is any kind of tag attached with adhesive to something
so as to identify the object or its contents. Labels come in many forms
and can be differentiated by the type of base material, called stock, that
they are printed on, and by the adhesive type that they use. The most
common type is made with a paper stock and a colloquial term for it is a
All About Labels
Labels have many uses, from product identification to
name tags. A special type of labels, digital labels (printed through a
digital process) can also have special applications such as; RFID tags,
security inks, and sandwich process labels.
Litho - one of the most common base stocks
Latex - a litho stock with some added latex allows the label to be much
more flexible and form around certain curved objects more easily than
Various plastics such as acetate, vinyl, and PET film allow a variety
of features, such as greater strength, flexibility, transparency,
resistance to tearing, etc.
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Collotype Labels Intl
21 Executive Way, Napa, CA 707 603-2500
F P Label Co Inc
601 Airpark Rd, Napa, CA 707 258-3901
Hub Labels Bay Area
1332 Glenn St, Vallejo, CA 707 648-1466
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They typically require special equipment and printing
methods (ultra-violet curing is common) as they do not normally print
well with conventional ink. A bumper sticker is usually a vinyl label
with a very strong, durable adhesive and Lightfast Inks.
Foil - has the shiny properties of a metal
Thermal - direct thermal label stock will change color (usually
black) when heated. A heating element in the shape of letters or
images can be used to create an image on the label. Custom labels can
be easily be made on location in this way. A disadvantage is
durability, because another heat source can ruin or obscure the image,
or it may fade completely over time
The stock type will affect the types of ink that will print well on
Corona treating or "zapping" makes a substrate more receptive to inks.
Permanent - Typically not designed to be removed without
tearing the stock or using solvents. The adhesion strength and speed
can also be varied. For example, full adhesion can be nearly instant,
or the label can be almost removable for a short period with full
adhesion developing in minutes or hours. This is considered the most
popular and cheapest option by many self-adhesive paper manufacturers.
Permanent labels may also be referred to as "pressure-sensitive", as a
slight amount of pressure will cause a label to immediately bond to
almost any surface.
Removable - Adhesion is fairly strong and will not fall off in
normal circumstances, but the label can be removed relatively easily
without tearing the base stock or leaving adhesive behind on the old
surface. The adhesive is usually strong enough to be applied again
Semi-permanent - aka repositionable - Adhesion strengthens
fully after application (approx 48-72 hours), allowing the label to be
removed easily if placed incorrectly and still be a permanent label.
Freezer permanent- special type of removable adhesive that
remains fully permanent under certain temperatures. This is useful for
labeling objects that are to be stored in a freezer for any length of
Tamper evident- special types of label-stocks that comes in
different guises; example 1 is a weak material, that breaks into tiny
pieces (Frangible) or example 2 could be a material that uses a
two-stage adhesive that will reveal any attempt of removal or
Ink and base stock color choices commonly conform to the Pantone
Matching System (PMS) colors. The Pantone system is very dominant in
the label printing industry. Additionally specialty inks such as
metallic, UV ink, magnetic ink, and more are available. Ink is usually
transparent however it can be made opaque. It has been known for
certain companies to patent "their own" color. Digital labels
use process colors to replicate Pantone solid colors.
Piggyback labels are made from combining two layers of
adhesive substrate. The bottom layer forms the backing for the top.
The label can be applied to any object as normal, the top layer can be
a removable label that can be applied elsewhere, which may change the
message or marking on the remaining label underneath. Often used on
Express mail envelopes.
Asset Labels / Tags are used for marking fixed and non-fixed
assets. They are usually tamper-evident, permanent or frangible and
usually contain a barcode for electronic identification using readers.
Blockout labels are not see-through at all, concealing what
lies underneath with a strong gray adhesive.
Holographic stickers are used for authentication and protection
against counterfeit. They can be used on ID cards, credit cards,
products such as CD/DVD's, etc.
Radioactive labels The use of radioactive isotopes of chemical
elements, such as carbon-14, to allow the in vivo tracking of chemical
Laser Labels are generally die cut on 8.5" x 11" sheets, and
come in many different shapes, sizes, and materials. Laser label
material is a nonporous stock made to withstand the intense heat of
laser printers and copiers.
Inkjet Labels are generally die cut on 8.5" x 11" sheets, and
come in many different shapes, sizes, and materials. Inkjet label
material is a porous stock made to accept ink and dye from your inkjet
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