Friday, October 21, 2011

Review: Labeley.com/beer

A few days ago I received a request from Ana Brady over at labeley.com to take their new beer label designer for a spin. It seemed like a cool concept, and I'm no stranger to web based design tools. If you've ever used vistaprint or a similar online business card maker you kinda know what I mean. Most people are intimidated by programs like Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop (or like me, intimidated by their over $1000 price.) Tools like these can really make life easy for non-techie or "normal" people.

The Good:

They have some pretty cool sample designs on their front page, which I'm sure lazier people would definitely like to copy. The color theme presented is pretty indicative of beer, and the clip art style banners, backgrounds, glyphs, label shapes, etc. are spot on. The interface is clean and pretty easy to use.

Areas for Improvement:


There was only one thing that I'd consider a severe oversight and that is the fact that there is no confirm prompt when you click on "reset current shape." This is a one button click that totally destroys all your work and can't be undone.

Since you can only upload one image for the label, there's no easy way to upload multiple glyphs or pictures without creating the label yourself in an image editor. Every other application like this has allowed virtually unlimited picture uploading.

Since there's really not that much clip art to choose from, this is a pretty significant limitation for people who want to make a really custom label. There's only 40 or so colors to choose from as well and uploaded images can't be re-sized or moved. Also, once a label is downloaded it can't be edited again; this means the sample labels can't be loaded and edited, which I thought was odd considering that's what most "normal" people might want to start with.

The number one area for improvement though is label ordering. I assumed that once I had designed my label I'd be able to have them print it and send it to me as some type of sticker. All I was able to do was download a copy (which wasn't print quality) or share it on social networks. I just assumed that they made their money on the printing end of it, but I guess it's only on advertising.


Overall:

This is what I ended up with.
Being a designer, I had in mind what I wanted to make from the get-go and it just couldn't do it. As far as I'm concerned, labeley was a little too restrictive for my tastes. It seems like a polished weekend project which still needs fine tuning. I really liked the idea and I hope the team takes all my comments as constructive criticism.

If I were the type of person who makes huge banners out of nothing but WordArt and Microsoft Clip Art, I'd probably love being able to select from a small list and mix and match. Considering that Facebook and Twitter sharing seem to be their main focus, this might catch on with that crowd (if only to make hilarious labels for butt beer.)

I'd encourage you to take it for a test drive. They are a small team and would probably love to hear your feedback (unless you're a mean jerk, can't type, or have so many viruses on your computer that all you send out are viagra advertisements.)

Where do you get your beer labels? Do you usually design them online? What tool do you use? Let me know in the comments below!


Note for developers:
Uploaded files don't have transparency, unless you apply a round frame. once that is applied, the transparency is a bit strange and the image is permanently cropped. Also, if you apply a frame to an uploaded photo it messes with the original image (requiring a re-upload to fix it.)






1 comment:

  1. Great review, thanks a lot! We highly appreciate your suggestions, and we will consider it in our future improvements of Labeley. Most of the limitations of our app same from our desire to make it completely in HTML, without the use of Flash, but we're persistent in overcoming them, so expect a lot more from Labeley!
    Cheers!

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