Sometimes we get requests for labels that are either really, really big or really, really small.
Here at Label Planet, we pride ourselves on the range of sizes that we are able to supply, HOWEVER, even we have to admit that it simply isn’t possible to offer EVERY possible size of label. We have chosen to specialise in A4 sheets of labels for laser and inkjet printers, which means that there are a few practical reasons that we don’t offer really, really big labels or really, really small labels.
As we’ve mentioned, we specialise in A4 sheets of labels, which means that the largest possible size we can offer is, inevitably, that of an A4 sheet – 210mm wide by 297mm wide. The rest of our BIG labels are all determined by the sizes that are created when an A4 sheet is divided into a specific number of labels.
So why can’t we do other big sizes?
WASTE: Big labels mean that only a few labels will fit onto each sheet and non-standard sizes will often result in a lot of “waste”; this refers to the material around and between the actual labels on a sheet that will NEVER be used and is therefore “wasted”. Manufacturers are keen to avoid waste as much as possible, which means that only those sizes with minimal waste will be manufactured as “standard” label products.
COST: Each label size (and layout) requires a die to be made and each product takes time to manufacture so the sizes that are most in demand will be made more regularly and in larger quantities.
Sizes that are non-standard ARE available; HOWEVER, they would need to be made as a bespoke item – meaning they would carry the cost of a new die AND the lead time of having both the die and the labels themselves made.
Here at Label Planet, we aim to supply the best possible range of sizes without compromising on the prices and efficient despatch and delivery service that we provide to customers – so while we specialise in providing the biggest possible range of STANDARD label sizes, we do NOT offer a bespoke service.
SPACE: There is also the unavoidable issue of space; while our lovely offices give us plenty of space, there simply isn’t room to hold stock of bigger label sizes that only a few people may eventually actually order.
Small labels share the same practical considerations of big labels – and they introduce a problem all of their own. At Label Planet, we avoid labels with measurements of less than 10mm and for one very good reason.
The majority of our labels will be printed – by customers, by design/printing companies on behalf of clients, or (indeed) by helpful friends or colleagues – and this means they have to be suitable for use in standard desktop printers.
So why does this cause problems for small labels?
Any material put through a printer travels by means of a number of sets of rollers, which it is pulled both through and around. Labels have the distinction of being multi-layered, which means there is the possibility of separation.
Labels are made up of a face material with a layer of adhesive and a backing sheet that “carries” the labels until they are removed in order to be applied. Ideally, the labels will stay on the backing sheet until they are removed – but there are certain circumstances that can prevent this from happening.
One such situation occurs when labels are pulled through (and, most critically, around) the rollers in a printer, which have a narrow diameter and therefore force the material to conform to a very pronounced curve.
All materials have a “memory”; when they are manipulated into a shape that differs from their original state, they will try to return to that original state. A sheet of paper, for example, when rolled up will try to uncurl when it is released.
The strength of this memory differs from material to material but, usually, it isn’t strong enough to cause problems. When a sheet of labels is manipulated around the rollers in a printer, however, if the memory of the face material overcomes all of the other forces acting on that sheet, the labels may separate from the backing sheet.
With larger labels, the surface area between the face material and the backing sheet generates enough attraction to hold the labels in place. With smaller labels, however, the memory of the face material is strong enough to overcome this contact attraction, which causes the labels to separate.