Archive for April, 2016

Top Tips To Perfect Your Print Positioning

Thursday, April 28th, 2016

There are many different elements that come into play when printing labels; you cannot assume that you’ll get perfect print simply by filling in a template, dumping some labels in your printer, and pressing print. At Label Planet, we recommend taking some time to make perfectly sure that your template is set up to work efficiently for you – and by “you” we mean your software, your hardware, and your labels.

All of these elements involve factors that can cause problems with your print positioning:

  • LABELS: all label products are manufactured to a tolerance (an allowed deviation from the measurements specified for a product), which means that every batch of labels may have very subtle variations in their sizing and layout that you’ll need to adjust for if you want to create the perfect template.
  • SOFTWARE: all software is designed for a particular kind of task, which means that the software you are using may be limited in its capacity to create a precise template. This means it’s up to you to find the appropriate tools to use and then use them correctly (which may also mean checking for default settings that might not be the best options for your purposes).
  • HARDWARE: all printers vary very slightly in their specifications and accuracy, which means you should make sure that you’re using both the best possible combination of print settings and taking advantage of any additional features (such as the bypass tray) instead of relying on default settings that are usually designed to produce decent print positioning on paper.

Here’s a quick-fire list of things you can do to help prevent problems with your print positioning:

  • Centralise Your Design: centralising your template and working from the inside out is a simple way to control how well your print is positioned, especially if you’re working with shapes that are a little more unusual (such as circles and ovals).
  • Check Your Format & Style Options: if you find that different objects within your design aren’t quite sitting where they’re supposed to or just don’t quite look right (even when you try to adjust them), it’s well worth looking through the format and style options applied to your objects to see if one of those default options is correcting your design in a manner that you don’t want it to.
  • Check Your Template For “Auto Corrects”: this one is especially important if you’re relying on copy and paste to add in separate elements that will make up your final design; some software detects what you are doing and then “helpfully” makes adjustments based on what it assumes you are trying to achieve. When you’re adding content, however, one of these “helpful” automatic corrections may be to move parts of your design around or to increase your template sizing and/or margins to make everything fit – which will obviously destroy the alignment of your template.
  • Make The Most Of Your Margins: if you’ve got your template all set up but find that your print is positioned in the wrong place (i.e. it’s all sitting too high/low/left/right), you might think that the only way to fix this is to move all of your design elements one by one to the correct position. A far better method is to adjust the page margins of your document; this will force your printer into moving all of the elements in your design for you and means you don’t have to worry about making sure that you’ve moved every single element in the exact same way.
  • Always Use Your Media Bypass Tray: the main tray in most printers is the “Paper Tray” and, as the name suggests, is designed specifically for the efficient processing of sheets of standard paper. Labels, however, differ in several ways from standard paper, which means that you should use the “Media Bypass Tray” instead. The Media Bypass tray is designed for thicker materials, which means that it will be able to pick up different materials much more efficiently. This tray also usually offers a more direct route through the printer (involving fewer sets of rollers), which improves your print positioning because there is a much lower chance that a sheet will rotate as it passes through all of the rollers.
  • ALWAYS Do A Test Print: while this might not give you a definitive answer as to WHAT is going wrong, it will give you a quick and easy way to check if your labels are going to print correctly or incorrectly. You can then take a closer look at your template, software, and printer settings to try to root out the cause of the problem and fix it before you use your actual sheets of labels.

For more tips and advice, please visit our Help section.

UK Labels VS US Labels (A Guide To What Is Different & Why)

Tuesday, April 26th, 2016

We often encounter customers who are trying to find a label that measures X inches by X inches and are extremely frustrated that they can’t seem to find a label product that matches AND is available to buy in the UK.

The reason for this is the fact that inches are an imperial measurement and so any labels you find using these measurements tend to be American labels, which are manufactured according to imperial measurements and the American National Standard Institute’s (ANSI) standard for paper size – as opposed to labels manufactured in the UK, which are made according to metric measurements (usually mm) and the International Standard’s (ISO) standard for paper size.

