How to Select a Label Supplier
A label is not just a label! Selecting the right label supplier for your product depends on your needs. The label is your brand, and it must perform throughout the life of the product, from production, through distribution, and after consumer purchase. Here are some areas to consider when creating your labels.
Volume – The type of printing process will have a significant impact on your supplier decision. Digital print works well for lower quantities, whereas flexographic print may be more cost-effective for higher volumes.
Material – There are many different types of label materials that serve both aesthetic and functional purposes. Your product may determine the type of material based on the product itself. For example, oils may require materials that resist adhesion failure and print degradation. Temperature and moisture can also affect adhesion, print, and label appearance. Sustainability efforts are a consideration as well.
Frequency of revisions - digital print allows for quick and easy graphic design revisions, whereas flexographic printing requires additional time and cost for printing plates.
Application – How the labels are applied, whether by hand or automated and in a dry or wet, hot or cold environment will impact the type of material and adhesive. If automated, it is important that the labels will run efficiently on the equipment. If considering automation, you may want to choose a supplier that offers labelling machine sales and/or leases. Some will even offer amortization arrangements to ease the burden of capital investment.
Handling and Storage - Products stored in refrigerated, freezer, and wet environments will require a specific type of material and adhesive. It is best to work with a supplier who has experience with your product type and how the product will be packaged, handled, and stored.
Label shape - suppliers may be able to offer a selection of common labels and shapes to save the cost of cutting dies.
Design - If label enhancements such as embossing and foil stamping are required, ensure the supplier has the experience and can produce to the design requirements. It is not unusual for printers to utilize a secondary supplier for these special applications.
Quality – Not only do you need to consider the print quality on the label but also the colour consistency from order to order. Suppliers should be able to explain how they ensure your labels will look the same every time you order.
Sustainability and Safety – Understanding how the package is handled in the distribution system and after consumer use is essential to select the type of material and adhesive. For example, for reusable bottles and containers, you may need tamper evident labels with a permanent adhesive or removable labels with a release adhesive.
Price – Suppliers have different types of printing presses and processes resulting in varying levels of pricing for similar labels. Ensure the price meets your budget, but remember this is your brand. The label must perform.
Lead-time - ensure the supplier meets the service requirements of the product. Consider time to make design revisions, lead-time for the labels, and raw material, etc.