When you’re designing warning labels or stickers for your business or organisation, it’s important to convey a clear and unambiguous message. Warnings that are badly written or contain unfortunate turns of phrase can be confusing but also comical, presenting entirely the wrong image for your brand. Clear warning labels are now as important to the packaging as the contents within.
The following examples clearly demonstrate how not to word your stickers.
1. On a Korean knife: ‘Keep out of children’.
2. Self-care dentistry is never advised, with one power drill warning: ‘Not for use as a dental drill’.
3. When designing stickers, try to avoid stating the obvious, like a foaming face wash that warns: ‘May contain foam’.
4. ‘Do not turn upside-down’: the badly positioned warning on the underside of a supermarket dessert pot. Oops, too late.
5. Found on another electric tool: ‘Do not clean ears with this power drill’.
6. And another (it would seem that DIY fanatics must be inherently stupid): ‘Danger. Do not hold the wrong end of a chainsaw’.
7. Illness disrupts most people’s ability to think and act sensibly. Nevertheless, just to be on the safe side, note the digital thermometer that warns: ‘Do not use orally after using rectally.’
8. Boob jobs are expensive, but aspiring women should note the sticker ‘Not to be used for breast augmentation’ on a can of inflator foam for car tyres.
9. Mind you, dying can also be pricey, according to this US warning sign: ‘Touching wires causes instant death. $200 fine.’
10. When warning others, always follow your own rules, unlike this sign spotted on a fence: ‘Do not hang signs on fence’.
11. Warnings are often necessary, unlike the sign that warns: ‘Caution. This sign has sharp edges. Do not touch.’
12. Also, warning stickers should discourage inappropriate use of equipment, such as on the microwave oven that advises homeowners: ‘Do not use for drying pets’.
13. Animals don’t drive, although this didn’t prevent one vet from issuing medication for a dog that stated: ‘Take care when operating a car’.
14. Hairdryers ‘must not be used while sleeping’, according to one model, even though it’s horrible waking up with damp hair.
15. Finally, tempting though it may be to save time in the morning, do take note of the warning sticker on an iron that instructs: ‘Do not iron clothes on body’.
The lesson is clear: design your warning stickers carefully, bear in mind your audience and consider how the messages will be received, to ensure they don’t become part of a future blog post like this!