The different measurement systems and paper sizes used by the UK and the US mean that the label products manufactured by these two countries will be formed with different label sizes and layouts. For example, the UK standard page size is A4 (210mm x 297mm), while the US standard page size is American Letter (8.5 inches x 11 inches or 215.9mm x 279.4mm), which means that the label sizes and layouts that can be created on these pages are different.

The good news is that most printers and software are made with a global market in mind, which means they will allow you to switch between UK and US standards – with some software containing built in templates for both UK and US labels. The bad news is that the label products available in the UK tend to be those manufactured according to UK standards, which means that if you absolutely HAVE to use a US label size and layout (for example, if your business software was developed in the US and doesn’t allow you to use UK measurements) you will have to purchase your labels from an American distributor.

If you aren’t tied down to US standards, then the best thing to do is to convert your measurements from inches to mm and then try your search again. While there may not be a UK label product that matches those measurements exactly, you may find that there is a suitable option that is close enough for your requirements.

You can look through all of the label sizes available from Label Planet on our Labels Listed By Width and Labels Listed By Height pages.

FAQ – How Do I Get The Best Results From An Adhesive?

Thursday, April 21st, 2016

There are four key factors that influence how well a label adheres to a surface, which means that you will need to account for all of these factors when you choose and apply your labels.

The Strength Of The Adhesive
A stronger adhesive will almost always bond more successfully than a weaker adhesive, so if it is essential that your labels remain fixed firmly in place you should choose a stronger adhesive, where available. For example, the majority of our labels are made with a standard permanent adhesive that offers good adhesive strength. If you’re after labels that will really remain firmly in place, you may want to opt for our High Tack labels, which offer excellent adhesive strength.

How Long A Label Has Been Applied To A Surface
The adhesives used to make our label products have both an “initial tack” and an “ultimate tack”; initial tack describes the strength of the adhesive bond at the moment a label is applied, while the ultimate tack refers to the strength of that bond once the adhesive has fully set – meaning that these adhesives strengthen over time.

Even if you choose an extremely strong permanent adhesive with a high level of initial tack, if you apply your labels and immediately start tugging or picking at the corners to test the strength of the adhesive you will find that it will be quite easy to pull the labels off. You need to allow time for your labels to set and reach their ultimate tack to get the best possible bond strength out of the adhesive you have chosen.

The Temperature During (And After) Application
Both high AND low temperatures can interfere with adhesives and influence how well an adhesive bond forms (if at all). High temperatures tend to speed up the process of adhesion, causing the adhesive to set and reach its ultimate tack much sooner than it would at “normal” or room temperatures. Low temperatures, however, will slow down or even prevent the process of adhesion taking place at all, which would result in a poor bond or no bond forming at all when you attempt to apply your labels.

Any extremes of or fluctuations in temperature while a label is in use can also have an effect on how efficiently an adhesive bond performs during its lifetime (especially if the item is used and/or stored in conditions that are very different to those that occurred during application), and may even cause the adhesive to fail and the label to fall off.

All adhesives have both a recommended “Application Temperature” and “Storage Range”; you should take note of these guidelines and take steps to ensure that you don’t expose your labels to temperatures outside of these ranges either during application or when the labelled item is in use.
This information can be found on our Material Specification Sheets.

The Characteristics Of The Surface Being Labelled
Equally significant is the type of surface that you are labelling; all surfaces have their own characteristics and properties, some of which may influence how effectively an adhesive bonds with that particular surface.

The most important characteristic is the amount of surface area provided by different materials. The best possible surface for a successful adhesive bond is one with peaks and troughs of a moderate size, which offers a larger surface area than extremely smooth surfaces with very few or extremely shallow peaks and troughs. While you might think that a very rough surface with a lot of deep peaks and troughs would therefore be the best surface (because it offers the largest possible surface area), this isn’t the case because label adhesives aren’t capable of moving far enough into these deep peaks and troughs before they set.

