Packaging labels, QR codes prints, price tags and even custom brand labels are indispensable if you are running a business. For one, they ensure that your packages get to your customers, not their next-door neighbors. For another, they maintain harmony at work by helping the office newbie get correctly flavored lattes to the right colleagues. And so on.

Sticky tags are created for a myriad of functions, but remember that they are not there merely for convenience. From the marketing viewpoint, your label represents your business, so it is wise to let it do some of the talking for you.

When they say “do not judge a book by its cover,” sadly, the same does not apply to labels. It is often not just their message that matters; customers will also remember your products for their experience with your label adhesives.

  • Are they formulated to ensure that the right information reaches the clients?
  • Can they withstand water exposure when used on underwater tools?
  • Are clients complaining of getting sticky residue in their hands when they unbox your merchandise?
  • Do they create unpresentable, yellowing goo around your label’s borders?

Thoughtfully designed labels bring benefits to customers, no matter how small. They leave a good impression if they are also neatly fixed.

 

Your Label’s Purpose

Jack Ma is known for a handful of quotes that emphasize the importance of value-added service. Look at where the man is now.

“Past your promotional materials and sales representatives, labels are the next-line instruments you can count on to let your patrons know that you appreciate their business.”

Here are some of the things that you should put on your labels to get this message across:

  • Safety of the Item for Public Use

The FDA regulates most goods made for human and animal consumption, and the agency has strict labeling requirements.

Product information must include the ingredients, expiry date, and directions for proper use.

label for medical with drug facts, active ingedients and direction for use
Labels Should Include Basic Product Information

 

Also noteworthy is that the label stays long enough on the container to notify your customers of such details. This way, they will know if the commodity contains a potential allergen. If it is still safe for consumption when they open the package and if it is being used the right way.

Have you ever gargled highly concentrated mouthwash? Or washed a dry-clean-only fabric? The tag should forewarn your customers of such facts, or they will surely hound you with complaints.

  • Complete Directions for Proper Handling When It Is Hazardous

label with complete directions for proper handling of nutrition drug
Nutritional Labels

 

Remember when eating Tide Pods was a trend? Not sure how those kids missed the warnings, but cleaning products are usually corrosive. Oil-based paints are flammable. Pharmaceuticals can be poisonous when taken excessively.

These are commodities that we encounter every day. Yet, they are dangerous when improperly handled, or worse, when they get mixed up without identifiers.

Strong adhesive labels—with visible prints and able to withstand harsh chemicals—must be used on these items. Handling directions should be as detailed as possible.

  • If the Product is Fragile

fragile handle with care label on white background labeling products that are fragile with colored paper
Peelable Labels are appropriate for labeling dangerous products

 

Fragile objects can either be stiff like glass and electronic items, or soft like chiffon and silk. These goods need tags that can stay fastened until they reach the customers but can be easily removed before using. Neither should peelable labels leave adhesive residue behind, or they will render the products unappealing.

  • If People Can Afford Your Product

woman looking at product label at a grocery

Price tags used to be penned or typewritten on tiny white roll labels. Nowadays, barcodes and QR codes, which are more pleasing to the eye and enable faster checkouts, have replaced them in many parts of the world. An ideal price tag is legible and can remain attached to the item while it is on display. Consumers also prefer those that can be removed without leaving behind any adhesive remnants or destroying the surface to which they are attached.

  • If Your Product is a Brand New, Authentic Merchandise

A label may also be used as a seal. When such a sticker is broken or removed, it will let the customer know whether that package may have tampered. Sealing labels should be fairly robust, able to withstand transport, and some moisture. Still, consumers must also be able to remove them with little effort.

  • What’s Unique About Your Brand?

brand uniqueness by properly labeling shower gel bottles

You can, of course, promote your brand with the aid of sticky tags. Use artsy stickers to decorate your package. Coupons on labels give incentives to consumers to keep buying your products. You can also try to cater to the sticker-collecting crowd. For these, you may use permanent tags or reusable labels, depending on how you want to market your merchandise.

  • Are You Reachable—and Therefore, Accountable—if Anything Goes Wrong When Customers Use Your Product?

putting your contact number, email and address on brand label so customers can find you

This should be done, not just because it is required by law, but because client-focused establishments generally get larger market shares.

Putting the following on your label allows consumers to report any unforeseen side effects from using your products:

  1. customer care hotline,
  2. address, and
  3. email

That way, whenever customers want a refund or replacement, they would easily find your contact info.

This practice assures your customers that their safety is your priority, which can attract a more significant clientele.

Likewise, it also lets you know if you need to reformulate your product.

The label adhesives that you choose should ensure that your tag’s purpose is fulfilled, and your client-prioritizing message is delivered.

What Should Be the Parts of a Label?

 

what should be the parts of a label
Parts of Label Include a Facestock, Coating and a Backing Sheet

 

Most customers will probably appreciate only the frontal part of your label. Occasionally, however, you will encounter customers who fuss about everything, including the sticker adhesives that other people ordinarily don’t mind.

