Archive for May, 2015

Tips for Choosing the Perfect Label for Bottles & Jars

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015

We have many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many customers who use our labels to label bottles and jars, which they use to contain the products they sell (and often make), such as cosmetics and food and drink.

We have even more people getting in touch with us day by day who want to find the perfect label for their bottles and jars.

So we thought it was high time we put together a bit of a guide to help people out.

CHOOSING THE RIGHT SIZE OF LABEL
Step 1. Remember that bottles and jars come in ALL shapes and sizes.
The most common query we get simply says “I need labels for my bottles/jars”.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a range of labels that will fit EVERY different shape and size of bottle/jar – so the first thing you need to do is get the measurements of your bottle/jar so you have a starting point to work from.

Step 2. Remember that bottles and jars come in ALL shapes and sizes.
Basic measurements won’t help: you need to make sure you’ve taken into account the shape AND size of your bottle/jar.

For example, some customers ask for labels for a 50ml bottle or a jar that is 10cm tall and 5cm wide. These measurements don’t account for any variations in the shape of the bottle/jar, including any variation in the curvature of the surface or any shaped areas such as a narrow neck or deliberate shaping at the bottom of the container.

Step 3. Choose a label size that suits the shape and size of YOUR bottle/jar.
The best thing to do is to measure the surface area of the bottle/jar where you want to add a label, decide on the shape you want your label to be and then work out what dimensions will work best in the space that you have.

Think carefully about how you can make the shape of your bottle/jar work for you.

For example, can you fit a decent sized label onto the lid of your bottle/jar? Does your bottle/jar have “sides” which you can use to create a “front” and “back” or is it a cylinder that you can drape a label around?

Step 4. Consider what you want to include on your label and think about how it will look when the label is applied.
It’s helpful to have the design and text you want to include on your labels to hand when working out what size of label you need. If you don’t know the exact design you want to use, at least make a list of the bits and pieces that you want to include – even if you haven’t written the final text just yet – so you can estimate how big your labels need to be to fit everything on. This way you can pick a label size that is small enough to fit on your bottle/jar but big enough so your text and design is easy to see and read.

If you’ve got a lot of information to include (particularly if you are labelling products that require ingredients and health and safety information), consider using multiple labels; for example, you could include the name of your product and your logo on a single label at the front of your bottle or on the lid of your jar, and then use a bigger label on the back of the bottle or side of your jar to include more detailed information.

You also need to take into account any curvature of the surface of your bottle/jar. While some bottles and jars are produced with a squarish shape, so that they have generally flat sides for you to apply labels to, most are cylindrical, which means you must make sure that your label design works as the label curves around the bottle/jar. Using long, thin labels will force people to turn the bottle/jar around to read the label, which can make it difficult to see important information about your product – you should consider either grouping your information so that people only need to look at one area of the label for one bit of information, or divide your information across two or more labels.

Step 5. Look through the sizes available on the Label Planet website to find the nearest fit.
Due to the sheer variety in bottles/jars, we may not have the exact size of label you come up with by following the above steps. We don’t offer bespoke sizes, so the best thing to do is look through the sizes we have and see which one is the closest fit and decide if that size will work for your design.

Our website includes two pages that list ALL of our label sizes – by height and by width. These pages are a great way to see what sort of sizes are available.

CHOOSING THE RIGHT LABEL PRODUCT
Step 1. Make a list of requirements for the labels you need.
This list should include both practical and decorative requirements for your labels.

PRACTICAL: you need to consider what the bottle/jar will contain and the environment that the bottle/jar will be used and/or stored in.
For example, most people need bottle and jar labels for cosmetics and food/drink products. In these cases, many customers want their labels to be waterproof so that they will survive in kitchen and bathroom environments during storage and use. We have a range of waterproof labels for customers to choose from, as well as a range of “splashproof” labels, which are NOT waterproof but do offer light protection if a label gets very lightly damp or dirty.

DECORATIVE: list any requirements you have for the look of your labels.
For example, do you prefer a gloss or a matt finish? Do you want white labels, transparent labels, or coloured labels?

Step 2. Take a look through the label products on the Label Planet website.
Our List of All Materials page contains ALL of the different products we have available, along with the basic properties of each one including the material the labels are made of, the type of adhesive used, whether the labels are waterproof or not, and whether the labels are suitable for inkjet or laser printers (or both). This list is a good place to start as it allows you to see the options available and you can click on each of the options to find out more information about each of the products available.

