Find A Fitting Finish With Label Planet’s Guide To Matt Labels And Gloss Labels

Self adhesive labels come in many different finishes; in this post, we’ll take a look at the two most popular options – matt labels and gloss labels.

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Matt Labels And Gloss Labels – First Things First: Just What Is A “Finish”?

“Finish” refers to the surface properties of materials as determined by their appearance and texture. This may include the level of gloss and the smoothness of their surface. The finish of self adhesive labels tends to refer to the level of gloss.

A gloss finish is extremely efficient at reflecting light; it reflects light in a concentrated pattern over a smaller area, which results in a bright and shiny appearance. Matt surfaces diffuse (scatter) light causing it to spread out over a wide area, creating a flat and dull appearance.

Other finishes (such as semi-gloss, silk, and satin) are less efficient at reflecting light than a full gloss finish but more efficient than a matt finish.

Matt Labels And Gloss Labels – What Are The Benefits & Drawbacks Of Each Finish?

As with any property of materials, there are advantages and disadvantages to each type of finish. Some are practical considerations that will determine which finish is more suitable for your application. Others are more of a subjective factor, related to the look of your self adhesive labels.

Gloss Labels

This decorative finish is often popular because it offers more subtle decoration compared to, say, coloured labels. The bright and shiny surface creates an attractive and professional finish, which can draw attention to important information. Gloss labels have special coatings, which add extra beneficial properties. For example, coatings tend to create a smoother finish and can offer protective properties, resulting in tougher and more durable sticky labels. They may also offer limited protection from environmental elements such as moisture. While paper labels can never be fully waterproof, our gloss and semi-gloss paper labels are “splashproof” and can be wiped clean and dry if lightly splashed with water.

Matt Labels

Matt labels may not be as decorative as gloss labels but this can be a benefit. Their subtle flat finish allows additional print to be added onto matt surfaces without drawing attention to the fact that this has been done. Some matt labels (especially matt transparent labels) become almost invisible after application, making it seem as though your additional print is actually part of the labelled item. Matt labels tend to be uncoated (with a rougher surface), although additional coatings can improve the finish. They can also be made with waterproof materials to create waterproof matt labels suitable for outdoor (or indoor) use. A less reflective surface can also be beneficial when the print must be easy to read – by humans or by machines. Gloss labels may be harder to read when light sources reflect off the surface. Matt labels are a better option for barcode labels and QR code labels. While some readers do not rely on detecting fluctuating levels of reflected light, traditional optical scanners do. The reflective surface of gloss labels may prevent barcodes and QR codes scanning correctly. The (usually) rougher surface of matt labels is often more receptive to handwritten or drawn designs along with craft materials, such as foils and stamps.

So Which Finish Should I Choose?

Ultimately, the choice between matt labels and gloss labels is up to you. Generally, it depends on the appearance you want for your self adhesive labels (and your labelled items). If you don’t have any practical considerations to bear in mind (which might rule out one or other of the finishes), it really does just depend on the finish that you prefer.

Order Matt Labels AND Gloss Labels From Label Planet

Visit our List Of All Materials page to view all of our materials; the description includes the finish of each product. Our product pages also list the finish of each product.

As well as gloss and matt finishes, we also supply semi-gloss labels, our gold labels and silver labels have a satin finish, and our Kraft labels have a ribbed matt finish, which adds a subtle touch of pattern and texture.

We offer a free Sample Request service so you can take a look at our materials and decide which finish fits your labelling project best. Label templates are available to download from our Label Templates Home Page and our Help Section includes a variety of guides and tips on designing and printing self adhesive labels.

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