What Materials Should My Labels Be Made of?

Editor's Note: This is the sixth article in a seven-part series. This content is also available in the white paper, An Introduction to Product Labeling. You may download this very informative guide to product labeling free of charge as a printable PDF file, courtesy of Lightning Labels.


Again, this decision is an important one that should be made early in the design process. Label printers typically have a range of materials that will satisfy most needs, but some work better than others depending on the circumstances. For example, labels for bath and body products should be printed on polypropylene (or equivalent) material that will withstand constant exposure to moisture and oils — whereas labels printed on paper will not survive well in the shower or after repeated use. In addition, many label printers "over-laminate" the labels with a very thin layer of clear film, thereby protecting the inks and preventing scratches or other damage due to handling.

The reason it’s important to consider the material early is that the design can often be affected by that decision. For instance, labels intended to be printed on clear (see through) materials may need a different design approach — particularly if the container or the contents have strong colors in them. To demonstrate this, try to visualize a clear label with yellow design elements. If you were to apply that label to a blue bottle, the yellow ink would suddenly assume a green color (when the blue background shows through the yellow ink). Clear labels can definitely provide a wonderful "no label" look in the right circumstances, but care should be taken to ensure that there are no color conflicts that will change the visual result.

Continue Reading An Introduction to Product Labeling or Read Part 5 of This Seven-Part Series.