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Different types of labels used in packaging

Product labels play a crucial role in driving sales. These can capture the attention of shoppers and influence their first impression of a product. Labels also provide consumers with information about the product, such as its name, ingredients, weight, usage instructions, and manufacturer details.
There are many types of labels used in decorating product containers. In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the most popular ones and the types of products that utilize them.

Pressure-sensitive labels (PS labels)

A PS label is a self-adhesive label that requires pressure — no need for water, solvent, or heat — to get it to stick to a container. Pressure can be applied either by hand or using a labeling machine, such as the CTM 3600a-PA Printer Applicator and the Auto Labe Model 550 Semi-Automatic.
PS labels are the most common type of label — so much so that these are often what people imagine when they think of product labels. These labels are easy and affordable to produce and customize, as they’re usually printed digitally. They can also withstand heat, moisture, and other harsh environmental factors, so they are typically used on wine bottles, cosmetics, pharmaceutical products, and automotive parts, among others.

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Shrink sleeve labels

A shrink sleeve label is a plastic or polyester film that is slipped over a container and applied with heat to make it conform to the container’s shape. For small batches, heat is usually applied using a hand-held heat gun. But for large batches, containers are pre-loaded with the film and are then carried by a conveyor belt through a heat tunnel.
Shrink sleeve labels can be shrink-wrapped to cover every nook and cranny of containers, making them perfect for unconventionally shaped containers. And because the film can cover the container completely, shrink sleeve labels offer around 150% more packaging real estate than PS labels. You can fill this extra space with full-color, high-impact graphics for added branding. These design elements can make your product more recognizable, no matter how it is displayed on retail shelves or while in use by a customer. You could also use that space to display more product information or share a brand story that establishes an emotional connection with your target consumer.
Evidence even suggests that shrink sleeve labels can actually drive sales. A study by AC Nielsen revealed that early adopters and women were three times more willing to pay more for highly contoured bottles with shrink sleeve labels than those with plain labels.
What’s more, shrink sleeve labels are resistant to scuffing and moisture because their graphics are printed on the reverse side of the film. This makes them ideal for refrigerated bottled beverages, shampoo bottles, and household products.

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In-mold labels

In-mold labels are preprinted polypropylene (PP) labels that are molded onto a product container. To create an in-mold label, liquid PP is added to the container’s mold and blended with the label for curing until it takes the shape of the mold. As a result, in-mold labels look like they are part of the container rather than just pasted onto the surface of the container.
In-mold labels are more durable than other types of labels. They do not get scratched, wrinkled, or cracked. They are also resistant to humidity and fluctuating temperatures, so they can be used to label frozen and refrigerated products.
Another advantage of using in-mold labeling is its short production time because creating and decorating the container are done in a single step. However, in-mold labels can be expensive to produce, so they are best suited for items produced in large quantities, such as liquid laundry detergent bottles.

Direct thermal labels

Direct thermal labels are made of synthetically treated, heat-sensitive media that darkens when they pass under a warm printhead. To print an image onto a direct thermal label, you only need to apply heat — no need for ink, toner, or transfer ribbon — on the label. This makes direct thermal labels cost-effective and simple to produce.
However, these labels can only be used on products that are stored and used indoors. This is because exposure to high heat or strong sunlight can cause these labels to fade or even turn black, making their design and printed information indiscernible.
Direct thermal labeling is also used to produce clear-cut shipping labels, receipts, name tags, event tickets, and other items that are used only for a short time.

Thermal transfer labels

Thermal transfer labels use ribbon laminates that have resin, wax, or a mixture of the two substances on one side. These substances serve as the pigment that marks the material being printed on. The pigment is partially transferred from the laminate to the substrate by being selectively melted by a thermal print head. This print head has hundreds of minuscule discs that heat up and cool down almost instantaneously, allowing for designs, such as barcodes, to be formed. Thermal transfer labeling requires less heat than other heat-based labeling methods.
Companies choose thermal transfer labels because these labels are chemical-resistant and can last in extreme environments, such as those with high levels of radiation or moisture. Given their durability, thermal transfer labels are naturally more expensive than direct thermal labels.
Moreover, thermal transfer labels have a print quality that is highly regarded for their readability and “scanability,” making them perfect for products that need to display barcodes.
Still unsure which type of label to use for your product? Pro-Motion Industries is here to help. Our team of experts can provide professional advice on product decoration so that your labels will meet both your functional and budgetary needs.
Since 1994, we have been providing top-notch labeling services to businesses across all industries — and we can do the same for you. We utilize state-of-the-art equipment to produce long-lasting, high-quality labels that make your products stand out from retail shelves and drive sales.

Moreover, when you partner with us, you get to enjoy swift turnaround times, allowing you to quickly place your products in stores. Call us today at 856-809-0040 to get started. 

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