Being able to print shipping labels right from home has changed the way that we send and receive packages. Most notably, it means that we don’t have to run to the post office or shipping center whenever we want to send something out.
This has especially made things like online shopping and returns much more manageable, but, like most things, shopping labels have a particular set of rules you must follow.
Here is what we learned specifically about the size of a shipping label:
These Are The General Requirements For The Size Of Shipping Labels
The company you choose to ship your package with will determine the exact size of the shipping label you will need to use. The standard size for most shipping labels, no matter the company, is 4×6 inches. This is the standard size for international shipping labels as well.
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Does It Matter What Size Your Shipping Label Is?
The main reason shipping labels need to be a specific size is that they need to fit all of the information in an easy-to-read way.
You have to be able to state where the package is going and where it came from, but more than that, the shipping company needs to know everything from how heavy the package is to how much the shipping label costs to properly care for it.
However, it is much more than just being able to fit all the important details on it. The size of the shipping label matters because the people working to deliver your package will need to read and scan it properly.
Most shipping labels come with barcodes that you must scan at every distribution and shipping center it passes through. This is the best way to ensure that the package gets to where it is supposed to go when it is supposed to get there.
Also, remember that the barcode will take up about 25% of the label space.
So, when shipping something out, always check the proper size of your shipping label so that you can have the best peace of mind knowing that everything is perfectly in order.
General Requirements Of UPS Shipping Labels:
One of the most common ways people ship packages is through UPS services.
The size requirement for a UPS shipping label is the standard 4×6 inches. However, they do have larger labels available for international shipping.
Another requirement is a proper shipping address. This will often need to include the full zip code and the extra digits that helps to narrow down the specific region you live in.
While you are not always required to have a return address with regular mail, UPS requires a return address featured on its shipping labels. This way, if your package cannot be delivered, there is a place to return it to you.
You are also required to state the weight of the package on your shipping label and the type of shipping requirements you paid for, whether standard or overnight delivery.
Last, you will need a barcode with all this digital information, including the routing and trackingg number.
General Requirements Of USPS Shipping Labels:
The USPS is the delivery service offered through the post office and can be shipped and received from any post office in the US.
The first thing to note is that USPS also uses the standard 4×6 inches for the size of its shipping labels.
However, USPS is one of the only delivery services that allow you to make handwritten shipping labels, so you don’t always have to print them out the same way you would with other delivery services.
The main thing that USPS requires is you put the shipping label you made on the same side of the box that you would the postage. You are also required to learn to write out both the recipient’s address and your own.
USPS also requires that all handmade labels only use capital letters and very specific spacing for each line. This is simply so that the workers can actually read what you wrote.
General Requirements Of FedEx Shipping Labels:
When it comes to the giant distribution and shipping company FedEx, they have taken most of the guesswork out of making a shipping label.
They generally prefer their customers use the FedEx app to create a shipping label. This way, there won’t be any mistakes so the package can easily reach its destination.
However, FexEx does not use the standard size for shipping labels and uses a much larger one at 8.5×11 inches. This will include all standard information like addresses, weight, and package type.
The reason why FedEx labels are so much larger is that they include a lot of digital information. Along with the barcode, FedEx often features a QR code that will allow you to easily track the package along the way.
General Requirements Of eBay Shipping Labels:
eBay used to be a great place to sell and buy things directly from other people, but they are so much more these days.
Most notably, eBay has its own department for shipping and receiving packages.
Like FedEx, eBay also encourages you to use its platform to create shipping labels so that all the important information is there.
eBay does not have a “standard required size” for the shipping label. They allow you to choose from various sizes to fit your specific needs.
The only major requirements are the information you need to include, like the proper addresses, weight, size, and type of delivery requested.
Can Shipping Labels Be Too Small?
When making a shipping label, you always want to follow the specific guidelines set forward by the specific company you are using. However, you don’t want to make the label any smaller than the standard 4×6 inch size.
Anything smaller than that will just be too small. This is because there is a lot of very specific information that the shipping company needs to properly ship and deliver your package.
If the label is too small, you may not be able to fit all of the information that the shipper requires. Also, it could mean the information is cramped, making it very hard to read.
Can Shipping Labels Be Too Big?
While you don’t want to make a shipping label too small, you certainly don’t want to make one too big.
It can be easier to fit all of the important information on a larger shipping label, but it will make other things more difficult, especially for the shipping center.
The most important part of a shipping label is the barcode. This is what will be scanned every time your package passes through each distribution center.
The size of the label will directly change the size of this very important barcode. The barcode is so important because it holds all of the digital information that the shipping center needs to ensure your package will reach its destination.
When you have a shipping label that is too big, the barcode can become stretched, making it difficult to scan, and, depending on how warped it is, and it can even make it impossible.
What Happens If The Shipping Label Is Too Big Or Small?
If you find that your shipping label is too big or too small, you want to try to fix it the best you can before sending it off to be shipped.
This can easily be done by reformating the settings on your label printing program. This may take a couple of tries to get the size and formatting right. However, it is essential to go through trial and error when finding the perfect sizing for your shipping label.
You can try to send a package off to a shipping center with a label that is too small or too big, but there are some uncertainties to prepare for.
The main thing that can happen with an incorrect size shipping label is that the shipping center may refuse to process the shipment. If you are lucky enough to be told this on the spot, you can easily take your package home and re-make the label.
If your package has already passed the front desk, you may get the package returned to you in a day or two. So, always ensure you follow the size guidelines so you don’t waste your time and money.
What Happens If My Package Is Bigger Than The Label?
When making the shipping label for your package, you want to ensure that you always put in the correct information. While we only care about the package getting there, you still want to make sure details outside of the addresses are absolutely correct.
This is especially true regarding the size and weight of your package. You can easily ensure that you are putting down the right size by using a small scale at home. Always weigh and measure your package to ensure that the label is correct.
If your label is incorrect and the package is bigger than it states, you can find yourself in a little trouble. The shipping company will weigh your package and see that the postage is incorrect.
Most of the time, the shipping company will not process or deliver a package that doesn’t have the proper amount of postage. If this happens, the package will be returned to you and will require you to update the label and purchase the additional postage needed for a package of that size before they ship it out.
Are There Any Pixel Requirements For The Size Of Shipping Labels?
Lastly, when discussing the proper size of your shipping label, you want to dive into pixels. Pixels measure digital information, specifically regarding the size of an image or digital data.
Most shipping companies do require a specific pixel size for shipping labels at 300 DPI. This means that the image will be considered “high-resolution’ which will not only make it easier to read but will make it so that they can scan the image without any problems or warping.
Generally, you want to stick with a pixel size for your label at 2048 x 2048 px. This will give you the best image to make all the information super clear so your package will be delivered without a problem.
After all, the main goal is to get what you need, where and when you need it. So, do everything you can on your end to ensure nothing goes wrong.