A label is much more than a sticky piece of paper! Printed, colourful labels identify, distinguish and promote your brand – bringing it to life. Barcoded shipping labels help get your product to its destination. Even the simplest product would be quite lost without its label.
Face Stock – The Presenter
Face Stock is the medium that physically carries your label's printed information and decorative aspects. Its biggest task is taking care of presentation.
Adhesive – The Performer
As the name suggests, adhesive is the tacky coating that attaches your face stock to the product or packaging surface. Its performance is critical in ensuring the label is easy to apply and remains affixed for the life of the product.
Release Coating & Liner – The Carrier
Liner is the backing paper that carries your label and preserves its adhesive prior to use. Ideally it has a high-grade silicone coating which offers optimal release qualities in high speed dispensing environments.
The material combinations of face stocks and adhesives is almost endless. Understanding the conditions and processes the label faces during its life helps highlight the factors that should be considered when choosing label materials and so ensure the best outcome for the label and product.
The product's surface and shape will impact the label material choice, as will the temperature at both the time of application, and the service life of the product.
Acrylic or Hot Melt adhesives are commonly used. Factors affecting adhesive choice are temperature, the nature of the product's surface and other conditions likely to occur within the supply chain environment. Adhesives react differently depending on the surface energy of the product, for example carton vs glass vs different types of plastic. Label adhesive can to be permanent, removable or initially repositionable and then permanent?
Some labels require additional protection against the environment and consideration should be given to whether moisture or consideration occurs, either at the point of application or during the service life of the product, and also whether the label will be applied before or after the product is filled. If the product is to be stored outdoors, the image will need to be light-fast. Finally, does the label image need protection against scuffing or marking caused by contact or rubbing during transportation?
How the label is applied to the product is also worth taking into account in the planning stages of a label – will it be applied by hand or by high speed applicator. Sometimes variable information, for example, product description, use-by date, barcode, asset or ingredients information will be over-printed at a later date by a laser printer or thermal printer or automated print and apply system, and this should be taken into account in the label's design. Is the product's packaging recyclable, and so does the label need to meet recycling requirements. Are there any other factors unique to your product or process?
A comprehensive understanding how and where the label is used is vital in determining the best material choices for the label's components. If 'under-spec'ed the label will not perform as required to promote your brand. Conversely if 'over-spec'ed, you will end up paying for unnecessary, expensive materials.
Your insignia account manager regularly reviews your label specifications, application considerations and environmental requirements to help you contain costs and provide the best label outcome.