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European Union energy labels and the pitfalls in creating them.

The reason for the existence of these new labels is clear, to help the consumer choose the most efficient appliance as he or she wanders through the shop (or browses the manufacturer's site).

But there are a few small subtle problems when creating the new EU energy labels. At times the original PDF documents go into too much detail, at other times detail is missing, and sometimes there are actual errors.

I think the designer's of the labels had a clear idea of what they wanted, but inevitably technology got in the way. Different technologies represent the same things in different ways. Paper is not the screen, an EPS file is not a JPG file, and neither one is a SVG file. Even the same font on different supports can look different.

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Here is an example of a slightly confusing illustration found in the PDF "COMMISSION DELEGATED REGULATION (EU) No 1060/2010", or, in plain English, "Fridge Labels":

Eu Energy Label Error (Fridges)

Clearly there is something wrong here, the 4mm dimension seems to be less than half the size of the 5mm dimension. Which was intended? Closer investigation of the EU supplied zip file (15 MegaBytes no less!) reveals that probably the 5mm is correct and the 4mm should probably be 2mm.

The same 15 MegaByte zip file contains an SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) file which should be great for infinitely zoomable accurate graphics looks like this:

Strange fonts in EU Energy Labels

Something has clearly gone wrong with the font here, it is supposed to be like this:

Correct Font for EU Energy Labels

Not only is the font incorrect in the SVG file, but for some reason, the letters (which stand in for real numbers in a real label) overlap each other.

You can avoid these annoying pitfalls and time consuming conversion of files by using our label image creation service.

Here is an interesting disclaimer from the EU:

"The energy labels (files) are provided with the view to help the implementation of the labelling delegated Regulations. In case of discrepancies with the delegated Regulations, the latter prevail. Neither the EU institutions and bodies nor any person acting on their behalf may be held responsible for any inappropriate use of the energy labels."

Which presumably means that the 5mm/4mm discrepancy in the image at the top of this page is correct. But,to be honest, I doubt that it is.

Some of the .AI files have obviously been created hastily and with no checking, look at this tumble drier plug:

Tumble drier plug symbol (.ai)


Strangeness in the colors of EU Energy Labels

Now the PDF contains obvious errors in dimensioning, but there is also confusion of the colors to use. Just look at the color of the border, that cyan (light blue) border. The text of the PDF documents say that it should be 100% cyan in terms of CMYK. But the files supplied as examples have various different colors...

Energy Label Colors

The brightest of these actually follows the instructions inside the PDF, pure 100% cyan, or RGB of 00FFFF. When printed the color is less eye-blinding and more subdued. And the SVG files supplied sometimes have a different "100% cyan" again.

According to the PDF it looks like we should always use the PDFs colors and dimensions, in this fridge case I'd agree that is true for the cyan (i.e. the top left label is the one to use) but not with the dimensions (I believe the supplied files with a 2mm inner margin are correct, not the PDF telling us to use a 4mm margin).

I've done a brief survey what what cyan manufacturers use in their downloadable energy labels. Only one of the 9 sampled uses the true cyan required by the specification:

Which cyan to use in EU energy labels?

The 100% cyan is the bright square in the middle of the image above. It is used in some, but not all, Sharp television labels.

Dimensions of the labels.

The document on refrigerating labels contains some obvious dimensioning errors as far as the wine storage label is concerned:


Look at the bottom corners, those are never 5mm vertically!

How many classes per energy label (and what colors)?

Although some definitions of the new ebergy label say that there should be, in the future a maximum of 7 classes per label. Currently some labels have 10 (see the wine storage label above). In theory if the top class in a label is A++ then the bottom class in the same label must be E. And the best class must be green and the worst class must be red...


...which means in practice that the classes from G to A shown above will have different colors from those shown.

The EU provides some files to help you with the colors, but these files sometimes contradict what is in other informational documents. For example the topmost energy class in each label (always the A, A+ etc. clases) should be dark green, but this files shows a light green in all cases:

7 Classes E to A++ etc...

This could be explained by the fact that in the PDF documents the colors have been deliberately darkened to give the impression that when you view the image onscreen it is like viewing it on paper. It would be nice to have that made explicit though.

(You can the Create Label application on this site to simplify all these decisions and inconsistences when you make the image for a label.)

One case where the "7 classes per label" idea is used is in the present and future television labels.

When comparing the EU supplied files you come across discrepancies like the one shown below, for washing machines. The label on the left is the JPG version and the one on the right the PNG version. Not only are the colors wrong, but the positioning of the various elements does not agree.

You can actually play the game of "spot the difference". In this case the color difference is less easy to explain. The JPG is not part of a PDF file, but is intended to be used as a guide. So why is the cyan border not, erm cyan? And why is the positioning slightly different between the two labels?

Television Label Template Error.

There seems to be a slight problem in the EU supplied template for TV labelling. Note that though centimeter and inch diagonal measurement numbers should be at the same level, they are not:

I've moved the texts closer together to show the difference in height better. Apart from that error some of the Adobe Illustrator files ( for example) are missing the border around the diagonal screen dimensions:

Labels created by the software on this site corrects errors like that:

EU TV Label

There is also an anomaly in EU document for fridges.

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