Libra Labels

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How to choose the right material for your labels

How to choose the right material
for your labels

Self-adhesive labels have become a common packaging solution across different industries due to their convenience, cost-effectiveness, and versatility. They are used for labeling various products, ranging from food and beverages to cosmetics and medical items. However, choosing the right paper material when printing self-adhesive labels is crucial as it affects the overall quality, durability, and functionality of the label. In this blog, we will discuss the importance of choosing the right material, the different types of paper materials used for self-adhesive labels, and factors to consider when selecting the appropriate material.

The importance of choosing the right material

Self-adhesive labels are made up of three layers. The top layer is the face stock or label material, the middle layer is the adhesive, and the bottom layer is the release liner. Facestock is the most important layer because it is part of the label that is visible to the consumer. It is also the part of the label that carries the printed information, such as text, graphics, and barcodes. Therefore, it is crucial to choose the right face stock material when creating self-adhesive labels.
The right face stock material can make a significant difference when it comes to the performance of the self-adhesive label. It is important to select a material that can withstand the environmental conditions in which it will be used. The label material should also be able to withstand any exposure to chemicals, moisture, or heat, as well as any abrasion that may occur during transport or storage. Choosing the right material is also important for accurate barcode printing.

Types of Paper Materials for Self-Adhesive Labels

Uncoated Matte Paper
Uncoated matte paper is the most basic and cost-effective material used for self-adhesive labels. As the name suggests, it does not have a coating on its surface, which makes it suitable for printing simple designs and visuals. Uncoated matte paper is absorbent, which allows for quick drying and easy application of ink. However, it is not suitable for labels that require high resolution or vibrant colors as the ink tends to bleed and smudge on the paper’s porous surface. Additionally, uncoated matte paper is not water-resistant.
Glossy Paper
Glossy paper is a type of coated paper that has a high-shine finish. It is commonly used for labels that require vibrant colors and high-resolution printing, such as product labels and marketing materials. The paper’s coating makes it less porous, which prevents the ink from bleeding and smudging. Glossy paper is water-resistant and durable, making it ideal for labels that may be exposed to moisture for short periods or rough handling. However, it is more expensive than uncoated matte paper, and the shiny finish may not be suitable for certain label designs.
Polyprop (Dairy film) Paper
Polyprop labels are made of a thermoplastic polymer which creates the perfect surface for printing labels. It is extremely durable and tear-proof. It is thin which allows it to conform to containers well. It is moisture, oil, and acid resistant which makes it suitable for labeling water bottles and chemical containers without discolouring a lot. It is non-toxic which also makes it perfect for labeling food products. Although polyprop is an expensive material its uses and the benefits outweigh the price, especially when labeling items that are kept in more extreme environments.
Thermal Paper
Thermal paper is a specially coated paper that changes color when exposed to heat. It is commonly used for printing barcode labels and receipts as it does not require ink or toner. It is also used in the retail space for use in scale and logistical companies. Thermal paper is efficient and can produce high-quality prints. However, it is not suitable for labels that require long-term storage or exposure to harsh elements. Thermal paper is sensitive to heat and light, which can cause the paper to fade or turn yellow over time.
Linerless Paper
Linerless labels go through a special manufacturing process which coats the top of the label with a silicone coating and the back of the label in an adhesive which that is easily peeled off the silicone coated surface of the label below, yet they securely stick to the surface it is meant to go. This release coating not only prevents them from sticking to each other but also creates a UV, chemical, and moisture-resistant barrier. Since these labels don’t use liners, it eliminates paper liner waste and by doing this you can have more labels wound onto a given roll diameter which halves the frequency of roll replacement and reduces downtime. Linerless can be used for a wide variety of applications. Linerless labels can be used in different industries, including food and beverage, pharmaceutical labeling, retail, parcel delivery, and shipping. They are used in grocery stores and butcheries as they accommodate the lower temperatures

Factors to consider when choosing the right material.