Another factor to consider is the presence of “other” elements on the surface, such as any particles of dirt, water, or even air. You should ensure that the surface of your item is clean and dry before you start applying your labels; if any other particles are present, an adhesive may attempt to bond with these particles instead of the surface of the item you are labelling. This can cause a weaker bond to form and may result in specific areas of your label not bonding with the surface, which can cause the label to peel up or fall off.

The Extra Factor(s)
Our labels are named “Self-Adhesive Labels” after the adhesives used to make them; “Self-Adhesive” or “Pressure Sensitive” adhesives are tacky in “normal” conditions, which means that they need only the pressure of a finger or hand to be applied – which in turn means that the pressure you use when applying these labels can also influence how well your labels adhere to a surface.

You should apply firm pressure evenly across the entirety of each label, checking for air bubbles as you go; applying your labels by working from one side to the other is the best way to deal with air bubbles and to ensure that the whole of the label has been smoothed down flat against the surface to provide the adhesive with the best possible chance of adhering firmly across the entire surface area available.

We would also point out that the efficiency of an adhesive is also reliant on how well you store your labels. You should make sure that your labels are stored in their original packaging, at room temperature in a dark secure place, so the adhesive cannot be affected by light, fluctuations in temperature, or exposure to other environmental factors, such as damp conditions.

TOP TIP: Request A Sample
If you have any concerns about how efficiently a particular label will adhere in your intended label application, we would highly recommend using our free sample service to request a sample of the product(s) you are interested in so you can test them out in the exact conditions and environment in which you need them to work. You can either fill in our online Request A Sample form or contact our Customer Service team for advice on choosing the right label for your requirements.

You can also view a full list of all the different types of adhesives we supply (along with a brief description of each) on our List Of Adhesives page.

Solve The Code! Aka A Guide To Label Planet’s Product Codes

Tuesday, April 19th, 2016

When it comes to the world of labels there are a lot of different codes floating around; from product and template codes through to manufacturing and supplier codes, it’s all too easy to get confused and wonder if you’ve got the right product and/or template, especially if you don’t know where a particular set of labels has come from.

Here at Label Planet, we like to make things as simple and straightforward for our customers as possible, which is why we set up all of our product and template codes according to a set pattern that never changes – and we always begin that pattern with “LP”, for Label Planet, so you always know when a code is one of ours.

So how do our Product (and Template) Codes work? Like this:

LP + No. of Labels Per Sheet + / + Label Width + Label Shape* + Label Material*

* A Label Shape indicator is not included for rectangles with rounded corners or square cut rectangles without a selvedge, and a Label Material indicator is not included for matt white paper labels with a permanent adhesive.

With our product codes you know where the labels have come from along with the most important features of that particular product, including how many labels are on a sheet, the width and shape of the labels, and the materials used to make those labels.

For example, if you see product code LP4/90OV MWP you know that there are four oval labels per sheet, with a width of 90mm, and made of matt white polyester!

We’ve even extended this simple way of thinking to our template codes; the template code you need to use will be named according to the first part of the product code of the labels you are trying to print (i.e. the LPXX/XX part). This is because the same template can be used to print a range of different products that are made of a variety of materials but share the same label size and layout.

For example, our LP2/115R template can be used to print ALL of these products:
LP2/115R (matt white paper labels), LP2/115R REM (matt white paper labels with a removable adhesive), LP2/115R C (coloured paper labels), and LP2/115R FC (fluorescent paper labels).

To further help our customers, we’ve also done extensive work to cross reference our codes with those used by other manufacturers and suppliers – and especially those used by Avery. Where our labels are compatible (i.e. use the same label size and layout) with an Avery product (or indeed products) we will list the relevant Avery code(s) along with our own product code. This means that you can use the Avery templates built in to a variety of software (including Word) to print our labels.

You can find a complete list of our Avery compatible products on our Labels With Compatible Avery Codes page OR you can use our List Of Avery Codes to see if we’ve got a product that matches the Avery code you’ve got to hand.

