The Beginner’s Guidebook To All Things Label Printing
While labeling might appear as a design on your favorite products they’re so much more. They provide you with key features and highlights of the product, pricing, and even nutritional information or warnings. Because of this the longevity and durability of your labels are of utmost importance.
What Are Labels Made of?:
Labels are typically comprised of 4 different layers. The Topcoat, Face Stock, Adhesive, and Liner.
Starting with the topcoat, it is typically a clear layer that enhances ink or toner adhesion. When your labels are frequently exposed to UV lighting or other extreme conditions a topcoat can be very helpful in avoiding wear and tear. These finishes give your product labels an appeal with options like glossy or matte to upscale their look for a premium feel.
Face stock, on the other hand, is the face of your label’s material. This is the place where your product’s graphics and information is printed on a wide variety of different materials. The type of material chosen in this stage will help your company determine the durability of your labels.
The adhesive layer of your label varies depending on what the label is bonded to. Rubber, Acrylic, and silicone are popular adhesives that vary depending on which material you choose.
Although liners are viewed as throwaway material, they serve an important role in the feeding process in digital printing. They are customizable for any material and can be specially customized in clear to apply instantly by machine. While 50-pound liners are the most common they can come in other sizes like 60 pounds for example.
Digital Versus Analog Label Printing:
With any industry changes and adaptations are normal; if not expected, as technology continues to improve. In 2020 digital printing accounted for over 3.5% of the total printed labels.
Analog Printers work by creating a master image on an image carrier that will produce copies through offset prints or screen printing and has been the standard print quality for many years. Digital Presses however uses an electronic file that is translated for the printer. The label printer then converts the image onto the page utilizing toners or inks.
While analog methods were the traditional quality standard for your labeling needs, why would people begin switching to digital methods? Digital label printing offers your business ultimate flexibility. They are able to utilize variable data; software is used to configure output, that is personalized for each printed label. In everyday use, digital technology gives you the ability to customize each label with names, addresses and QR codes without having to produce a printing plate like traditional methods require.
This technology also offers efficiency in your production. The startup cost is significantly lower than analog methods. The absence of specialized labor and printing plates allows your business to begin printing from any file nearly instantaneously.
This is why “just-in-time” production is perfect for digital methods. Less waste, less time used and less inventory cost will continue to increase your business’s turnaround times.
Lastly, digital label prints are convenient. In comparison to its analog counterpart, digital is easier to operate without the need for highly skilled labor. It quickly adjusts data from that digital file to high-quality prints with the click of just a few buttons. They’re more compact than flexographic printing processes and offer your business non-contact printing.
Continuing to follow the way that the market is shifting to short runs with highly customized labels, digital printing or a hybrid of analog and digital may be something your business would like to look into moving forward.
Printing Your Labels In House:
The everchanging market poses a problem for businesses that rely on big-time manufacturing plants for producing your labels. When outsourcing, you’re unable to keep up with packaging trends or promotional items for your brand. When these big manufacturers have minimum quantities, the changing market can result in hundreds or thousands of unused labels. This is why in-house label printing can be so effective for your business whether you’re doing cut to size labels, sheet labels or roll labels.
In-house label printing allows your business to change designs in real-time. The amazing new product you’ve created will have a brand-new label nearly instantaneously. Your company now has the ability to change your labels simply, cheaply and efficiently. With in-house printing, your ability to print the quantity needed to test new designs in the market without having to throw away excess labels the outsourced company required.
If instant turnaround has been a problem for your business in-house label production will solve this for you. You no longer have to worry about shutdowns from running out of your brand’s labels. Print the exact quantity needed for any size project.
Last-minute design changes, or even in production are possible. Having obsolete labels will no longer be a problem for your business. You’ll save time and money with on-demand label printing customized and tailored for every promotion or season.
The cost per label with in-house labeling is also something worth mentioning. If you only require a small batch of labels it is beneficial to stop outsourcing. You no longer have to worry about minimum quantities per order. The return of investment on the purchase of the equipment can be returned to your business within a few runs because the cost per label is significantly reduced in comparison to the outsourced pricing.
