Buying Self-Adhesive or Sticky Labels
What Do You Need to Consider when Buying Self-Adhesive Labels?
If you just wanted some address labels to stick to envelopes it’s a simple choice, but if you’re going to stick them to a cardboard box, there are different considerations to be made.
The humble cardboard box is often covered in a coating designed to resist a degree of water or damp, to prevent it from just falling apart at the first sign of water. This presents a problem because not only does it resist water but it can also do the same to the adhesive on your label!
Are Plastic Labels Porous?
Seems like a strange question, unless you’re in the know! Different plastics are porous to different degrees.
For instance, if you place a sun cream type substance in a low-grade polyethylene bottle, put the label on at the time of filling, all will appear well, but give it a couple of months and there’s a good chance your labels will start falling off! The cream can leach through the plastic bottle and literally push the label off.
So, different plastics are porous to some liquids and gases, such as oxygen or nitrogen etc. We’ve all blown up a balloon and over a period of days it deflates (yes, some can escape through the knot) where ‘the gas’ leaks through the balloon material.
Fit for Purpose
Your Label will have a Purpose which could be one or a Combination of the Following:
- Information – such as list of ingredients etc.
- Warning – hazard warning label etc.
- Instructional – how to enter a competition etc.
- Cover up – over label incorrect information etc.
- Maintain the clarity of the glass or similar bottle (no label look)
- Allow the product to be seen through the label
- Multi-layered label where a lot of information must be placed in a small area
What Does the Label have to Withstand at Point of Application Through to its Final Use?
- Cold / heat
- Wet / Damp / Condensation (Bathroom or hot liquid into a cold bottle at point of application)
- Surface condensation
- Chemicals – cleaning or product itself
- Abrasion – during transport or use
- Surface contamination / coating
Additional Technical and Other Information about the Label and its Use:
- Shape of the item the label is placed on. For instance, jars often have a small taper to allow them to be removed from their mould, which means the label needs to be curved to compensate.
- Personalised data used in the printing process, such as names on each product.
- Variable data, such as sequential numbers – how do you want them presented for easy use?
- Standards – does the product must meet any standards that affect the label, such as direct contact with food or usage in sea environment etc.
- Run length. Although long runs can bring the cost down if you can’t sell sufficient product they go to waste. Make sure you understand the trade-off of high volume production vs shorter runs and greater flexibility of making changes and updates.
- Quality of original artwork – as with all printing if the quality of the original artwork is poor the printing process will not improve it. You can’t take images from the internet and use because the resolution is too low.
- Colours – matching a matt finish with a shiny object will not work due to the way light reflects off different surfaces.
- Special effects such as foil, spot varnishes or printed metallic finished can add to the overall look.
- Special function such as tamper security or holding something in place, where in one instance the label needs to break easily or it needs to be strong, but possibly removable by the end user.
Label Printing Requires Knowledge
Hopefully, this will have given an insight into the world of label printing and some of the points to think about.
By bringing all your information, it’s unlikely you’ll have any problems and hopefully, this will give you some appreciation as to what goes into the printing of your labels.