Step-by-Step Label Printing Process

Businesses need more than quality products to generate the desired sales. In most cases, compelling labels play a vital role in raising brand awareness and forming a loyal customer base. These pieces of paper — no matter how simple they appear — significantly influence the overall image of your product and brand.

Labeling is critical to increasing your product’s visibility, dependability, and market potential. It also aids in ensuring that you meet your sales expectations while adhering to multiple labeling requirements. This article will go through the label printing process, its definition, various methods, and step-by-step instructions.

What Is Label Printing?

Label printing is the technique of creating customized labels using different methods, including digital, flexographic, and wide-format printing. These methods produce varying results regarding the label’s look, feel, and purpose.

When designing high-quality product labels, you must first consider the consumers’ tastes. Take into account the demographics you want to target with your product labels: What are their preferences, dislikes, and product considerations? Then, create something that reflects the message you want to send to the customers. You can also hire a graphic artist and request mockups to ensure everything is consistent with your brand.

What Are the Different Label Printing Methods?

There are several methods to choose from, each with its applications. Here are some examples to help you decide which one is appropriate for your product and brand:

Digital Printing

Digital label printing, also known as “direct from file to print” or “direct from art to print,” involves sending images made with graphics software applications — such as Adobe Illustrator or InDesign — directly to a print machine. Then, the images are transferred or printed on a substrate without using plates or screens.

This method performs best in the following configurations:

  • Unique and complex designs
  • Process color, pictures, and vignettes
  • Small runs with intricate designs or ordinary spot color overlays
  • Small runs with different copy changes
  • Any size runs with many colors
  • Any design where variable serialization, barcodes, or personalization is required

Flexographic Printing

Flexographic printing, sometimes referred to as “flexo label printing” or “rotary relief printing,” transfers ink onto a substrate using soft, flexible plates. Then, the raised, inked image on the plates is printed onto the material with the printing press’ stations, each producing a single color. After adding the colors, you can further personalize your label with die cutting, sheeting, embossing, or perforating.

This printing type is a versatile technique that can be utilized in various labeling applications, including the following:

  • Prime product
  • Industrial
  • Tamper evident
  • Danger and caution
  • Barcode and serialized
  • Medical
  • Large Volumes

Wide-Format Printing

Wide-format printing, also known as “large-format” and “grand-format printing,” is used for printing images larger than the standard 8.5 in. by 11 in., with some accommodating up to 18 in. by 100 in. called plotters. This method initially used pens inside the printer to create the design on paper or vinyl, but it soon evolved into inkjet and lasers for faster and more efficient printing.

Here are a few examples of wide-format printing applications:

  • Large-scale labels
  • Blueprints
  • Car labels or Vehicle Wraps
  • Floor and window graphic
  • Banners, signs, and posters

How Are Labels Created?

Each label, whether simple or decorative, undergoes a process that results in a specific finished product. Here’s how to transform your design into a product label:

1. Getting the Material Ready

The first step in creating a label is obtaining the necessary material to print on, known as “facestock.” It acts as the primary substrate, with a liner beneath it from which the label is peeled. An adhesive layer is also underneath, attaching the label to the surface. Next, a coating is applied if extra protection or finish is required.

2. Printing the Label

The labels are printed with the design and other pertinent information. The process is primarily done on massive industrial printers that produce thousands or millions of labels per day. They are frequently printed directly onto the primary substrate. But, in some cases, other materials are used for printing and added to the facestock. You can use different methods — such as digital, flexographic, wide-format, thermal, or inkjet printing.

3. Cutting and Finishing

After printing, the labels are thoroughly inspected for quality before being cut or laminated. Finishing refers to all processes after printing, such as die-cutting, perforation, waste stripping, quality inspection, packaging, and delivery. Some manufacturers also use lamination, which adds a protective coating against shipping damage, moisture, UV radiation, or chemicals. Furthermore, labels are subjected to stringent quality regular checking to ensure that they adhere to the required standards and print quality in terms of dimensions, colors, and adhesive capacity.

4. Applying the Label to the Product

This procedure is frequently automated and carried out by label applicators, which can accurately cater to hundreds of items in minutes. Manual label application is feasible but not advisable due to time constraints and unreliable consistency.

Choose FOCUSales for Custom Printing Solutions

Since 2004, FOCUSales has been providing various products and print technologies to fulfill the increasing demands for custom applications. We can print labels for almost anything, from cosmetic products and food to consumer goods and automotive undercarriage.

FOCUSales is your one-stop shop for custom labels, folding cartons, shrink-sleeve labels, commercial printing, packaging solutions, and more! Contact us today for more information, and we will be delighted to assist you with your next project.

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