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What is a label?

It’s safe to say that they surround us. We can find them on food products and cosmetics. They are an inseparable element of electronic equipment. They play an important role in, among others, logistics, manufacturing or automotive industry. Very often, we do not pay the slightest attention to them, without even realizing how much we need them. Labels. Such inconspicuous information carriers, yet their occurring diversity and possibilities of use are huge.

What is a label? At first glance, the label seems to be just a simple sticker that is placed on products, cases or packaging to mark the goods and provide information. Regardless of whether this information is expressed using a bar code, RFID tag or written text, the label’s overriding goals are to guarantee a smooth flow of information, streamline operations, and eliminate errors.

Even though the stickers look quite inconspicuous, in reality they are much more complex structures. They are made of several separate layers, which are combined during the production process, to later peel off them from the liner (the lowest layer of the label) during labeling. Each layer that builds the label has a different function in its structure and has specific properties. The materials used to create the label layer will depend primarily on its purpose.

What does a label consist of?

Let’s take a look at the layers that make up the label making it work exactly as it should. What does the label consist of? The standard sticker consists of four layers, which are:

  1. protective coating,
  2. printed facestock,
  3. adhesive,
  4. liner which is the foundation for the mentioned layers.

The bottom of each sticker is the liner. It is made of silicone paper or covered with wax or silicone foil. The key feature of the material from which the liner is made is non-stick, which allows for safely peel off the label. What is the role of the liner in the label structure? First, the liner carries the layers of the sticker. Secondly, it is thanks to the primer that the adhesive is not damaged or contaminated. Additionally, it enables label to have a smooth feed through a printer.

The choice of adhesive depends on many factors, and its proper selection is extremely important. Even the most ingenious design or heat resistance of the sticker will be of no avail if the adhesive fails and the label does not remain where it should remain. The type of adhesive depends on the materials from which the other layers of the label were made, the chosen method of sticking and the intended purpose of the label.

The facestock is a visible layer of material, which is covered with a layer of glue on one side and a layer of print on the top. This is the layer that consumers see, and it is based on it that they often decide to buy a given product.

Last but not least, the protective coating not only protects the print against external influences. It also has an aesthetic function. Depending on the type of laminate or varnish used, our label can acquire a matte or elegant, stylish finish.

Producing an effective label – legible, aesthetic, eye-catching, and above all resistant to external factors – is not at all as simple as it may seem at first glance.

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