Things That Will Affect How Effectively Your Stickers Stick

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015

The adhesion of a label depends on four factors:

  • The STRENGTH of the adhesive
  • The length of TIME the label is stuck onto an item
  • The TEMPERATURE the label is exposed to
  • The type of SURFACE the label is stuck onto

Each of these four factors interact with each other, so each customer’s label application will be entirely unique. This is one of the main reasons that we offer a free sample service for all of our customers; getting a sample means that you can check that a particular label will work in the exact conditions you need it to.

STRENGTH:

There are many types of adhesive, which are manufactured with a specific range of desirable properties and characteristics in mind. One of the key characteristics of an adhesive is its permanency, i.e. whether it is designed to be a permanent or removable adhesive. Adhesives range from extremely strong permanent adhesives to very light removable adhesives, and each adhesive has its own unique level of initial tack and ultimate tack.

Tack refers to the “stickiness” of a material; the quality that allows immediate adhesion between two surfaces with a minimum of pressure and contact time, while the adhesive is in a fluid or semi-fluid state. Initial tack describes the strength of the bond that is created the moment a label is applied to a surface. After a label is applied the adhesive will harden and set; the strength of the bond between a label and a surface when an adhesive has fully set is known as the ultimate tack.

If you want a label that will create a strong, permanent bond with a surface, you will need an adhesive with excellent initial tack and excellent ultimate tack for long term adhesion. Alternatively, if you want a temporary label that is easy to remove when it is no longer needed, you will want an adhesive with low initial tack and low ultimate tack for short term adhesion.

TIME:

All adhesives strengthen over time; when a label is first applied, the initial bond will strengthen until the adhesive sets into its ultimate adhesion. You should always allow labels time to set properly before testing the strength of the adhesive; many people will become tempted and try to peel up a corner of the label soon after it has been applied – some then believe that the adhesive is too weak for their purpose, when they simply haven’t allowed enough time for the adhesive to reach its ultimate tack.

This factor should also be considered when choosing removable labels or when considering purchasing labels that will be stored for future use. Removable adhesives are designed to have low initial and ultimate tack so that – when the label is no longer needed – the label will remove cleanly and easily from a surface. However, if a removable label is left for very extensive periods of time, the adhesive will eventually harden into a more permanent bond. Labels that are stored for extremely long periods of time may also begin to set before they can be used. To avoid this, labels should be stored in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight and should be used within their recommended shelf life.

TEMPERATURE:

The temperatures an adhesive is exposed to can also have an impact.

  • At the moment of application:
    The reaction that takes place as an adhesive sets is influenced by temperature; a higher temperature will speed up the reaction, which means that labels applied at higher temperatures will usually have better adhesion than those applied at lower temperatures.
    It should also be noted that extremely cold temperatures can also have an impact: the reaction may be slowed down, preventing a bond from forming properly, or the adhesive may solidify in extreme cold preventing any reaction – and therefore any adhesion – from taking place. This is why label products are supplied with a minimum application temperature – at lower temperatures, the adhesive simply won’t be able to function and the label won’t adhere to the item being labelled.
  • During storage/use:
    The temperatures that labels are exposed to during use and/or storage after they have been applied can also influence the adhesive bond; any extremes of heat or cold may interfere with an adhesive bond causing the bond to fail and leading to the label peeling up or falling off entirely.

SURFACE:

Some surfaces are better suited to adhesives than others; the properties of the surface influence how well an adhesive is able to form a bond that is strong enough to hold a label in place on that surface. The most important factors are the texture of the surface, the shape of the surface, and the material the surface is made of.

  • Texture: surfaces can have peaks and troughs of various depths, ranging from smooth, flat surfaces to rough, uneven ones. Adhesive bonds are most successful when there is a large surface area available for the adhesive to bond to. Labels on sheets tend to have adhesives that are in a semi-fluid state; this means that the adhesives have some ability to move into troughs in a surface, which means that the best bonds are created when a label is applied to a surface with some shallow troughs as this increases the surface area available between the label and the item being labelled.
    If a surface has no troughs or if the troughs are too shallow, the adhesive has a smaller surface area available to adhere to. Similarly, if there are too many troughs or if the troughs are too deep, the adhesive will not be able to reach all of the available surface area before it sets.
  • Shape: surfaces can be flat or shaped (e.g. curved). Adhesives will form stronger bonds on flat surfaces than on curved surfaces. This is because the adhesive has to fight against the “memory” of the material used to make the label; the memory of a material describes the quality that causes materials to try to return to their original shape when they are deformed (e.g. by bending or stretching the material). When a label is curved around a surface, the material will try to return to its original (flat) state; if the adhesive is not strong enough to overcome this force, then the label will simply peel away from the surface.
  • Material: different materials have different properties which will influence how well an adhesive bonds with the surface of an object. Some of these properties have already been mentioned – such as the texture of the surface and the strength of the material’s memory. You should also remember to account for any treatments or coatings that a material has, which may interact with the adhesive or cause issues if the treatment or coating changes/disintegrates over time. This also explains why labels should always be applied to surfaces that are clean and dry; if, for example, a surface has droplets of water on it, the adhesive will not be able to reach the item itself and bond with it successfully because of the layer of water between them.