Overall, printing your labels in-house allows your business to meet labeling requirements, print-on-demand, and diversify your designs as needed. In-house labeling is definitely something to look into for your business.
How To Finish Your Labels:
In digital printing, there are inline finishing options as well as offline. With offline finishing, each machine works in close proximity to one another and efficiently increases the speed and end quality of your products. Inline finishing however doesn’t perform as expected in real business scenarios.
The perceived benefits of inline finishing offers make it appear as a logical choice. The process is automated with more throughput. It increases throughput as the need for labor should diminish. Skilled labor is often a very expensive expense for a company which makes inline finishing appealing.
In theory, inline finishing will cut this expense while creating higher-quality products for the business.
Inline finishing does have its benefits in the case of homogenous product production. They are highly consistent and have the advantage of gaining a consistent stream of operation while eliminating or minimizing the manual processes involved in printing. Realistically, however, companies have fewer homogeneous products than might first be anticipated.
The market today has moved towards short runs of dynamic product lines which require frequent tweaks and updates. This is where you see the breakdowns in the process with inline finishing.
In speed matching different machines that on a basic level have different speed capabilities are forced to work in an inline system, The print capabilities of the printer are significantly reduced because the faster device must match the speed of the slower finisher.
The reliability of your prints is impacted when different machines are linked in an inline system. The total system is only as good and reliable as its weakest component. While the printing system may have the capability of running 1600×1600 dpi at high speeds, the finisher will slow it down and reduce the reliability of those high-resolution prints at the speeds the printer is capable of maintaining.
The setup and flexibility of inline finishing are also affected. The process of setting up an inline system is complicated and becomes even more so when more aspects are added to the line. This hinders the flexibility of the entire system. As inline is automated, the rigidness of the system is not designed to handle the changes the market has shifted towards.
The service on an inline system politely can quickly become a nightmare. If one device were to be serviced, it impacts the entire function of the other systems that are inline. They utilize complex interactions to communicate and link the devices together which may still require that specialized technician the inline operation was supposed to cut out completely.
Offline finishing in comparison to inline finishing, tends to have more benefits to your business than drawbacks. They are robust and versatile with the ability to diversify product arrangements as needed. If one mechanism were to fail, the others will not be impacted as there is no interaction between the mechanisms. This will, in turn, save your business time and money for not having to be shut down completely while repairs are completed.
The labor costs while not entirely diminished are minimized with automated material handling devices like high-capacity paper carts or roll feed units for example. These can be learned and processed with less-skilled workers. With some training, they can easily operate the machinery in little to no time.
Whether versatile, dynamic product lines or homogenous high capacities your business’s unique needs will determine whether or not offline vs inline is the correct choice for your business. You can always reach out to one of our representatives for feedback or help with any questions your business may have in solving its unique problems.
Can Label Printing Be Eco-Friendly?
The importance of environmentally friendly products has never been more apparent. The market for consumer goods that are eco-friendly and green has been increasing. As your company prepares to offer customers products that are environmentally sensitive eco-friendly labeling options may appeal to your business.
There are several different categories into which your labels or stickers can be categorized into. Recycled products for example are typically manufactured from post-consumer waste. These materials have served their intended purpose as one product and without the recycling, they’d end up in landfills. While 100% recycled is the best for the environment, these products come in varying percentages to help improve your companies environmental footprint.
Recyclable or Zero Waste labeling has a natural look. They are typically natural colors and suitable for organic, natural, or sustainable consumer packaging. They are 100% recycled and beneficial if you’d like to showcase to your consumers that your company is taking the steps to erase its carbon footprint.
Compostable products vary slightly. They’re biodegradable and are able to be broken down easily. When labels are crafted from these materials it indicates that the product they’re attached to is also compostable or ecofriendly.
