Product Labels: How to Choose the Right Components for your Product

Product Labels  –  they’re just basically simple stickers, right? In fact, a label is a highly customizable piece of the packaging puzzle, made up of at least four layers. You choose different types of components to make up these layers in order to best serve your product. So, what are these layers, and what considerations should factor into creating your ideal product label?

What makes up a label?

Labels are primarily made up out of at least four layers. From top to bottom, they are:

1. Face Stock

This is the visible part of the label. The Face Stock is what all the Imagery and information is printed on.  Semi-Gloss paper, gold and silver foil, clear, and vibrant fluorescent colours are just a few of the options available.

2. Adhesive

This is the part of the label that enables the consumer to adhere it to their product. There are many options when choosing an adhesive that best suits your packaging requirements. Permanent, removable, and applying the label onto a cold or frozen product are just a few of the different options. Choosing the right adhesive is one of the most important aspects of a label.

3. Liner

The liner is what the material and adhesive are attached to. There is a silicon release put on the liner so that the label can be easily removed and applied to the intended product.

4. Finishing

When a label is subject to moisture, scuffing, oils, and outdoor elements you will want to put at least a Varnish or Laminate on top of the surface to protect the inks from rubbing off or scuffing when exposed to the different elements.

Questions to ask yourself when creating your label

If you want to create the best possible label for your product, there are many factors to consider. Layer by layer, you can build the best label by considering what your product needs are. Let’s dive in.

Here are some good questions to ask when it comes to:

1. Face Stock

Face stock, like the topcoat, drives the durability and aesthetic appeal of your label. This layer is available in paper, film, foil, and specialty materials. So…

a) Do you have a budget?

Paper is your most affordable choice.

b) Is durability an important consideration?

Film is more durable than paper because it’s made of a synthetic, hard-to-tear, moisture-resistant substance.

c) Is your product uniquely shaped?

Film is flexible, so it can fit around products with unusual shapes.

d) Do you want to pull off a special look?

Foil provides a metallic, shiny look. Specialty materials can create unique looks like holographic or fluorescent effects.

Product Labels: How to Choose the Right Components for your Product
Product Labels: How to Choose the Right Components for your Product

2. Adhesive

Adhesives come in different variations of 4 main types: all-temperature, permanent, removable, and cold/freezer. Which one should you pick? Well…

a) Is the label meant for one-time or removable applications?

It’s all in the names! Permanent is best for those applications that you want the label to stay on for the life of the product and removable labels can be taken off without leaving residue where required.

b) Does the label need to be applied to your product when cold or frozen?

Choose a freezer-grade or all-temperature adhesive.

3. Liner

The 3 main liner types are: white paper, Paper Kraft, and clear polyester. White is the most common for a lot of materials but if you have a high-speed applicator then the durability of a PET liner or Paper kraft may be the best option.

4. Finishing

When it comes to finishing, there are two things to consider: protection and aesthetics. A Varnish or Laminate prevents damage to the face stock, and it can also create a finish that completes the look. Generally, you are choosing between a varnish or a laminate finish. So…

a) Do you need to save money?

A varnish is more cost-effective.

b) Is durability an important consideration?

A laminate is a plastic barrier that prevents damage, including UV protection.

c)What is the specific “look” you want to achieve?

Varnishes come in satin, matte, and gloss finishes. They can cover the entire label (the “flood” technique), part of the label (the “spot” technique, which makes parts of the label shiny and parts matte), or in layers (the “dimensional” technique).

Laminates come in gloss and matte finishes and provide a more noticeable texture and sheen to the label.

Creating the perfect label

Product Labels: How to Choose the Right Components for your Product
Product Labels: How to Choose the Right Components for your Product

As with most things packaging-related, creating a “simple” label demands a lot of careful consideration, from affordability to sustainability, from durability to aesthetics. We hope the questions in this post help you make the best choice. As always, reach out if you would like help planning this essential part of your product packaging. We love to problem-solve and generate creative solutions with entrepreneurs!

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