Paper Labels

There are so many options and factors to consider when it comes to paper labels, please see below for our guide to find out more.

  • What adhesive options are available?
  • The different types of finishes available
  • The format and layout of the labels
  • What is the backing paper or release liner?

Many different sizes of these labels are in stock. If you are looking for labels that are Avery Equivalent or want to find out what sizes and formats we have available from stock, browse on our web-shop or contact us for more information.

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Paper labels is a very generic term used for most standard self adhesive labels, over 85% of the labels supplied are derived from paper. However, there is a lot more to these labels than the few standard sizes that spring to mind. Below is four ways they can be categorised:

Paper Labels Explained

1. What adhesive options are available?

  • Permanent Adhesive – the purpose of this adhesive is so that the paper labels can be stuck on a product that won’t be removed. This is the most commonly used for packaging, shipping, manufacturing… anything that requires permanent identification.
  • Extra Permanent Adhesive (also known as hi-tack) – this is a high tack synthetic emulsion adhesive specially formulated for application to difficult surfaces.
  • Removable Adhesive – see more about this adhesive.
  • Freezer Adhesive – see more about freezer labels and the adhesive required.

It is worth noting that most paper labels are pressure sensitive. This means that pressure needs to be applied to the label once it has been stuck down to form a bond. In many cases, permanent adhesive takes time to cure.

There are some surfaces that often create challenges, these include cardboard boxes, plastic bags and plastic bottles.

  • Cardboard is often corrugated and has an uneven surface and loose fibres therefore there is less surface contact between the label and the product. In situations like this, high tack adhesive is required. Generally speaking, labels on rolls have a higher tack than those supplied in sheet format.
  • Plastic materials are made using silicone moulds and residue is sometimes left on the plastic. This causes a challenge when trying to stick labels to the product as silicone is a releasing agent and can’t be adhered to. This is often overcome by simply wiping the product with a cloth.

2. The different paper labels finishes available

  • Matt Uncoated – This is the most common finish for paper labels, they tend to be multipurpose e.g. Laser, Inkjet, Digital and Litho Printers.
  • Machine Coated Semi-Gloss – this finish is the most popular for digital printing as it has a slightly glossy surface which produces quality printing results.
  • Cast Coated Full Gloss – this is a high gloss finish for quality projects. These are mainly printed by laser methods however there is an inkjet material with glossy finish which is used for photo printing.
  • Coloured & Textured Finishes – See more about the available options here.

Paper Labels

3. What formats and layouts are available?

  • The first consideration is whether the labels are required on sheets or rolls.
  • Traditional printing such as litho methods, required the labels to be offset on an A4 sheet so the label has a minimum border of 11mm on 2 adjacent sides, this is often referred to as ‘grip and lay’.
  • Digital sheet printing requires labels to be central on the sheet as no grip is required. Some offset layouts can be used as long as the labels are more than 6mm from the edge of the sheet.
  • Where print is required to go to the edge of label, the labels should have a border (gutter) of at least 2mm all around it.
  • Bespoke layouts or shapes will require a custom-made cutter for both sheets and rolls unless the labels are laser cut.

4. Backing paper

  • To assist with printing labels, it is helpful if the backing paper is printed. This is especially the case with uncoated sheet material as it is difficult to distinguish between the two sides when printing. Most cheap labels have plain backing sheets.
  • There are different liners available, however they have very little impact on the label functionality.