To spare your customer care crew from complaints that may arise from problematic labels, you might also pay attention to their tiniest details.

In this segment, we begin by identifying their essential parts.

1. Facestock

This is the frontal part, where you can unleash your artistic skills, present valuable information, or both.

Most labels have facestock made of paper, but it can also be fashioned from latex rubber, nonwoven fiber, plastic polymers, metal foil, and others. The facestock can be treated in various ways to improve tag durability, legibility, and visual appeal.

A unique form of facestock is the “lablet,” or combined label and leaflet, which appears in fold-out tags. Lablets are typically made for the consumers’ benefit. They contain details regarding potentially hazardous products that are too vital to lose. Commodities that commonly use this label type include human and animal drugs and agricultural chemicals.

2. Adhesive coat

Modern labels are self-attaching, which means that they can stick to surfaces even without applying glue or other bonding agents separately.

Label adhesives are activated by pressure, and they can either be permanent or removable. This sticky layer is placed behind the facestock, fastening it to the product or its container. Adhesive durability varies depending on the purpose for which the tag is made.

The label adhesive must be carefully chosen as it can enrich or spoil the customers’ experience with your tags. Too tacky may cause the sticker to tear, along with your product logo, or leave behind an unsightly, germ-attracting residue.

If the merchandise happens to be a fragile fabric, label removal may rip it when the bonding material is too tough.

On the other hand, an adhesive that is too loose may lead to the exposure of ugly, dust-collecting tag edges or total detachment before the product reaches the consumer. Finding the appropriate adhesive to go along with an eye-catching, professional-looking facestock is a marketing strategy that is worth exploring.

3. Backing sheet

Label adhesives are covered with backing sheets to prevent them from inadvertently attaching to just any surface or losing their potency. This layer has two parts. One is the liner, a paper, or a plastic component that covers the adhesive. The other is the release coat; a chemical applied to let the label adhesive separate cleanly from the liner.

Void stickers have specially made backing sheets for enhanced security. When the sticker is unpeeled, it leaves behind an entire surface filled with the word “VOID,” which could mean that the package has been tampered with. These stickers protect consumers from using possibly damaged goods.

A Short Guide for Choosing Adhesives

The choice of facestock is highly essential, but many elements determine it, so it will be discussed separately in this blog (leads to another blog). Here, we will tackle the different factors to consider when selecting label adhesives.

1. Purpose of the tag

Informative labels generally need to be fixed firmly, so they require hard-setting adhesives. Exceptions to this are price tags, markers for fragile materials, and promotional stickers. On the other hand, decorative, collectible, and sealing labels may be permanent or removable.

2. Surface of attachment

The texture and porosity of the attachment surface affect label bonding. Tags adhere more strongly to smooth surfaces than those that are rough or porous. The robustness of the material that is about to be labeled should also be considered. More durable adhesives may be applied to sturdy materials, such as metal, thick plastic, and laminated wood. However, delicate items need labels that can be removed with only a slight pull.

3. Facestock material

Paper labels can either be informative or decorative. Adhesive strength, therefore, depends on the tag’s purpose. Facestock types for industrial use, like foil and plastic, routinely require tough-setting bonding agents.

4. Tag size

Bigger tags require more pressure and longer application time. Labeling immense product volumes may thus need machines for efficiency. Large stickers are also more likely to leave behind a residue or break apart when they need to be removed.

Size also influences product presentation. Tags cannot be too large or too small, or they will render an awkward-looking commodity. Remember that social media is not kind to poorly packaged merchandise.

Lastly, size determines the price for making labels. Larger ones, which require more facestock and bonding materials, are typically pricier than those that are smaller.

5. Label shape

Tags with sharp corners come off more easily than those with rounded edges unless a more durable adhesive is used. Partially unpeeled stickers render packages unattractive, and the items they contain may be assumed to be tampered with. Remember that labels help engage your customers’ interest in your products. So, regardless of their shape, it is vital to keep them intact before the sale.

6. Physical and chemical exposures

Objects designed for industrial or outdoor use are exposed to harsh weather conditions, extreme temperatures, chemical exposure, and radiation. Their labels and adhesives must, therefore, be able to endure these elements. By comparison, delicate items require removable or softer-setting bonding materials.

7. Life span

The tag’s function best determines its duration. For example, direct thermal labels, which can remain legible for 6-12 months, are sufficient for price-tagging perishables. Therefore, direct thermal labels need only soft-setting adhesives. In contrast, the more durable foil labels that rely on hard-setting bonding agents, are used on fire extinguishers.

8. Regulatory standards

Label adhesives for food, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and other household items must meet FDA safety regulations. As mentioned earlier, strict standards exist for products intended for human and animal use. Compliance with such guidelines ensures consumer safety and also protects your establishment’s integrity.

9. Environmental effects

Eco-friendly adhesives include low on volatile organic compounds, water-based agents, and plant-derived types. Many such bonding substances are also budget-friendly. Environmental consciousness is a plus factor in marketing, so it is best to use labeling materials that enable you to protect Mother Earth whenever you can.