Splashproof VS Waterproof; Picking A Label That Won’t Be Put Off By April Showers

Thursday, April 14th, 2016

With the familiar phrase “April Showers” bounding about once more, we’ve been inspired to take a closer look at label products that won’t be put off by a bit of water!

We have two categories of labels that can survive exposure to water: “Waterproof” and “Splashproof” labels.

While our waterproof labels offer complete protection against exposure to (or even submersion in) water, our splashproof labels are an alternative option that provides a compromise between the full protection of waterproof labels and the complete lack of protection afforded by standard paper labels.

Our waterproof labels are made with a polyester or polyethylene face material and a waterproof adhesive. In the case of our Matt White Polyester (MWP) and Matt White Polyethylene (MWPE) labels, the adhesive used meets the BS5609 part 2 standard for marine immersion, which makes it ideal for use outdoors or in marine conditions where it may be completely submerged in water (in order to qualify for this standard, the adhesive must survive for three months in salt water).

Our waterproof adhesives are available in a variety of material options including matt or gloss finishes, white or transparent materials, and permanent or removable adhesives – so you should be able to find a waterproof label to suit your application, whether you simply need a label that can survive a more challenging environment or you’re after a decorative label that won’t be damaged if it gets wet. While our waterproof labels prove popular for a variety of applications, they’re especially popular for use on items that are to be stored or used outdoors (for example; sporting equipment or products sold in garden centres) or as product labels for items that are used indoors but may be exposed to water during use (for example; food and drink products used in kitchens, or cosmetics used in bathrooms).

However, some customers find that these labels aren’t quite what they’re looking for or that the more expensive materials push these labels out of their budget. As an alternative, we have two paper products that we categorise as “splashproof” labels: Gloss White Paper (GW) and Semi-Gloss White Paper (SG) labels. Both of these labels have gloss coatings that provide a degree of protection against water and dirt; if these labels get slightly dirty or are splashed lightly with water, they can be wiped clean and dry with no damage done. However, as they are still paper labels, they are not completely waterproof and will be damaged by exposure to (or indeed submersion in) a lot of water. If you need labels that offer SOME protection as a “just in case” measure, then these labels should do the job well enough.

It is important to note that all of our waterproof and splashproof labels are for use with laser printers ONLY (or handwriting); laser printers use heat and pressure to bond a dry powder called toner onto the surface being printed, which creates waterproof print. Inkjet printers, however, tend to use water-based inks, which means that if the print gets wet it will run and smudge.

As a quick-fire guide to our waterproof labels, you can use the table below to view all of the options available; these are listed from the most expensive to the least expensive to help you find a waterproof label that will work for you AND fit into your budget. For more detailed information about these products, visit our Waterproof Labels page.

Product Adhesive Face Material Waterproof Or Splashproof
SMP Permanent Silver Matt Metallic Polyester Waterproof
GWP Permanent Gloss White Polyester Waterproof
MTP Permanent Matt Transparent Polyester Waterproof
MWP Permanent (Marine) Matt White Polyester Waterproof
MWR Removable Matt White Polyester Waterproof
GTP Permanent Gloss Transparent Polyester Waterproof
GTR Removable Gloss Transparent Polyester Waterproof
MWPE Permanent (Marine) Matt White Polyethylene Waterproof
SG Permanent Semi-Gloss White Paper Splashproof
GW Permanent Gloss White Paper Splashproof

Planning Ahead – How To Store Your Labels Safely For Future Use

Tuesday, April 12th, 2016

While we endeavour to make our products available for both a speedy despatch and delivery, we know that sometimes it’s more practical (and financially wise) to purchase a larger amount of labels that you can store and dip into as and when you need them – rather than using up all of your labels in one go and having to wait for your next order to arrive.

Our pricing system actually works in our customers’ favour if they choose to do this; ordering in bulk means that you can get a lower cost per unit price than if you order smaller quantities more frequently.

