When people talk about labels, they are often referring to the type of material the
label is manufactured from, when in fact, label stock is comprised of many layers of
media, that when put together provide solutions to various types of substrates.
Simply put, label stock is the sum of the ingredients found within the labels layers.
The combination of layers produces different performance characteristics
depending on what types of ingredients are used and how the layers are put
together. As important as the label media itself is the carrier, which is generally
coated on one side with adhesive and printed on the other side. Coating not only
carries the adhesive but additional properties that allow the adhesive to stick to the
topcoat (the label) and release from the bottom layer (the carrier).
Most manufacturers concern themselves with the topcoat when determining what
type of label media to use. The topcoat is made from a variety of papers, plastics and
nylon blends. However, certain industries find themselves having to dive a little
deeper to find label stock solutions that meet very stringent standards. These
standards are often in place to maintain peak performance in production or to offer
solutions for extreme environments like chemical exposure or high temperatures.
In order to ensure your choosing label stock that suits your application and will
survive the manufacturing process or product lifecycle, you must first know what
types of stocks are available.
Common label stocks include:
A variety of papers and paperboards can be used as labels. Paper stock
material is manufactured in thin sheets from the pulp of wood or other fibrous
substances. Paper labels don’t last for long periods of time and are generally cost
effective making them a great solution for consumable products. The fiberous
material soaks up ink and offers brilliant color reproduction.
Nonwoven Fabric – This material offers extra durability and is manufactured in
sheet or web structures bonded together by entangling fiber or filament
mechanically, thermally, or chemically. They are flat, porous sheets that are made
directly from separate fibers or from molten plastic or plastic film. This label stock
can be printed on and cut to size. Nonwoven labels can offer a more ridged solution
with various levels of flexibility depending on the mil thickness of the film.
This lithographic stock with some added latex makes labels more water
resistant. An ideal solution for applications that require extreme flexibility and can
contour around curled objects
The most common alternative to paper label stock solutions. Plastic
stocks, also known as vinyl and PET film, offers strength, stiffness and
transparency. Known for being more resistant to tearing plastic label stock is
commonly used for applications that require UV cured coatings for printing
process or to produce durable labels that will be exposed to extreme sunlight
and/or high temperatures.
This material comes in a variety of colors. Commonly used for wine and
beverage labeling or label designs with distinct graphics that need to shine or
sparkle. Foil labels are extremely durable and resistant to high temperatures.
Foil label stock is a premium media than more common stocks primarily due its
multi step manufacturing process and unique visual benefits.