So, if you want to make sure that you pick the right adhesive for the job, the best thing to do is to Request A Sample and then test that sample in the EXACT CONDITIONS of the label application you have in mind.

It’s All About The Paperwork

Thursday, May 21st, 2015

When you’re ordering things online it’s always best to keep your paperwork in order, which is why we send out documentation with EVERY order we despatch. All of our paperwork has a box in the top right corner to indicate the TYPE of documentation you have received and the date of issue.

Here’s a short list of the paperwork we send out:

  • VAT Receipt

All completed orders will have a VAT Receipt.
If your invoice and delivery address are the same, the VAT receipt will be packed with your order (with orders despatched in C4 envelopes using the VAT Receipt to display the address for delivery).
If you have separate invoice and delivery addresses, your goods will be despatched to your delivery address and your VAT Receipt will be despatched separately in the post (unless you request otherwise).
For orders of 500+ sheets that are made to order or despatched from our warehouse, your VAT Receipt will be despatched in the post.

Each VAT Receipt contains:
– [Invoice] Address
– Date of Issue
– Purchase Order (where you provide one)
– Order Reference Number (our reference for your order)
– Price (including the amount of VAT paid)
– Items and Quantities Ordered (including the product code of each item, a short description of each item, quantity of each item, and price of each item)
– Shipping (where special delivery is chosen; includes a description of the delivery service chosen and the price)
– Discount (where an order has been granted a discount; includes a description of the level of discount awarded and the amount discounted)
– Label Planet Contact/Company Information (so you have all the information you need to get in touch with us)
[Copy invoices will be marked as such in the box in the top right corner of the document]
[Where a customer has provided their VAT number and VAT has been removed from their order, a non-VAT receipt will be issued which displays the customer’s VAT number and the cost of their order]

  • Delivery Note

Where a completed order has a separate invoice and delivery address, a Delivery Note will be supplied with the goods when they are despatched from our office.

Each Delivery Note contains:
– Delivery Address
– Date of Issue
– Purchase Order (where you provide one)
– Order Reference Number (our reference for your order)
– Items and Quantities Ordered (including the product code of each item, a short description of each item, and quantity of each item)
– Shipping (where special delivery is chosen; includes a description of the delivery service chosen)
– Discount (where an order has been granted a discount; includes a description of the level of discount awarded)

  • Proforma Invoice

If a customer doesn’t have a credit/debit card or Paypal account to make payment, if they prefer to pay by bank transfer or cheque, or if they have to submit orders via their Finance Department, we will issue a proforma invoice.

Each Proforma Invoice contains:
– [Invoice] Address
– Date of Issue
– Purchase Order (where you provide one)
– Order Reference Number (our reference for your order)
– Terms of Payment (we operate on a payment with order basis; we do not despatch orders until payment has been made)
– Bank Details (our bank details for BACS payments)
– Price (including the amount of VAT paid)
– Items and Quantities Ordered (including the product code of each item, a short description of each item, quantity of each item, and price of each item)
– Shipping (where special delivery is chosen; includes a description of the delivery service chosen and the price)
– Discount (where an order has been granted a discount; includes a description of the level of discount awarded and the amount discounted)

  • School [VAT] Invoice

We offer Local Education Authority Schools the option to order items on a 30 Day Invoice. This option is ONLY available to schools; to request their invoice, the school must submit their order details by email or fax either in the form of an official purchase order or in a document using the school’s letterhead, along with the signature of the person responsible for payment. The school invoice will be despatched along with the goods or (where 500+ sheets are ordered) despatched in the post.

Each School Invoice contains:
– [Invoice] Address
– Date of Issue
– Purchase Order (where you provide one)
– Order Reference Number (our reference for your order)
– Terms of Payment (schools are offered terms of 30 days from invoice date)
– Bank Details (our bank details for BACS payments)
– Price (including the amount of VAT paid)
– Items and Quantities Ordered (including the product code of each item, a short description of each item, quantity of each item, and price of each item)
– Shipping (where special delivery is chosen; includes a description of the delivery service chosen and the price)
– Discount (where an order has been granted a discount; includes a description of the level of discount awarded and the amount discounted)

What do I do if I need a copy of my paperwork?
If you need a copy of your paperwork to submit to a finance department, for your own records, or to replace a copy that has gone astray, please get in touch with us via phone or email and we can send a copy of your original document either by email or in the post.

