Small businesses might find designing a set of mailing labels to be a cost-effective way to brand their business mail and packages.

If you send business letters only occasionally, then printing mailing labels in small quantities on an as-needed basis is usually less expensive than printing a batch of envelopes.

Mailing labels are not only less expensive, but they’re less of a commitment to create and use. The smallest quantity of envelopes many printers will print is 500 — and if you don’t send mail often, then it can take quite a while to go through that many envelopes. Instead of printing up 500 or 1000 envelopes with your business address on them, and then possibly not using them up before you have to move, you can print just a sheet or two of mailing labels at one time. That way, if you wind up moving, as many small businesses do during their first few years, you’ll have minimal waste.

The third big advantage to mailing labels is that you can use them on many sizes and types of envelopes and packages — not only on #10 business envelopes, which is the most common size for small businesses to have printed. You can even use them on Priority Mail envelopes.

To cash in on these advantages, you need to know how to design mailing labels in Microsoft Word. Here are the steps you’ll need to take, along with instructions on how to lay the labels out.

1.Gather the design elements you’ll need. For many mailing labels designs, this just means that you need a copy of your company logo. If your logo is laid out in a horizontal orientation, you’ll have the best results on many mailing label types, since they tend to be horizontally shaped. You can use a vertical logo, but make sure that you don’t scale it down so much that your company name is illegible or that the design elements bleed together. You’ll also want to use a high-resolution file of your logo — I recommend a 300 DPI, TIF or JPG format file in RGB color mode.

2. Gather your other marketing materials to use as reference material. In many cases, it’s most important that your mailing label match your letterhead the most closely, so it can help to have a copy of your printed and/or digital letterhead nearby as you create your mailing label design. You won’t have a ton of space on the mailing label for design elements, but making sure that the designs you do use match will ensure that your communications are cohesive.

3. You’ll also need your address to appear on the mailing label. Decide if you’re using your physical location, or if you will be using a Post Office or UPS Store mailbox address for greater privacy.

4. Decide what kind and size of mailing label you’d like to create. The first question is which brand to go with. I recommend going with a standard Avery label as the base sheet for the mailing labels, because they are widely available at office supply stores, they are easy to print, and they peel and stick well, with no frustration. You can also get them for either inkjet or laser printers, depending on what you have available.

The next question is size. Standard Avery Label sizes that work well for #10 envelopes, catalog envelopes and packages include:

5160

1″ x 2.63″

30/sheet

5163

2″ x 4″

10/sheet

5164

4″ x 3.33″

6/sheet

Choose a label size that will allow plenty of space for your logo. If your address is long, you may want to choose one of the larger sizes. Also, if you ship more packages, the larger labels will stand out more on those, while still working for #10 envelopes. You may even consider designing a couple of different sizes for different uses.

5. Once you have these elements together (your logo, your other materials and your contact information), use them to design your mailing label. You can have a professional designer create a graphic file to insert into Microsoft Word, or you can just use Word to create the design using the following steps:

a.

Make a new Word document to act as your mailing label template using the “Tools > Labels” command, and go through the dialog box to select the right size of label. This will pop up a page with a grid on it the size of the labels you’ve chosen.

b.

Now we’ll design one mailing label, and later we’ll copy and paste that label into all of the label boxes.

c.

Take a digital copy of your logo and embed it into the file by using the “Insert > Picture > From File” command. You’ll want to insert a high-resolution file (300 DPI) and to use an EPS, TIFF, JPEG or some other file format that Word accepts.

d.

If needed, scale the logo. Click on the logo to select it. Click and drag on a corner point to make the logo smaller or larger. Hold down “shift” while you do this so that you can constrain the proportions of the logo and so that it doesn’t get stretched out.

e.

Use Word’s Drawing toolbar to add in shapes, color bars, background colors, lines or other visual elements to match your other materials. You can access the Drawing menu through Tools > Customize Toolbars/Menus and then selecting the Drawing menu. It has a variety of tools for creating shapes and coloring them in.

f.

Create a text box (also available in the Drawing menu), and insert your address there. Choose a font that matches your address font on your letterhead.

g.

Once you are happy with your design, select all of your design elements and copy and paste them into the other label boxes to create a full sheet of labels.

6. Now it’s time to print. After you’ve followed these steps to design a mailing label, just grab a box of Avery labels (make sure you get the right size for your design) and start printing. You can print as many or as few sheets as you need, and easily reprint on demand from your saved file.

If you follow these steps, you’ll be able to create a mailing label design in Word that will allow you to easily brand your postal mail and packages. This will make all of your mailed communications look more professional and appear consistent with your other marketing materials.