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Custom-Printed Labels: Here's What Your Printer Needs to Know…

Custom labels are one of the most diverse printed products available. They can be created in virtually any size, shape or color, and can be constructed using a variety of materials, adhesives and coatings.

Sometimes referred to as stickers, decals or adhesive tags, labels are primarily used to communicate important information. Printed labels can provide identification, assist with distribution, give instructions, issue warnings, display promotional messages or serve a variety of other important purposes.

When you have a custom label project, you can expect your printer to ask a series of questions in order to accurately quote and produce the optimal label solution for you. Below are some questions your printer will likely ask and the corresponding aspects for you to consider.

How will the Label be used?

When a customer requests custom-printed labels, the first question we ask is how the label will be used. Knowing the label's purpose, what it will be affixed to, and the environment and handling it will be subject to, helps us determine its basic physical characteristics…

Base Material
Paper (the most economical choice)
Plastic - Vinyl, Polyester, Mylar, etc.
Metallic Foil

Adhesion Method
Permanent Bond
Removable/Repositionable
Static Cling

Protective Coatings
UV Coating
Plastic Lamination
Chemical/Moisture Resistant

How will the Label be applied?

After we know more about the label's basic physical characteristics, we want to learn how the label will be applied and if the label will be printed upon or otherwise marked on by the customer or another party. This helps us determine the optimal format for dispersing the label as well as factors that may affect the durability of the label and its ink…

Format
Flat Sheets, multiple labels per sheet
Individual Labels
On Rolls
Fan-folded

Durability
Standard or Heavy-Duty Thickness
Subject to Heat, such as a LaserJet?
Written on by Pen, Marker, Pencil?
Matte or Gloss Finish

How will the Label look?

Determining the dimensions and appearance of the label is usually the next step. The options here are virtually endless, so it helps to discuss the most economical choices that meet the customer's needs. Design elements to consider include…

Size and Shape
Stock or Custom Size (a Stock size avoids any die expense)
Rectangular or Square, Sharp or Rounded Corners
Oval, Circle or Other Common Shape
Specialty/Die-cut Shape

Ink Colors
Full-Color (CMYK)
PMS/Spot Colors
Black Ink Only

Other Features
Embossing
Consecutive Numbering

Because you want labels that are ideally suited for your specific application, we always recommend to our customers that they get us involved early in the process to make sure all aspects of the label are addressed. This includes pre-testing a sample of the recommended label stock.

In addition, Formax has a vast library of stock die shapes to help you avoid the expense of a custom-shaped die. We can produce just about any type of custom-printed label you might need, so let us know if you have any questions or need help with an upcoming project.

Take care! Keith

About the Author

Keith Beaty is the owner of Formax Printing Solutions in St. Louis, MO. Formax provides a complete array of offset and digital printing services. Specialty areas include book printing, full-color printing, laminated printing, map printing, plus mailing services. If you ever have a printing question or project you would like to discuss, Keith is always happy to help. He can be reached at 866-367-6221. Keith and Formax have been providing worry-free printing and related services since 1985.

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