At Label Planet, we like to offer our customers the best possible variety of label options to choose from; in addition to providing as many label sizes as we can, we also like to offer those sizes in a range of materials (where possible), so that customers can find the perfect label for their particular application.
To find the perfect label, there are THREE main choices that you need to make – label size, adhesive, and material.
The first two are usually easier to deal with because they are the most strongly influenced by the practical requirements of your label application; you choose the size that fits and the adhesive that will allow your labels to stay in place (or come away) as needed.
For example, you HAVE to choose a label size that will fit neatly onto your items and that is big enough to hold all of the information or design work that you want to add. You also need to make sure that adhesive you choose is suitable for the surface type you are labelling (e.g. by choosing a stronger adhesive for curved surfaces and unusual materials), suitable for the environmental conditions of your application (e.g. by choosing a deep freeze adhesive for items that will be stored in a freezer), and suitable for the application in hand (e.g. by choosing a removal adhesive if you need temporary labels that won’t do any damage when they are removed).
When it comes to choosing the right material, however, it can be a bit more difficult – while there are some label applications with practical factors that will determine the type of material you can use (e.g. you will HAVE to choose one of our polyester or polyethylene materials if you want waterproof labels), it is much more likely that you will end up choosing the material that best fits your own personal preferences for what you want your labels to look like.
And this is where some of our customers get a bit stuck! So, we’ve put together a quick-fire guide to the different material choices that are available when you order labels from Label Planet to help you find the one for you!
Paper Or Polyester (Or Polyethylene)?
Paper is the most common material used to make labels and is likely to be the sort of label that you are most familiar with. Polyester and polyethylene are synthetic materials with a broader range of properties and characteristics than those offered by paper; the most obvious example is their durability, which allows them to last longer than paper labels and to cope with a much more varied set of conditions and environments than paper labels.
Benefits and Disadvantages of Paper Labels
As a material, paper is much more readily available than polyester and polyethylene, which means that it is much more likely that your chosen paper labels will be available for same day despatch from stock (in either packs of 25 sheets or boxes of 500 sheets). We are also able to offer a larger range of material options (including colours, gloss and matt finishes etc) compared to our range of synthetic labels and they tend to be more flexible when it comes to printer compatibility, with many of our paper labels being suitable for use with laser printers or inkjet printers. Finally, paper labels will always be the cheaper option if you need to work to a strict budget.
Benefits and Disadvantages of Polyester Labels & Polyethylene Labels
As we’ve mentioned, synthetic materials are much more durable than paper labels and have the particular benefit of being waterproof. They can be used in both indoor and outdoor environments, where they may be exposed to or immersed in water and are excellent for use as long lasting or tracking labels, where it is vitally important that the information on a label should remain completely legible and firmly in place for as long as possible, even if the item is moved around or handled a lot.
However, polyester and polyethylene are also more expensive materials than paper and are not available in as wide a range of label sizes as our paper labels; while the most popular sizes are available to order for same day despatch from stock in packs of 25 sheets, some sizes are only available as “made to order” items, which have a despatch estimate of up to five working days.
You also need to bear in mind the fact that the majority of our synthetic materials can ONLY be printed with a laser printer; if you need to use an inkjet printer, you will only be able to choose between Gloss Clear Polyester or Matt White Polyethylene.
Colour Or Transparent?
Using a coloured label or a transparent label is an instant way to make your labels (and items) more eye-catching and creative in appearance. Coloured labels give you a burst of colour as the background to your labels, while transparent labels are ideal if you need to add a label to an item made of a transparent material, that have a decorative surface that you don’t want to cover up, or if you want to create a dramatic “floating text” effect.
Benefits and Disadvantages of Coloured Labels
A quick and easy way to add a decorative touch to any item, coloured labels are the easiest way to make your labels stand out; you can use colour to draw attention to important information, match your company branding, or create a more decorative and creative finish to your items that is simply a bit more fun!
You should keep an eye on the printer compatibility of the coloured labels you are interested in; while our pastel coloured labels and brown Kraft labels can be printed with either an inkjet printer or a laser printer, our metallic labels and fluorescent labels can only be printed with a laser printer (although you can, quite happily, handwrite any of our coloured labels!).
Some of our coloured labels are available in packs of 25 sheets (for same day despatch from stock), while others will only be available as “made to order” items – with a minimum order quantity of 500 sheets. You may also need to think carefully if you want to mix and match sizes and colours; we cannot split a pack or box between two or more different sizes and/or colour BUT we may be able to offer you a better price if you get in touch with us and let us know what sizes and colours you need.
Benefits and Disadvantages of Transparent Labels
Transparent labels are a brilliant way to add a decorative finish to any item; they’re a really creative tool, especially if you need to label transparent items (such as glassware), want to create a “floating text” effect, want to avoid covering up existing designs on a surface, or to avoid the problem of colour matching your label to your items. For example, they’re extremely popular for use as address labels on wedding invitations, where the stationery and envelopes used to make these invitations are often highly decorative in nature (with colours chosen to match a specific theme or colour scheme or perhaps with a decorative textured surface for extra decoration) – and the last thing you want to do is to plaster a label all over your carefully chosen invitations.
Again, you may need to consider any budgetary restrictions that you have; all of our transparent labels are made of polyester, which as we have already mentioned is a more expensive material than paper.
Gloss Or Matt?
Gloss labels have a decorative bright and shiny finish, while matt labels have a “dull” non-shiny finish; generally, people choose the finish that best fits with the overall look or appearance that they are trying to create for their items. While you may choose to match your finishes (e.g. a matt label for a matt surface / a gloss label for a gloss surface), you could also use the opposite finish to help your labels stand out (e.g. a matt label on a gloss surface / a gloss label on a matt surface). We also offer a third finish as a compromise between the two in the form of a Semi-Gloss finish.
There aren’t really any major advantages or disadvantages of choosing one finish over the other because this choice is based much more firmly on your own personal preferences. The gloss materials do tend to be slightly more expensive than matt materials (due to the more specialised coatings that are used to create the high shine of a gloss finish). The paper gloss (for laser printers) and semi-gloss materials have an extra benefit because the coatings used to make these particular materials offer some limited protection against water, which means they can be wiped clean and dry if they are lightly splashed with water (which is why we refer to these products as “Splashproof”) – this makes them an ideal compromise if you need waterproof labels but cannot afford the fully waterproof solution offered by using polyester or polyethylene labels.
You can find complete lists of each “type” of material by using our “List Pages”:
All Label Materials / All Coloured Materials / All Transparent Materials / All Gloss Materials
Use the “View Products” links on these pages to find out more about each material, to see what label sizes are available in each material, or to place an order.