February 1, 2016
Swing Tickets: A branding phenomenon
By: Peter Gregory
Swing tickets might have started out as a simple price label, but over the years they’ve become an increasingly important part of how a product is branded, too.
In this article, we’ll look at swing tags as a branding tool. We’ll show you how these humble card-and-string labels can be used to elevate your brand and grow your business. We’ll share some examples of great hang tag design, and show you how each part of the humble swing ticket has the power to shape your buyer’s perception of your business.
Swing tickets (also known as ‘hang tags’ in America) serve an important function in fashion retail. Swing tickets should state the price and size of the garment they’re attached to, but they also serve an important role in establishing brand and creating desire in the minds of the buyer.
The perfect swing ticket acts like a mini-billboard, catching the eye of consumers as they browse the aisles of the shop. It can elevate the shopper’s attitude towards your product, giving a visual, verbal and tactile impression of what your business is all about.
When a consumer holds your swing ticket in their hands, they are making a decision about whether or not to buy your work, so it’s up to you to make your hang tag’s message as potent and direct as you possibly can.
Founded more than 125 years ago, Petit Bateau is a trusted childrenswear brand bringing classic French style to babies and toddlers all over Europe.
Their swing ticket choices reinforce the elegance and exclusivity of the brand. Natural, untreated string holds the swing ticket close to the garment, with a simple hand-tied knot emphasising care and comfort. The crisp white card of the swing tag itself is adorned with an elegant and understated arrangement: loco, then brand name, then a few lines explaining the brand’s pedigree.
All of the functional parts — the barcode, size information, pricing and so on — is kept on the reverse of the label so as not to crowd out this pristine, intentional design.
Founded in 1999, Jack Wills is a young-ish clothing brand making vintage-style modern clothes for consumers in their teens and twenties. The Jack Wills swing ticket plays a central role in projecting a ‘classic British’ feel onto their contemporary product range.
Untreated string feeds through a reinforced paper eyelet — reminiscent of University study notes — to a mitre-cornered unlaminated card. The tongue-in-cheek Jack Wills logo (a pheasant with a top hat and cane) paints a mental picture of the old-world splendour of Downton Abbey or a P G Wodehouse novel, a feeling driven home by the bold tagline: “Fabulously British”.
Ted Baker is a UK-based luxury clothing & accessories brand with outlets all over the world. The Ted Baker style is all about contemporary and tasteful luxury, and their swing ticket complements this tone perfectly.
The first thing you notice about the Ted Baker tag is its depth. Unlike most swing tags — usually a single double-sided piece of card — the Ted Baker tag has a cover and pages. The logo dominates the first ‘page’ of the ticket, and when you open it up, you’re treated to a rich library of information about the product and its provenance, some ideas on complimentary products that you can purchase on the Ted Baker website, even a little message from the mythical Ted Baker himself. A thin, discreet hand-tied cord finishes the look.
Swing tag customisation goes beyond a whim — it has a profound effect on what shoppers think of you and your brand. The opportunities for customisation are virtually limitless; you just need to remember that every decision you make, from the finish of your ticket paper to your eyelet and string choice, leaves a direct and immediate impression on the shopper.
Your purchaser is going to hold the swing ticket, open it up, read it and feel it under their thumb. They expect to be able to find the label easily, and they expect it to give them a quick sense of who you are as a brand.
Here are just some of the ways you can tailor your swing tag to reflect your brand:
Swing tickets are non-permanent labels — they’re meant to be detached as soon as a garment is purchased, which is why they almost always hang from a cord of some sort.
You can tie on your swing tag with a string or ribbon, but a kimble tag (those plastic paddle-ended cords) can work well, too.
The spot where ‘cord meets card’ needs to balance aesthetically with the rest of the ticket.
You can leave a crisp punched hole or reinforce the eyelet with metal, plastic or paper. The diameter and precise shape of the eyelet is up to you.
The thickness of the card stock (anywhere from 300 to 750 gsm), the texture of the paper and the choice of lamination will all contribute to the finished feel of your brand’s swing ticket.
A simple full-colour printed label is typical, but you can also emboss, deboss and foil block important details to catch the shopper’s eye.
You can die-cut the corners, stamp shapes in the centre or slice away the edges of your swing ticket to your heart’s content!
The template you choose is entirely up to you. Just make sure that your hang tag still has enough room for the retailer to affix their own pricing stickers without spilling over the edge of the label.
The text and imagery you put on your swing ticket should help your consumer and teach them something about what matters to your brand.
Obvious information like sizing, barcodes and price tags need to be allocated enough room to suit the retailer’s needs, but don’t be afraid to add your own social handles, company mission statements and contact information, too. If it’s important to your brand, it should go on the swing ticket.
You can create any fold or format you like for a swing ticket. Book folds like Ted Baker’s are one option, but there are other formats you can use, too.
Some manufacturers have started to create swing envelopes, containing spare buttons and additional care instructions.
Where you fix your hang tag is just as important as what it looks like.
The correct placement of your swing ticket boils down to how the garment is going to be presented for sale; if your product lands on a rack, shelf or a mannequin, you need to do what you can to get the tag as close to your shopper’s eye as possible!
All these options might feel overwhelming — it might seem hard to know where to start. Our advice is to begin by figuring out three things: what you want to do with your brand, where the product is going to be sold and what the consumer needs to know. Once you know those three things, it becomes much easier to make the right design choices.
Here at GB Labels, we have helped hundreds of fashion brands — big and small — to create successful swing tickets. If you have an idea you want to run past somebody, or if you need help to get the ball rolling, just ask — we’re always happy to help!
Thanks for reading!