What are the best options for Label and Sticker Printing?

💡 Top considerations for sticker and label printing
What are labels and stickers?
Why are labels and stickers useful for packaging?
Printing Your Own Labels vs. Professional Printing
Material options
Printing Options

Labels and stickers add a great deal of value to your product packaging.

Whether they are the finishing touch to your boxes, or a way to communicate information, using custom stickers or label sets you apart from your competition.

While considering your printing and finishing capabilities when it comes to your packaging, the same is true for stickers and labels!

Example of label
Source: Behance

Historically, stickers and labels communicated important information for more than just packaging. Today, symbols on stickers and labels have universal meanings that we all understand.

Think of the skull and crossbone labels we all understand as toxic or harmful.

Beyond symbolism, labels and stickers offer a personal touch to your packaging that allows you to build authentic and long lasting relationships with your customers.

Here we’ll look at what labels and stickers are, why they can be helpful, and printing and finishing options for you to consider.

What are labels and stickers?

When thinking about the packaging experience for customers, labels and stickers make a big difference for your brand.

If you’re looking to scale up your business and improve the overall packaging experience for customers, it’s a good idea to look into custom sticker printing.

Stickers and labels are especially useful when your business has decided to opt for stock packaging for your products.

Stock packaging tends to look very generic and lacks that personal touch customers are looking for when purchasing products.

Using custom stickers and labels is not only a cost effective way to enhance your packaging, but it allows for more prominent differentiation between you and your competitors.

example of stickers and labels
Source: PakFactory

You can get a variety of options and shapes, and best of all, it’s tailored to your brand colors and design to create a unique feel for your packaging!

So, once you’ve decided that stickers and labels could be a valuable addition to your business, you’ll need to look at label printing and sticker printing in more detail and why they are used.

Why are labels and stickers useful for packaging?

You’ll find that stickers and labels are used for a variety of reasons. They can be used as a decorative element to strengthen branding or to convey critical information such as ‘flammable’ or ‘fragile.’

Informational labels are effective in making a strong first impression as you’ll commonly see them on the exterior of boxes and customers take notice of them before the unboxing.

Decorative stickers are usually used inside packaging, for example, to keep tissue wrapping in place and add an extra touch.

Information

Stickers and labels catch the eye, so if you need to convey important information about what is inside the packaging, stickers and labels may be the answer you’re looking for. 

Depending on the printing solution you use, you can create stickers aligned with your branding while also conveying important information about your products.

For example; does your product stand at a competitive advantage when it comes to price? Put a sticker on it and tell your customers! 

Example of informational label
Source: Net-A-Porter

While conveying warnings may seem like a drawback for your products, it actually enhances your brand credibility.

Being completely transparent with your customer builds customer loyalty and trust thus, boosting your brand reputation and narrative!

Marketing Value

If you want to make a great first impression as soon as the customer receives their packaging, there is no doubt that stickers and labels can provide a boost.

This is a simple solution to implement that can enhance the unboxing experience of your products.

You can create artwork stickers with your designs and logos, or leave a fun personalized message to provide an authentic feel.

Stickers and labels can enhance your brand while costing relatively little and effectively drive your business’ marketing value all while adding a fun element to your products.

Communication 

Stickers and labels can tell customers a lot about your brand.

Whether it’s the amount of effort you put into the packaging experience or simply providing information about the product, there is a lot of room to communicate.

Stickers and labels add to your brand story and overall experience in a quick and simple way.

While some of the communication is more implicit, other types of stickers and labels communicate what your brand stands for and how your customers can get the best experience from your products.

Shipping

On a more practical note, stickers and labels also provide much value to your shipping process. 

Barcodes, warnings, and other types of labels can tell shipping operators a lot about your product and how to take care of it during shipping. 

Shipping labels are a crucial part of the shipping process that ensures your products land in your customers’ laps, so why not treat them a bit differently?

Example of incorporating functional labels into packaging design
Source: BP & O 

Creating custom shipping labels is a great way to combine functionality with your packaging design!

