Sunday, 16 October 2011

Of Logos and Labels

I've been meaning to do start up an actual brand for a while, but never got around to it. The most serious shot I had at it was a couple of months ago - I went online and tried to find a brand name by translating random English words into Filipino. When I typed in 'craft', it gave me 'bapor'. Out of curiosity, I flipped it back to English, and it gave me the words 'boat' and 'vessel' - it had translated the wrong type of craft! Despite the fact that I couldn't actually pronounce bapor (I never got the hang of rolling my rs in foreign languages), I still liked the sound of it, and I thought the origin of it made for a funny story, so I stuck with it. I went and got myself an email address and an Etsy account and started making little pouches.

When my sister Steph got wind of what I was doing, she got excited but insisted I label my creations. I'd just bought some material that was pretty and somewhat nautical-looking, which fit into the boat idea, and so we decided that it could be my 'signature' material and would make nice swing tags. It looked like this:

I owe Steph, because everyone who I showed the tags to from then on would comment on how professional-looking they were. But having recently decided on a new name and having spent time drawing up a new logo, I wanted to use the tag idea with the new brand. But how to do it? Cutting pieces out of material is one thing, but getting a logo on something is an entirely different kettle of fish...

I headed off to Etsy to see if anyone could make me custom labels. Doing a search proved rather fruitful, but I was a bit overexcited and the idea of having to wait for items to ship seemed frustrating. Through some more searching I discovered some nice tutorials that show you how to make them yourself with printable fabric.

Discovering the existence of printable fabric had my head running off in a million different directions with ideas of what to make, but first off, labels! A lot of tutorials on the internet bug me because they list American products that are hard to find here, so for anyone in Australia, you can buy Avery Inspired fabric from Lincraft stores or Jacquard InkJetPrinting cotton or silk from Eckersleys. Neither shop seems to stock the products in their online stores, but I found them in the physical shops.

Newest acquisition: printable fabric!

Lincraft was out of the Avery fabric, so I got the Jacquard one, and went to work finding a font to go with the logo. It turns out that there are a lot of sites that have open sourced fonts that you can use royalty-free. I went with Google Web fonts, which have the added advantage of giving you a line of HTML that you can stick in the top of a website that will show the font to anyone who views your page. For example, you probably don't have the Gloria Hallelujah font on your computer, but you should be able to see it here in the headings.

I laid out my label design in Inkscape again, and printing them was just like printing them on paper. The fabric comes with a backing that keeps it stiff for printing but then peels off easily afterwards. The only hassle was that the sheets weren't actually A4 sized, so I had to make a custom paper size on my laptop.


According to the instructions, you have to leave the fabric to dry for 24 hours and then wash it out - it comes out a bit sad and crumpled looking! But ironing it leaves it looking fine.

Some wet and crumpled labels
The Jacquard material is pretty soft and thin, and it frays rather easily. It works fine for the bigger labels, but the little ones tend to fray a bit on the sides. I might try and iron some interfacing onto it and see if it will stop it from unravelling so badly, but for now it doesn't look so bad!


  1. Printable fabric? Will the ink stay on?

  2. I hope so! It didn't bleed purple when I washed it, so I guess I'll just have to see whether it starts to fade or not.