The following factors should be considered when choosing the right material for self-adhesive labels.
Label Application.
The application of the label is a key factor in determining the right face stock material. Different applications, such as indoor or outdoor use, require different materials. For instance, outdoor labels need to withstand extreme weather conditions, whereas indoor labels may be used in controlled environments where the temperature and humidity are relatively stable.
Surface type.
The type of surface that the label will be applied to is also an essential factor to consider when selecting the face stock material. The adhesion of a label is only as good as the surface it is applied. For instance, labels that are applied to rough surfaces require a stronger adhesive than labels that are applied to smooth surfaces.
Label storage.

Another crucial factor to consider when choosing the right face stock material is how the labels will be stored. If the labels are going to be stored for an extended period, it is crucial to select a material that can withstand prolonged exposure to UV light, heat, or moisture.
Printing Requirements.

Printing requirements are another critical factor to consider when selecting paper material for self-adhesive labels. Labels that require high-resolution printing and vibrant colors should use glossy paper as it can produce high-quality images. Labels that need a muted or understated look should use uncoated matte paper. Thermal paper is suitable for printing barcodes, scale and logistical labels, and receipts, and it does not require ink or toner.
Budget.

Budget is an essential factor to consider when choosing paper material for self-adhesive labels. Uncoated matte paper is the most cost-effective option, while glossy, thermal, and polyprop (dairy film) papers are more expensive. The thermal paper also may not be suitable for long-term storage or exposure to harsh elements.
Brand Image.

Brand image is another factor to consider when choosing paper material for self-adhesive labels. Glossy paper is ideal for labels that require a high-end, luxurious look, while uncoated matte paper is suitable for labels that require a classic, subtle look it is also ideal for labels that require a natural, organic look.
Design.

The design of the label and the printing method used will also determine the choice of label material. For instance, if the label design includes complex images or bold text, it is essential to choose a material that can provide high print quality without any smudging, blurring, or fading.
Barcodes.

In many applications, barcodes are a requirement for labels. High-quality barcode printing depends on the face stock material selected to optimize readability and accuracy.
Coatings.

Lamination used for labels is a strong self-adhesive coating (like tape) that covers the entire label. Label lamination allows you to add a protective film to the surface of your label. Once your label is printed, lamination serves as a second layer that shields your design from scratches and provides some waterproofing, and adds a layer of protection to your label, guarding against weather, temperature, and other things like scratches, solvent, dirt, and tears. A laminate may add some cost to a label, but it most certainly will enhance the appearance.
As with Lamination varnish is a topcoat that is added to the finished label which not only helps protect your label but also will enhance your design. Varnish can help you defend your label from scuffs, scratches, water damage, fading, and other threats, all while contributing to your preferred aesthetic. Unlike lamination varnish can cover the entire label or be added to specific areas, this process is called spot varnishing. Spot varnishes are a subtle and cost-effective way to add interest and accentuate certain parts of the label.
Adhesion.

Hot-melt adhesive is a rubber-based adhesive that delivers broader application temperatures, strong initial tack, and ultimate adhesion. It is suited for applications across logistics and warehousing, wine and spirits, fresh food labeling, frozen food, and tyre
labeling
Acrylic adhesive is an emulsion-based standard label adhesive that is ideal for applications where high-temperature performance, long-term holding power, and resistance to harsh environments are required. It has outstanding resistance to solvents, chemicals, plasticizers, moisture, temperature, and UV light.
Removable adhesive is ideal for situations where labels are required to be removable (such as for books) without leaving residue or damaging the product.
Conclusion.

Choosing the right paper material when printing self-adhesive labels is crucial as it affects the overall quality, durability, and functionality of the label and ensures that the label performs well in the intended application. Consider the label’s application, printing requirements, budget, brand image, label storage, surface type, design, and barcode requirements when selecting the appropriate material. Uncoated matte paper is the most cost-effective option, while glossy and uncoated matte papers are suitable for labels that require high resolution and vibrant colors. Thermal paper is suitable for printing barcodes, scale, and logistical labels and receipts, but it may not be suitable for long-term storage or exposure to harsh elements. By selecting the appropriate paper material, you can create high-quality and durable self-adhesive labels that reflect your brand image and meet your labeling needs.

When making your choice, be sure to work with a label supplier who understands your needs and can help guide you toward the right material for your application. This will ensure that your label will perform as expected, last for its intended duty cycle, improve visibility and readability, and convey the information accurately.