Anatomy of a Label

Facestock - refers to the actual label material whether it be paper, tag or synthetic and most come top coated. You may often hear or read it to be referred to as facestock or label media interchangeably.

Adhesive - is what makes the label adhere to your product. There are various types of adhesives:

  • permanent - strong bond after applied; it's impossible to remove without damaging or distorting the label to which it is applied. Choosing the right type requires considering amount of UV exposure, moisture levels, temperature ranges, substrate and surface material.

  • removable - for temporary labeling though heat can affect its bond's strength; but typically leaves behind little to no permanent adhesive.

  • repositionable - allows a label to be repositioned without damage to either the label or the substrate and freezer adhesive for cold freezin temperatures.

  • Next there's the chemistry of the label adhesive: Acrylic or Rubber Adhesive

    • Acrylic adhesives are synthetic and are created to stick to a wide spectrum of surfaces and have a good adhesion to polar surfaces such as metals, glass and polyesters. These adhesives are great for surfaces that will encounter wet, rigid and/or uncertain conditions, and they are noted for long-term bonding and UV resistance in outdoor applications. They may have higher initial costs but offer superior durability.

    • Rubber-based adhesives are widely used for short-term general purpose indoor applications because of their instant bonding to many non-polar, low surface energy materials, but they are a little less versatile. They are the most cost-effective of the two options, but if your product encounters humidity or extreme temperatures, this adhesive will break down over time. If the print head is too hot, the rubber-based adhesive may also ooze as it goes through the print head and cause a sticky mess inside the machine.

Label liners - (also referred to as backings, carriers or release liners) are required for die cut, butt cut die cut labels. The liners hold labels to feed them through thermal or direct thermal printers. The liners can be perforated to make label separation by hand easier.