5 Label Debacles and How to Avoid Them
- They don’t fit. Size doesn’t matter in everything, but it sure matters in custom label application! Don’t just measure once, measure thrice and then double-check those specs. You don’t want a label that is too big and then wrinkles or creases or excessively overlaps itself and you don’t want one that’s too small and looks peculiar on the packaging. A good exercise is to cut out a piece of paper to the desired size and place it on the intended application to make sure it is an ideal fit. Keep in mind that the print industry still works in the imperial system so if your measurements are in metric, make sure you know the conversion so you’re on the same page as your printer. If you have a special housing or require a label with precise cutouts, you may want to start with a press proof before printing the whole order to make sure everything fits and lines up. Remember, with custom printing virtually any size or shape is possible so go with the best size to suit your unique application.
- They don’t stick. There is nothing more frustrating than a sticker that doesn’t stick! There are a lot of different adhesives with varying degrees of stick and some surfaces are more problematic than others to adhere to, so it’s best to start with samples. If you need a label for plastic, powdered metal or a rough, textured surface, mention this when requesting a quote. Certain plastics repel some glues and as a result, certain adhesives are specially formulated to stick to those troublesome materials. Sometimes stale glue is the culprit for lack of adhesion. It’s important to use your labels within a reasonable amount of time (which varies depending on the stock) and store them in a dry, cool location, because adhesive does go brittle over time. If your labels are brand new and aren’t sticking, contact your printer for a resolution.
- They don’t last. Sometimes people fail to envision the life journey of their label and a couple weeks into application realize that their sticker isn’t holding up to its task. Paper labels do not belong outside or in the shower, even with a lamination. A static cling window decal isn’t going to stick around very long on the exterior of a vehicle or building. A label that is going to encounter friction or abrasion, even in a pocket or purse, like a lip balm, should to be durable enough to last the extent of the product. Obviously, you cannot be expected to anticipate all the far-out situations a label can find itself in ("hey, these certificate seals get wrecked in the dishwasher!"), but it is wise to consider where your labels will be used, how long you want them to last, what elements will they be exposed to and so on. Discuss your application with your printer so they can help recommend a suitable material to fulfill your label’s life span.
- They are not the right color. Ah, color – it really is the spice of life. (Ever mix up cayenne and cinnamon in your baking?) Pause for a moment and think about all the different shades of green in a forest… now multiply all those shades you thought of by about a hundred and you might be getting close to the number of green hues in a Pantone book. Color is a critical component of design and branding, and continued consistency in custom printing is just as important. Here are three tips to avoid printed color surprises: 1. Know your PMS values 2. Never trust a computer monitor to display accurate color output 3. Discuss color with your printer so they can advise you of any concerns or recommend a specific print method or material.
- They don’t arrive in time. Nothing renders a label more useless than missing its sole opportunity to do its thing, or causes as much consternation as not having labels in time for an important event. No one wants to miss out on sales, delay launches or extend delivery timelines because your products are sitting there awkwardly bare awaiting their labels. Custom label printing takes time! Sure, some orders can ship within 24 hours but if you have a special occasion and want custom embossed seals for a special touch on your product or packaging, plan ahead. Avoid headaches, panic attacks and expensive fees by getting your label order in a couple weeks before you need them.