[Please note that we cannot send out exact copies of original documentation; we will only be able to send out a Copy Receipt that is clearly marked as a copy of the original.]

Fancy Something A Little Bit Different? Try Our Semi-Gloss Labels…

Monday, May 18th, 2015

We’ve introduced a brand new option when it comes to choosing the best finish for your labels.

Semi-gloss labels provide an excellent alternative to a full gloss or full matt finish, adding a subtle touch of decoration and quality without being overbearing or distracting too much attention from your text or the item being labelled.

These labels have a decorative, professional look that provides a brilliant middle ground between the shine of a full gloss finish and the dull surface of a full matt finish. Semi-gloss labels are a popular choice for marketing and promotional materials, for labelling containers for cosmetics, food and drink products, or gift items, and for general purpose product labels and/or packaging labels.

The semi-gloss coating has a smooth finish, which creates excellent print results. It also has the benefit of providing the paper labels with limited protection from water and dirt; we call these labels “Splashproof” because they can be wiped clean and dry if they get lightly splashed with water or dirt.

[Please note that these labels are NOT fully waterproof because they are, ultimately, paper labels, which will be damaged by long term or excessive exposure to liquids and/or total immersion in liquids.]

The semi-gloss finish is available on paper labels with a permanent adhesive. These labels are supplied on A4 sheets and are suitable for use with laser printers. To see the full range of sizes available, please visit our Semi-Gloss Labels range page. You can also Request A Sample to take a look at the semi-gloss finish for yourself.

Templates: Mind the Gap(s)

Monday, May 11th, 2015

Forgetting about the gaps between labels can be a big problem when you’re working with Word templates. Apart from square cut or “butt cut” labels (where there are no gaps and the labels “butt up” against one another), labels on sheets will usually be cut with gaps between the labels. Some labels are cut so that they are surrounded by blank space, while others will only have spaces between the rows or columns of labels.

So why can this cause problems in Word templates?

Word is a word processor and, as such, is excellent at working with text but slightly less effective with everything else. Templates in Word are created as Tables, which create a grid that replicates the layout of a sheet of labels.

So, when there are gaps between labels, these blank spaces must be represented in the table EITHER by including them in the cells that represent the labels on the sheet OR as blank rows/columns between these cells.

Obviously, including the blank space in the cells that represent the labels isn’t an ideal compromise as you have to estimate which bit of the cell represents a label and which bit represents blank space – which can make it difficult to get your design positioned accurately.

The alternative is to create blank rows or columns in the table to represent the blank spaces.

However, if you do use a template with these blank spaces you have to remember that they are there!

For example, you cannot simply select the whole table to copy and paste your design from one cell to all of the cells – Word will copy your design into the blank rows and/or columns, which can cause all sorts of problems either by altering your template to fit the new content or creating issues when you try to print.

If there are only spaces between the rows or columns of labels then you CAN select all of the rows or columns where there are no spaces between the labels and paste into all of these cells at once.

You also need to take careful consideration of these spaces if you are adding a coloured background, image, or border; to avoid white spaces around the edges of your labels, it is best to bleed your design over the edges of the cells either by giving the entire table a coloured background or by oversizing any images you are using. You need to take care that Word doesn’t automatically resize any elements of the table to account for this.

When working with Word templates, it is always best to do a test print: this way you can check the alignment of your design (and the alignment of any blank spaces!) on a blank sheet of paper first, before using any of your actual sheets of labels.

You can find Word templates for all of our label products on our Label Templates page.

FAQ – Can I Order From Outside The UK?

Monday, May 11th, 2015

There are TWO instances in which you can place an order from outside of the UK:

  1. Southern Ireland

If you are based in Southern Ireland you may order from Label Planet.

Please note that we can only accept orders by phone as we need to calculate the shipping cost for each individual order, according to the specific items and quantities being purchased in any one particular order.

When you place your order by phone, you will be given a quote for the labels you are ordering and the shipping cost that applies to those items. If you are VAT registered, please have your VAT number to hand and we can remove VAT from the prices you are quoted.

You can pay by credit/debit card or request a proforma invoice to make payment by cheque or bank transfer.

  1. UK delivery address

We will also accept orders from outside of the UK where a UK delivery address is supplied.

If you are able to arrange your own transportation to get your items from a UK delivery address to your non-UK address, then you may place an order with Label Planet as usual – simply select the option to add a separate delivery address and enter a UK delivery address of your choosing.