10. Price

The cost of labeling is critical as it adds to the price that consumers pay for your product. For example, removable labels are generally more expensive than permanent ones. As a second example, sheet labels are cheaper than their chemically treated heat-sensitive counterparts. However, using the latter is more cost-effective for high-demand users. Lastly, as previously mentioned, the size of your tag affects its final price.

How Sticky Should Your Sticker Be?

Now that you have a set of criteria for choosing your label adhesive, you can decide which type you want to use.

Bonding agents can simply be classified as either “hard-set” or “soft-set,” depending on how strongly they attach the facestock to the surface.

Hard-set labels are more challenging to unpeel than soft-set ones. However, most commercial labels fall in between these two categories, with some even having unique properties depending on their purpose.

  • Permanent Adhesive Labels

These tags are the hardest-setting types, suitable for industrial and outdoor use. Car stickers, engine labels, and gardening tool tags are some examples. Some variants can be affixed on the surface as soon as they are applied. In contrast, others may need a few minutes to form a stronger bond, during which they can still be repositioned.

Permanent adhesive labels do not detach without damaging the facestock or the object they are fastened to. Most may need an organic solvent for removal.

  • Marine-suitable Tags

marine suitable tags

These stickers comprise:

  1. A special kind of permanent adhesive labels.
  2. Can withstand underwater environments for extremely long periods.
  3. They use plastic or metallic facestock.
  4. The adhesives they use are typically made of marine acrylic and polyurethane components with modern formulations that are both strong and environment-friendly.
  • Frost-fix Tags

frost fix tags
Cryogenic box storage

 

These labels remain attached to the surface at temperatures as low as -40 ºC. Hard-setting freezer-suitable adhesives are used on industrial equipment. On the other hand, softer-setting frost-fix bonding materials are more apt for non-industrial items, such as blood products, laboratory specimens, and food.

  • Heat-resistant Labels

heat resistant labels for bbq grill

These variants make use of adhesives that will not melt or decompose at very high temperatures. They are appropriate for scientific instruments, engineering equipment, baking tools, and many others. Heat-resistant tags are crucial to many laboratory tests in healthcare, academic research, and various industries. Some acrylates and inorganic adhesives are formulated to endure temperatures as high as 600ºC.

  • Removable Labels

These tags are used widely and also have variable degrees of fixation. Generally, though, they use softer-setting adhesives and can be peeled off without much force or applying an organic solvent. Once they come off, they can remain sticky, although to a lesser extent, and can still adhere to other surfaces. They may leave behind some residue. Some examples are price tags, barcodes, and election stickers.

  • Ultra-peelable Labels

Tags of this kind are specially made for fragile items, such as stationery, delicate fabric, and thin glass. They have a soft set, and once unpeeled, they do not leave behind any residue. They may lose their stickiness when they are removed from their attachment surfaces. Ultra-peelable labels do not damage the merchandise when they come off.

Conclusion

To summarize, sound business practices and sensible marketing strategies can be applied in the preparation of product labels. Sticky tags have many uses, and their purpose determines the kind of materials that they will require. Label adhesives are part of the customers’ experience with your tags. We have presented a basic guide for choosing label adhesives and the different types suitable for various commodities. Remember that designing tags for the customers’ benefit ensures your clientele’s safety, protects your company’s reputation, and increases the chances of repeat business.

References:

Atkinson, L. & Rosenthal, S. (2014). Signaling the Green Sell: The Influence of Eco-Label Source, Argument Specificity, and Product Involvement on Consumer Trust. Journal of Advertising, 43(1), 33-45. https://doi.org/10.1080/00913367.2013.834803.

Ismail, H., Ahmad, Z. & Yew, F. W. (2011). Effect of Monomer Composition on Adhesive Performance for Waterborne Acrylic Pressure-Sensitive Adhesives. Journal of Physical Science, 22(2), 51-63. http://web.usm.my/jps/22-2-11/22.2.4.pdf.

Jha, A., Donnelly, C. W., Upadhyay, A & Bunkar, D. S. (2014). Package Labeling. In Sahu, J. K. (Ed.), Introduction to Advanced Food Process Engineering (1st ed., pp. 388-391). Boca Raton, FL: Taylor and Francis Group.

Leitsch, E. K., Heath, W. H. & Torkelson J. M. (2016). Polyurethane/Polyhydroxyurethane Hybrid Polymers and their Applications as Adhesive Bonding Agents. International Journal of Adhesion and Adhesives, 64, 1-8. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijadhadh.2015.09.001.

Victorivna, B. V. & Sergiivna, C. A. (2015). Stickers as Effective Means of Advertising. Marketing and Management Innovation, 4, 34-40. http://www.irbis-nbuv.gov.ua/cgi-bin/irbis_nbuv/cgiirbis_64.exe?C21COM=2&I21DBN=UJRN&P21DBN=UJRN&IMAGE_FILE_DOWNLOAD=1&Image_file_name=PDF/Mimi_2015_4_5.pdf.

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