10 Things You Need to Know About Labels

At first, you might see labels as a simple product. They need to stick to your envelopes and mailing boxes, your bottled products, or your folding carton packaging. They need to look nice, give the buyer information, and reflect your brand. But if you think this is all there is to it, think again. Labels are more than attractive displays with sticky backs. Because they must adhere to a wide variety of base substrates, and they must perform well under a wide range of physical conditions, marketers must take into consideration a label’s function as well as its appearance.

Labels do a lot more than identify and protect your products. They are used for branding, marketing, customer engagement, tracking, promotion, and more. Understand your options. There might be more than you think.

Here are 10 things you should consider when placing your next label order:

1.  What is the label’s function? 

How will the label be used? Will it be used for marketing? Branding? Logistics and tracking?

2.  What is the printed substrate?

What printed substrate will you be using? Paper? Plastic? Film?

3.  What is the base substrate?

What will the label be adhered to? Paper? Folding carton? Plastic? Glass?

4.  Food contact?

Will the label come into contact with food?

5.  What are the Environmental conditions?

What are the environmental conditions under which the label will be used? Will it be going through the mail stream? Adhered to a package sitting on a retail shelf? Will it be exposed to heat or moisture? Will it receive extensive exposure to sunlight?

6.  What are the adherence requirements?

Will the label be permanently applied? Or is it designed to peel away?

7.  What is the physical structure?

Will the label be a simple shape, such as a rectangle or an oval? Or will it have a more complex structure, such as the accordion design of labels used in the pharmaceutical industry? Will it need a peel-away layer to expose additional product information or coupons underneath?

8.  Are there special finishes?

Will the label need special finishes such as embossing? Foil stamping? Specialty coatings?

9.  Brand consistency?

Will brand colors or brand presentation need to be consistent across multiple channels (such as direct mail, magazine advertising, in-store signage)?

10.  What are the run length and personalization requirements?

Just like any other printed product, labels can be produced in very short runs and personalized. This gives you the flexibility to add serialized barcodes and other tracking mechanisms, incorporate personalized redemption codes, and even create customized and fully personalized products.