Unfortunately, we cannot accept orders for destinations outside of the UK if one (or both!) of the above conditions are not met. However, some of our products are available through our sister company, Madebuy; Madebuy sell genuine Label Planet products through Amazon and Ebay and are able to despatch items to addresses outside of the UK.

[You can find all of our delivery information on our website here: Delivery Information.]

Tips: How To Get Your Perfect PDF to Print Perfectly

Thursday, May 7th, 2015

The majority of our customers use Word to create their templates – which admittedly means that most of our template and printing advice is geared towards Word templates.

But we don’t want our customers using PDFs to feel left out and we’ve picked up a couple of top tips that we know will come in handy for people having problems getting the perfect print using PDFs.

Top Tip No. 1: SCALING CAN CAUSE ALL SORTS OF PROBLEMS

The most common problem our customers come across is printing their PDF template and finding that the alignment is completely wrong. While it’s easy to assume that the problem is with the template, the most common cause is usually related to the print settings that are being used – by the document or by your printer.

Usually, if the wrong print settings are being used, the alignment will follow a pattern of getting gradually worse – either as you move down or across the page OR if you start from the middle label(s) and move out towards the edge of the sheet.

This happens because the printer is attempting to print your design onto a page size that is larger or smaller than the A4 size of your sheet of labels. Your design will either be squished up or stretched out according to the size that your printer thinks it is supposed to be printing to.

To correct this, you need to simply check through a few all-important settings and make sure none of them are causing this issue:

  • Page/Media Size: this must always be set to A4
  • Scaling/Fit to Page: these options must NOT be checked

Remember, you should check through both the Properties of your document AND your printer.

Top Tip No. 2: DESIGN IN THE SOFTWARE OF YOUR CHOICE BUT PRINT DIRECTLY FROM YOUR PDF FILE

While we can’t offer any definite explanation for WHY this can cause problems, we do know that printing from your file (rather than from the software you are using to design your template) can eliminate some problems with print alignment.

It may be that the software you are using has its own default settings for how it sends documents to print, which overrides the print settings you actually want to use. We – and some of our customers – have found that problems with print alignment disappear simply by printing directly from the PDF file rather than from a particular piece of software.

So, open your PDF template in the design package of your choice and get creative.

Just remember that when it’s time to print:

  • Close down the program you are editing your template with.
  • Open your PDF template as a standalone file (NOT the graphics package you designed it in).
  • Check the document and printer settings that have been selected to ensure that your printer is set to print to A4 and that NO scaling options have been applied (or are set as default).

You can find PDF templates for all of our label sizes on our Template Page.

Opaque VS. Translucent VS. Transparent

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015

There are a lot of different terms used to describe different kinds of labels – ranging from everyday terms to specific technical terms used by the label industry (and usually no one else). Unfortunately, some of these terms are extremely similar or are used to refer to different things (usually by different people). It can be extremely easy, therefore, to get confused or to be completely in the dark as to what sort of label you want to ask for.

One area where this often happens is with labels that are opaque, translucent, or transparent. Different people use different terms for these properties – so we thought we’d give an official Label Planet definition – so you know exactly what we mean when we use these terms (although we can’t guarantee that everyone else will use them in the exact same way).

All of these terms describe a quality of materials that refers to how effectively they transmit light (i.e. if they allow light to travel through them). This quality determines how well the human eye can see through a particular material and most people discuss materials in terms of how well you can see through them, rather than how well they transmit light.

These terms refer to the scale of how well materials transmit light; materials that transmit no light at all are described as “opaque” and materials that transmit light very efficiently are described as “transparent”, with “translucent” referring to those materials that are somewhere in between.

“Opaque”

  • Does not transmit light
  • Cannot be seen through

“Transparent”

  • Does transmit light
  • Light isn’t scattered (much) as it passes through the material
  • Can be seen through

“Translucent”

  • Does transmit light
  • Light is scattered as it passes through the material
  • Has a “frosted” appearance: where transparent materials allow the human eye to see through and distinguish objects beyond the material, translucent labels cannot be seen through with a clarity that allows objects to be seen and distinguished beyond the material.

While some people mix up opaque and transparent, the most common confusion occurs between transparent and translucent – usually because some people will use the terms interchangeably. To avoid confusion, “transparent” should ONLY be used to refer to materials that you CAN see right through (and distinguish individual objects beyond) and “translucent” should ONLY be used to refer to materials that are FROSTED in appearance (and cannot be seen through clearly).

At Label Planet, we supply both OPAQUE labels and a range of TRANSPARENT labels.

[Please note that our website refers to Transparent Labels as both “Transparent” and “Clear” labels.]