What to Keep in Mind when Designing your labels:
Coming up with a new design to match that amazing new product can be more of a hassle than it seems. The design needs not only to attract the consumer but it also needs to inform them on the very basics of the product as well.
Keeping your product in mind is the very first and important step to designing your perfect branding. The product itself is unique and specific which will assist you in creating that perfect design. Knowing the product will allow it to thrive in the already competitive, saturated market.
Each product’s specific needs as far as packaging goes it needs to perfectly showcase the product while also maintaining all the wear and tear the consumers will put it through. If a label design fades in the sunlight when it has specific warnings it couldn’t only be an annoyance but also dangerous. Resiliency, water resistance, and durability are all important factors to consider when designing your packaging with your product in mind.
If knowing your product wasn’t a big enough consideration knowing your audience is also important. The time and effort your brand puts into its labels can be rendered useless if they aren’t presented correctly. Researching the demographics of your target audience can go a long way.
For example, let’s say that your product is sold in 3 different countries. Would it make sense in China to have all English lettering? Or vice versa, a product that is written completely in Chinese in America? You must first research and understand your audience before you can effectively design a label that will be perfect for the branding of your product.
Another consideration to consider is the type of machinery your company has access to. Not every company is going to require the same technology as its competitor.
Don’t be scared to ask for samples or more information when shopping for the correct label printer. Is color payoff important? If you’re simply printing a QR code maybe speed is more important to your business.
The unique needs of your business will determine which type of printer your company needs. Never shy away from requesting samples to test or more information so your business makes the correct decision before purchasing.
The last tip to consider; certainly not comprehensive, is your branding and marketing. Entering into a market that is saturated with competition can be daunting to smaller businesses. The bigger brands dominate the market and have brand loyalty with many consumers. Your packaging, labeling and branding should represent unique qualities your brand has to offer that differs from the competition.
Your label gives your brand the ability to speak about what your product and company can offer the customer. It is the last line of communication between your customers and your brand, the message you give to them will ultimately create brand loyalty even against the larger competition.
Why Customized Labels More Effective:
Customized labels not only add value to your promotion but convey a unique message to your target audience. It has become an integral part of in-hallows your business to build respect and loyalty among how the audience perceives your company’s brand. Custom label printing defines your business’s role in the market all while maintaining effective costs by making your printed labels and packaging attractive to the consumer.
New technologies in digital label printers allow your labels to be customized according to the shape, size, and coloring your brand wants to offer to the public. They’re a cost-effective way of promoting your business’s unique, quality highlights that they’d like to convey across the brand.
With new technology in color label printing, you’re able to print these labels nearly instantaneously with templates so your business will never have to worry about unused inventory. Because these custom labels are printed in-house by your business you have full control over the quality, design, and quantity your business wants to offer.
Finding The Right System For Your Business:
Overall, your labeling is specific and important. It represents your company while informing consumers about your product. The fast-paced market and durability requirements needed from your labels can make it hard to know where to begin.
For Entry-Level Label Makers:
These entry-level printers are the perfect first step into in-house label printing. They are capable of quality full-color labels that will have your business up and running with little to no hassle.
For Medium Tier Labeling:
For those who have been printing labels in-house for quite some time and are looking for the perfect upgrade to their current systems, look no further than these options. The ArrowJet Mini for example, is an aqueous pigmented inkjet machine perfect for your food’s packaging. The T2 and T2C are both toner systems that bring your consumers the quality prints that they associate with your brand.
For Industrial Capabilities:
- ArrowJet Light (Coming Soon!)
- ArrowJet Aqua 330R
These full-sized industrial label printers don’t make you choose between speed and quality. Efficiently print at full 1600×1600 dpi while maintaining reassurance that each and every print will be held up to your companies highest standards. With Aqueous pigmented ink technology, single-pass prints and an automated gap sensing technology, ArrowJet Light and Aqua 330R may be the industrial digital solutions your company has been searching for.
Find out more today on our website or speak with one of our reps and find out how we can find the perfect digital labeling solution for your business today!