Shipping labels can look a bit dull and take away from the unboxing experience, so why not incorporate them into your design for a seamless experience.

Printing Your Own Labels vs. Professional Printing

There are a few different ways to think about label and sticker printing. If you’re not shipping out a massive volume of packages, or shipping tends to be sporadic, you can print your own labels.

You might need a particular type of printer for it, but you can do it.

Bear in mind that if you’re trying to print it all yourself, it does take up a considerable amount of time and ink!

It might not save you as much as you think to print labels and stickers at home in the long run.

example of stickers
Source: PakFactory

Using a professional sticker and label printer is an excellent idea in this case! You’ll be able to save time, effort, and supplies while getting professional-quality printing done.

You’ll also get a bulk discount for high volumes, making it more cost-effective in the long run.

The other bonus is that you’ll receive professional guidance along the way that can help you further refine the specifications and design of your labels and stickers to ensure they’re the best fit for your product.

Professional sticker and label printers tend to use superior materials that are more durable. You’ll have a load of options when it comes to finishing and design that will help your products stand out and make a positive impact.

So what kind of material options work best for stickers and labels?

Material options

No matter what kind of design and look you’re going for, there is a sticker material for you!

Let your creative side roam free and explore some interesting material options for your stickers and labels. It’s an opportunity to leave a lasting impression on your customers and enhance the unboxing experience of your products.

Here are some of the top material choices for sticker printing and label printing.

Polyester (kraft & white paper)

Polyester labels can come in a lot of shapes and sizes, so you’ve likely seen these a lot. They can be made to look more like metal or have chrome or mirror-type finishing.

It’s used for both interior and exterior applications because it’s a durable option.

Example of kraft sticker
Source: Source: Etsy

Polyester labels can handle harsh conditions and weather, plus the adhesive used for these types of stickers is incredibly long-lasting.

Kraft labels are created from 100% recycled materials and are better suited for a more sustainable initiative that conveys a natural, earthy look rather than shiny and metal-like.

Kraft labels cannot be laminated, though, so this is not the best idea if you’re looking for something that can withstand severe conditions such as water damage.

Vinyl and Static Cling Vinyl

When it comes to vinyl stickers, there are several different options. Industrial vinyl stickers are the best option for label printing as they are long-lasting and resistant to harsh chemicals and weather. It’s also an extremely flexible material, so you’ll be able to get much use out of it as an exterior label.

Static cling vinyl stickers are best when you’re printing stickers that will stay in place but will not ruin any surfaces.

Let’s say you adhere your label or sticker to your product with the intent of you customers removing it for use. If this is the case, static cling vinyl is a great option because it won’t leave a sticky residue behind.

The adhesive used in this type of sticker uses static electricity to hold the sticker onto smooth surfaces.

Destructible

For a safe and secure sticker choice, opt for destructible vinyl. This is a tamper-proof type sticker that cannot be peeled off easily, nor can it be reused.

This sticker material is most commonly used to label packages as fragile.

Clear and White Polypropylene

An alternative to vinyl, Polypropylene labels tend to be more cost-effective while still surviving harsh elements.

You’ll see many coating and adhesive types for this type of sticker, ranging from chrome and mirror-like to clear and water-resistant labels.

White labels have a permanent adhesive and can also withstand exposure water and oil.

Foil Paper, felt, and velvet.

Foil paper stickers are the perfect option when you’re looking for a more eye catching sticker.

You can also opt for felt and velvet material as these labels add more of a dimension to products and can elevate the look.

Furthermore, adding these unconventional elements to your stickers offers a more interactive unboxing experience for your customers, it’s no longer just about the look, but also the feel!

This is a great option for limited edition products or holiday packaging that appeals to the customers senses.

Shrink Sleeve Labels

Shrink sleeve labels almost act as packaging itself. However, it is still a label as it offers no protection to your products.

Shrink sleeve labels consist of heat-sensitive material that is seamed leaving openings on the top and bottom. The sleeve is placed around your product and set in place while heat is applied.

