June 18, 2021
By: Peter Gregory
Swing tickets, or hang tags, are a vital part of the clothing retail process. But what do you write on a swing tag? What information actually goes on a clothing tag, and how should it all be laid out? What information must go on, and what information should go on?
At GB Labels, we’ve created millions of swing tickets for our clients. We’ve seen some incredible designs and layouts over the years. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the contents of a swing ticket. We’ll explain what absolutely must go on to the label, and what might be worth trying out!
One quick thing to mention: this guide focuses on what goes onto the surface of your swing ticket. The cut, paper thickness and cord options are just as important. Take a look at our ‘Swing Tickets: A Branding Phenomenon’ article to learn more.
Before we get into specifics, it’s worth spending a moment to consider why swing tickets exist in the first place. Swing tickets help drive sales. They do this achieving three distinct goals: grab attention, inform shoppers and support retailers:
When designed correctly, your swing ticket should act like a mini-billboard. It needs to catch the eye of passing consumers and encourage them to stop and explore your designs for a few minutes.
Up-close, shoppers expect your swing ticket to give them all of the information they need to make a purchase decision. Price, size and material composition are usually a good idea. It’s also a great place to showcase your brand. You can state your brand values and include a tagline, too.
The swing ticket has one final job, and that’s to help the retailer. Whoever stands behind the till should be able to quickly scan and sell your clothes to their shoppers. As a minimum, swing tickets should always have space for a price tag and a barcode. These days, it helps if there’s room for a RFID sticker too (especially at the higher end of the fashion market).
Clothing design and graphic design are two completely different disciplines. Don’t be surprised if you find it hard to design a really good swing ticket. With swing tickets, you’ve got to squeeze a lot of functions onto a small, two-dimensional slice of cardboard. You don’t have the same amount of ‘canvas’ as you do if you’re screen printing or dressmaking.
Swing ticket design is still a great opportunity to get creative and express the beating heart and soul of your brand. Just remember how it’s going to be used in a normal retail situation, and prioritise the right elements like price, size and barcode.
There are lots of different things that you can include, so we’ve got two lists for you! The ‘must-haves’ lists elements without which your swing ticket can’t do its job. The ‘nice to haves’ list includes all the optional, creative and experimental features you might want to include:
There are a few basics that you just can’t get away from when you’re designing a swing ticket. The swing ticket has to be scanned in the shop, so it’s up to you to either print a barcode or leave a blank space for a barcode sticker. The same goes for pricing information and RFID security stickers.
Branding has to go on the swing ticket. Your brand is the fingerprint of your business — it’s the unique stamp that tells shoppers who you are and what you’re all about. You can include just the logo, or the logo and tagline … whatever you like. Just make sure it’s prominent and obvious.
Sizing and item data is vital for two purposes: it helps retailers with their stock control processes (they can quickly see what they need to order more of), and it helps shoppers select the right product from the rack. Item data might be an SKU or model number, or a simple line explaining the fabric and style. The next time you’re out shopping, take a look at some real-life examples of swing tickets to see how this information is laid out.
From foil finishes to laser hologram stickers and competitions, there’s almost nothing you can’t include on a swing ticket. All you need is imagination and space. Most of these nice-to-have ideas are only viable on booklet-style and envelope-style hang tags, where there’s a bit more room to add content.
Corporate information is helpful for growing brands who are trying to grow. Putting a corporate address and phone number reassures shoppers that you’re a ‘big enough’ business to buy from, but more importantly it gives fashion buyers everything they need to get in touch if they stumble across your brand.
If you have an interesting brand story or brand values you want to announce, the swing ticket is the perfect place to do this. Web and social links are a nice touch, too, but they work best when you add a reason to visit each channel. If your facebook followers get the jump on limited-edition product drops, for instance, you should mention this. QR codes, tear-offs and coupons can help shoppers engage with your brand after the sale, too.
As you can see, there’s lots you can do with your swing ticket … but there are a few things that you shouldn’t use a swing ticket for.
It’s not a permanent tag, so it’s going to be cut off and discarded as soon as your buyer gets the product home. Permanent information needs to go on a standard woven label.
For instance, you might want to add wash care information to your swing tag if you think it’ll help your sales pitch, but it’s still important to add a permanent woven wash care label, too. Wash care information is something that your product’s owner is going to want to refer to for years to come. You shouldn’t put it on a label that will almost certainly be cut off on day one.
Thanks for reading!