Whether you’re using labels for business or personal use, there are many things to consider. Among them, what colours to choose, what style of label you need and whether you should purchase a label printer or order labels to use in an existing printer. But of equal importance is the label stock you choose.
What is Label Stock?
The definition of label stock is any paper or other material that can be used to make labels. This could be anything from fabric to film to foil. Label stock can be used in the creation of coating, backing sheets and face materials that form the various parts of a label.
What Will You Use your Labels For?
Although this may seem like a no-brainer, thinking about what the label will actually be used for is something that often ends up at the bottom of the priority list. But really, how a label will be used is a critical element to consider when choosing the right stock.
You may need your labels for asset tracking, or you may be using them to identify and track components. And you must consider the ideal permanency for your labels as well. Will they need to be removable, or do you need to be able to reposition them? Once they’re applied, will they be permanent, or will they be removed at some point during the delivery process?
Another consideration for label use is whether or not the label will be applied automatically by machine or manually by individual, as this will also affect the stock of label you choose.
What Surface Will Your Labels Need to Stick To?
Adhesives definitely matter when choosing label stock. However, if the stock isn’t strong enough to handle being stuck to certain surface, it will rip and be illegible. Understanding not only the surface that the label will be applied to, but the characteristics of that surface is important. A label that’s stuck to a curved surface will require more strength and flexibility than one that is attached to a flat surface.
Next, it’s time to consider the other side: the weather and temperature that your labels will be exposed to. Moist conditions will require label stock that will allow information to remain legible. The same is true of labels exposed to extreme heat or cold. Anything that will endure chemical exposure must be labelled using stock that won’t react with certain substances.
How Will They Be Printed?
Labels can be printed using several types of technology, all which produce different strengths of labels. Printing inkjet labels produces a product that’s ideal for adhering to boxes and bags, where direct thermal printing allows for labels that are durable in virtually any kind of weather.
Another element of printing to consider is whether to print the labels yourself or hire a company to print them for you.
Are There Legal Requirements?
Although the legality of your labels may not seem to involve stock, the stock you choose does matter. Some agencies have certain requirements for labels. For example, labels needing to meet SAE requirements must appear on certain areas of a container, but must also be made of certain materials, depending on what is being labelled and where the product will be stored.
It can be overwhelming to select the right label stock. But the above considerations can go a long way to helping you decide which label stock will work best for your business. And in choosing the right label stock from the beginning, your business can save a lot of time, money and frustration in the long run.