However, if you do want to create a stockpile of labels for future use, you do have make sure that you store them properly to avoid reducing the efficacy of the labels that you’ve got in stock. The main concern is making sure that your labels are stored in a neutral, constant environment.

Adhesives can be affected by a number of environmental factors (especially extremes of or fluctuations in temperature); if these environmental factors cause any sort of change in the adhesive, then the labels may not adhere properly (or at all) when you come to use them. Likewise, the face material of your labels can also suffer if exposed to extreme or fluctuating environments, which can cause problems with the quality of print that you can achieve.

With this in mind, here’s our advice for storing your labels away safely, so they’ll be perfectly fine for future use:

  • Maintain a constant neutral temperature
    The most common cause of adhesives degrading in quality is exposure to extreme or fluctuating temperatures. Temperature is one of four factors that determine how well a label adheres to a surface (along with the strength of the adhesive used, the length of time the label has been applied for, and the characteristics of the surface). Any exposure to high or low temperatures while your labels are in storage could alter the adhesive (preventing it from working properly) or even start the process of adhesion (causing the adhesive to set before you’ve had chance to use the labels).Excessive or fluctuating heat can also cause problems for the face material of your labels – especially when dealing with paper laser labels. Paper labels made specifically for use with laser printers have higher moisture content to ensure that the paper survives the printing process (where heat and pressure are used to bond toner to the surface); exposure to heat can reduce the moisture content of your labels, which can prevent toner from bonding fully in place, leaving your print to crack and flake away.If you know that the “room temperature” of your environment is actually higher or lower than a generic “room temperature” you should try to find a suitable alternative. We also recommend taking into consideration any objects that might cause temporary fluctuations in temperature that you might not otherwise notice; for example, labels often end up being stored next to printers and/or computers, which can generate a lot of heat while they are in use. You should also take into consideration any fluctuations that may result from exposure to an air conditioning unit or fan heaters and radiators.
  • Avoid exposure to light
    We also find that exposure to light can have a detrimental effect on both the face materials and adhesives used to make labels (regardless of whether it’s natural sunlight or an artificial light source). While light will usually do most damage to the face material (usually by causing discolouration or fading), it can also cause problems with your adhesive – especially if the light becomes an additional source of heat. Placing your labels in a dark place or simply placing a solid cover over your labels should help to prevent problems caused by exposure to light.
  • Protect your labels from exposure to damp conditions
    While it’s particularly true for labels made of paper, it’s a good idea to ensure that any labels stay clean and dry if you want them to be at their best when you come use them later on. Paper labels will be irreversibly damaged by exposure to water and other liquids, but there can be problems even if you’ve bought waterproof labels. While liquids can obviously damage the face material of your labels, they can also reduce the efficiency of the adhesive bond that forms when your labels are applied – if water is present when you apply a label, the adhesive may try to bond with the water instead of the surface being labelled, which reduces the surface area available and so weakens the bond that eventually forms (if any bond is formed at all).
  • Keep your labels in their original packaging
    It’s not a new concept and it’s repeated here for good reason. Keeping your labels in their original plastic packaging (and indeed the rest of the packaging if appropriate) provides your labels with a decent amount of protection from a variety of environmental factors, which will allow your labels to retain their original quality and efficiency while in storage.

Visit our Help Section for more advice and tips on printing your own labels.

Go Crazy For Colours – Why A Coloured Label Might Be The Perfect Pick For You

Thursday, April 7th, 2016

This week we’re all about coloured labels; many people don’t realise that there are so many different coloured label products available and often assume that they’ll need to make do with a white label or add colour using their printer.

The truth is that there are many, many, many different coloured label products on the market and all of them bring a whole heap of benefits to any label application that could do with a bit of colour:

Labels With A Perfectly Personal Finishing Touch
Whether you’re sending out cards or gifts to friends and family and want to use labels and tags that are completely unique to you or you’ve got a small business and you want to add a personal finishing touch to your correspondence or products, coloured labels are a lovely way to personalise your items.

