The Basics of Label Printing

Published: 30th November 2008
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The product labels that adorn your products are very important to how well your products sell. The product label is either the first and only marketing or sales pitch customers see, or it is the last thing a customer sees and is what makes or breaks the sale for you.

Therefore, you need to put sufficient time and energy into designing and printing your labels. Custom label printing can be more complicated than it looks, with choices of materials, coatings and glues, as well as design and color choices. Here are some key things you should know before you get started:

1. You can search for label printers online and get bids from many printers to compare and get the best price.
2. You don't need to worry about finding the right paper or material for your labels; label printing companies should have all the different types of material you could want.
3. If you only need a small number of labels printed, you can use digital label printing.
4. You can even do your own label printing on a laser or inkjet printer, although they won't look quite as professional as ones printed by a professional printer.

If you have an idea of what you want your label to look like, here are some resources and ideas to help you get started:

Look online for printers that print labels often. Many have different sizes of labels and will list their prices for these sizes on their Web sites. LabelLab.com has an easy step-by-step ordering process and a good FAQ page for people who are new to label printing. Blue Ribbon Tag & Label Corp. (www.blueribbonlabel.com) has a great page that explains pre/post production runs, label design and other label printing services.

Choose the label material that best works for your product. If you have a food product or other kind of short-term product that needs a label, you may want to laminate them to protect the ink. Film product labels, generally called BOPP, work best for packages that get wet, like bath gels. You can also get your label stamped with gold or silver foil for a fancy splash of color with many types of label material. Ask your printer for details.

Choose a label size and shape that complements your product. Obviously, the bigger the product, the bigger the label. The most common label shapes are rectangle, square, oval and circle. You can get custom-shaped labels printed for extra costs. Again, checking this out on various printer Web sites is your best bet.

Get your colors tested. Run a small test batch of labels on the material you intend to use to check the color printing. Many printers use traditional four-color CMYK printing processes that combine cyan, magenta, yellow and black to make all colors. Newer digital printers are capable of mixing seven colors for a truer color. Either way, ask for a printed proof of your product label before paying for a full print run. Ask if you can run a small batch so that you can see any color variation that is bound to happen. The variation shouldn't be bad - just a shade lighter or darker is normal.


Katie Marcus writes about the label printing technologies used by businesses for their marketing and advertising campaigns.

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