While heat is being applied the sleeve will begin to shrink and adhere to your product for a sleek and secure finish.

Shrink sleeves are used to make designs stand out without driving up cost or turnaround times

Shrink sleeve labels are an option for label printing when you’re looking for full coverage of your products.

This type of label is often seen in the food industry for things like bottles and tubes.

However, this type of label is not limited to the food industry. Shrink sleeve labels are a time and cost effective way to adhere your branding to your products and packaging!

Printing Options

Sheet-fed Offset

If you’re opting for small or medium orders, sheet-fed offset is the best as it allows individual pages to be fed into the machine.

You can go this route for smaller sticker printing or label printing processes before committing to bigger orders.

Digital

For vivid colors and stunning detail, digital is the best way to go. This is the perfect option for highly designed and visual stickers, especially since it’s waterproof and weatherproof.

Stickers and labels will print in 1440pi high-resolution, ensuring that your design stands out and maintains brand narratives.

Flexo

Flexo printing, also known as flexography, is more of an economical option that you can go for without having to sacrifice quality.

If you’re looking for a label printing solution that looks great and doesn’t cost a lot, this is the best option.

This label printing method uses flexible plates made of rubber. Inks are then rolled onto the plate to create your design and get it ready for printing.

The plate presses against substrates to create the final image.

This technique offers high quality prints for your label and sticker printing.

Rotary Offset

The rotary printing method is another printing method used for label and sticker printing.

The images are curved around a cylinder and then printed.

This is another excellent label printing solution if you’re going for bright colors and a more vibrant look.

Now that we’ve explored label and sticker printing options, it’s time to look at the finishing touches needed!

Finishes

You’ll find that there are many different finishes available for your stickers and labels, depending on the type of look you are going for.

Here are some of the most popular ones:

Biaxially Oriented Polypropylene (BOPP)

BOPP is a plastic-based label material.

If you’re looking for finishing that is durable and long-lasting, BOPP will be the best choice as it is resistant to most things such as fading, oil, and heat.

It’s also cost-effective, as you can order it in large volumes for lower prices.

Holographic or glitter films

For something more fun and memorable, holographic and glitter stickers are the best.

The artwork is digitally printed with white ink for holographic sticker printing, formed from metalized vinyl and acrylic adhesive.

Example of Holographic sticker
Source: Dribbble

The combination makes it very reflective, so it’s a type of sticker that will stand out.

Glitter stickers are created from holographic flake materials onto a metalized vinyl, giving it a high-quality look while still being durable.

Foil Stamping

Hot foil stamped stickers are a highly personalizable option, and you can use them with your logo or chosen artwork.

It adds a more formal touch to your packaging as this type of sticker printing can be embossed as well.

Hot foil stamping involves applying metallic foil to paper with an engraved plate.

When the plate is heated and forced against the label material, the dry ink is placed in between to leave the material’s design on it.

Gloss UV, Matte UV and Spot UV

Essentially all three of these types of stickers and labels are characterized by their UV durability qualities.

This means that the UV coating will protect the stickers against external sources, so no wind and rain damage to the stickers.

Example of Matte stickers
Source: Dribbble

You can have more glossy stickers or labels, or go for a matte and less shiny finish.

If you only need a glossy or matte finish on a specific part of the label or sticker, the spot UV finish is perfect.

You can subtly highlight elements on your stickers like your logo or important information.

Matte Lamination and Gloss Lamination

Lamination is a good finish when you’re looking for interior stickers and labels or product labeling.

These are long-lasting and resistant to substances such as oil or water, so they offer a certain level of protection and durability.

Again, with matte lamination, you’ll have something that’s less shiny versus gloss lamination, which is comparatively shinier.

Label and sticker printing gives you a lot of room for customization while still being a strong branding element.

With various printing and finishing options to choose from, you can work with professional sticker printing and label printing operators to design and execute the best sticker and labels for your business, precisely the way you want!

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