs, the other attracts. Whether or not it’s the smartest way to judge a product, we all make decisions based on appearance alone once in awhile.
Although Syntha-6 won two out of three categories, we can’t declare it the winner. In an unregulated industry, consumers can only rely on the information provided by the manufacturer of the product, and the more scientific buzz words a brand uses, the more likely it is to sell. The bright red may catch the eye, but it’s Muscle Milk’s calculated approach to label design that trumps the competition.
I invite you to participate in the “Good Label, Bad Label” forum. We’ve all seen a bad label or twelve, so please feel free to send us some awesomely bad examples and your submission could be included in our series!
Blue Ribbon Tag & Label offers a wide range of services and products, including food labels, pharmaceutical labels, cosmetic labels, veterinary labels and expanded text labels. If you need a professionally designed label, call us at 1-800-433-4974. We’ll get the job done.