Labels For A Bit of Added Decoration
If you want a label that’s just a bit brighter than plain white labels, coloured labels give you an instant burst of colour, whether you opt for a subtle pastel shade or go all out with a fancy fluorescent.

Labels For Building Your Brand
Colour is a simple way to help boost brand recognition; if your logo and/or branding features a particular colour very prominently, using and repeating that colour across your marketing materials, packaging, and general correspondence is a great way to build your brand identity.

Labels To Get Attention
A coloured background provides a perfect burst of colour to draw attention to your labels (and your items) to help them stand out from the crowd.

Labels For A Special Occasion
Coloured labels are a lovely way to decorate stationery items that you might need for a special occasion; from address labels on invitations to a special event, personalised place holders for tables at a big do, gift tags for extra special birthdays or anniversaries, or tags on wedding favours or mementoes.

Labels To Highlight Important Information
If you’re adding information that is of the utmost importance (for example, health and safety warnings, directions, or instructions for use), using a bright colour as the background is an excellent way to ensure that your information gets noticed.

Labels To Help You Get Organised
Colour coding is a brilliant tool when it comes to getting organised and coloured labels are a fantastic way to get everything under control; whether you’re trying to bring a little calm to the chaos of your home, trying to bring structure to your workplace (especially if your filing system is threatening to become completely unusable), taking or rotating your stock, or taking control with schedules and categories, coloured labels can help to save you a lot of time.

Coloured labels have both cosmetic and practical benefits; they instantly create a more decorative finish and can help save you a bit of money by avoiding the need to use up a lot of toner or ink to flood coat white labels with a coloured background.

Here at Label Planet, we know that choosing the right colour can be an important decision, which is why we’re more than happy to send out samples of our coloured labels so you can see them for yourself and get a better idea of which one is the best option for you. Request a sample by filling in our online Request Sample form or get in touch with our Customer Service Team.

We’ve also recently introduced some Assorted Colour Packs; these 25 sheet packs give you a mix of red, blue, green, and yellow labels in one of 20 sizes so if you want to mix things up a bit you’ve got plenty of choice!

You can view all of our Coloured Label products (along with more information about each product) on our Coloured Labels page.

Pastel Colours (Crimson Red, Orange-Red, Bright Yellow, Apple Green, Sky Blue, Pastel Pink, Cream)
Suitable for laser and inkjet printers and for handwriting; 20 sizes available in stocked packs of 25 sheets (same day despatch), 18 sizes available in stocked packs of 100 sheets (same day despatch), and 25 sizes available to order in boxes of 500 sheets (up to five working days for despatch).

Fluorescent Colours (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Magenta)
Suitable for laser printers and for handwriting; 8 sizes available in stocked packs of 25 sheets (same day despatch), 18 sizes available in stocked packs of 100 sheets (same day despatch), and 32 sizes available to order in boxes of 500 sheets (up to five working days for despatch).

Metallic Colours (Gold, Silver)
Suitable for laser printers and for handwriting; 9 sizes available in stocked packs of 25 sheets (same day despatch).

Brown Ribbed Kraft
Suitable for laser and inkjet printers and for handwriting; 9 sizes available in stocked packs of 25 sheets (same day despatch), and 35 sizes available to order in boxes of 500 sheets (up to five working days for despatch).

And Back Again! (Post-Easter Update)

Tuesday, April 5th, 2016

We’re open again after our extended Easter break.

We’ve been hard at work processing all of the orders, sample requests, and emails that we received over the break and we’re delighted to say that we’re pretty much up to date.

Orders placed over our Easter break were processed yesterday, with orders of stocked items being despatched by Royal Mail’s first class service (under 250 sheets) or next working day carrier (250+ sheets) and made to order items being processed for manufacture and/or despatch.

We’re working through the remainder of our orders, emails, and sample requests – so if you haven’t heard back from us yet, please don’t worry – we’ll be in touch as soon as we can. If you have any queries or concerns – whether you placed an order before or during our Easter break or you want to place an order now – please get in touch and our Customer Service team will be happy to help.