How to create labels that don’t deteriorate over time

Although a label might look great when it first comes out of the printer and is attached to a product, that crisp appearance can quickly go downhill if a poor-quality labeling technique is used. Labeling requirements vary significantly from business to business, with each needing a differing level of durability to fit the purpose of the packaging. For example, on a product that has a short shelf life and high turnover, such as fruit packaging or a drink bottle, the label will not need to withstand the test of time, whereas labels for more long-term purchases such as machinery and tools require long-lasting industrial-quality labels that can withstand extreme environments.

To decide on the best type of labels for your requirements, here are some of the key factors to consider during the production stage before contacting label printers:

  • Direct sunlight
    When a printed image is exposed to a bright, sunny day, the UV rays can break down the chemical bonds found in many common inks which results in a faded label design, bleaching the color completely over time. For labels that are going to be exposed to sunlight, extra steps need to be taken to ensure they can resist the UV rays and maintain their original pigmentation. Common methods for creating this protection include using a protective varnish to create a thin coating of clear silicon over the top of a label, or lamination to add a layer of plastic film which offers a more heavy-duty level of protection.
  • Moisture
    There is nothing more unprofessional than a label peeling off, folding at the edges, or cracking from drying out after contacting water. If a label is expected to come into contact with liquids, whether this be during refrigeration, being used outdoors, or stored in damp conditions, creating more heavy-duty labels will ensure they are designed to last. Many businesses fall into the trap of purchasing waterproof labels without realizing that the adhesive they choose may be enough to make it peel away. Using synthetic label materials paired with a water-resistant adhesive will ensure the label is attached to the packaging with a strong bond that can last for the duration of the product’s lifespan.
  • Strength
    Wear and tear is a common issue faced by manufacturers, seeing the quality of their product labels deteriorating after heavy use and handling. From dirty fingerprints and scratches during storage to peeling labels and discolored ink, brand image can quickly become affected if a good quality label is not used, since after all, the quality of the packaging reflects on the quality of the contents. Flexible film materials are a versatile option designed for products that are expected to experience plenty of wear and tear during use, maintaining their original appearance throughout. For an extra layer of safety against their surroundings, protective coatings create a further barrier against external frictions and threats without altering the look of the label itself.

Although requirements will vary depending on the nature of the product being labeled, considering the key factors above will help decide on a solution fit for the purpose. From industrial machinery needing heavy-duty labeling solutions to new food products needing to follow the FDA food labeling guide, expert label printers are on hand to advise on the best printing technique for your business.

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