When you look at the simplicity of a self-adhesive label, it can perhaps be difficult to imagine the complexity of the specification required to deliver the perfect label. After all, isn’t it simply a paper cut out that is stuck to a roll of tape that is wound around a reel or produced onto sheets?

If only this was the case, our lives would be so much easier!

If we said that we have a choice of over 1300 stock cutters and a colour palette of inks that Michelangelo would give his right hand for, are you a little more intrigued to understand the process and the information we need to help produce the perfect label?

The perfect label brief can be broken down into the following stages of information gathering:

  • Size
  • No. of colours
  • Quantity
  • No. of types
  • Label use/substrate
  • Storage conditions
  • How the label will be applied
  • Budget and timescales
  • Delivery details
  • Artwork

Label size and orientation

Whilst we are able to produce most standard label sizes from one of the 1300 cutters we already have available, we can also provide bespoke shapes and sizes. There is an initial cost to manufacture bespoke cutters, so sometimes it is usually only economically viable to purchase these if the order volume is in excess of a few thousand labels to justify the cost or it is going to be a regular repeat order.

However, in general, there really is no limit to size as long as it will fit on the product, be visible and is economically viable to produce.

During our 30 years’ experience, you’ll be surprised at the number of times creative designers (who possibly do not understand the different printing processes) have generated artwork for labels only to find that the cost to print these is impractical and overkill for the products they relate too.

In addition to the points mentioned above, we also need to know how the labels need to be positioned on the reels – this information is critical if the labels are going to be machine applied.  The orientation can vary according to how the packaging to which it is being applied will run through the machine. Options include inside or outside wound and right, left, top or bottom edge leading off the reel. As you can see, lots of variables!

Label Colour

Once we know the size, we need to know the number of colours which will partly determine which printing press we will use to produce the labels. Again, this can affect production costs particularly if a small quantity of four colour process labels is required, albeit we also have digital printing technology to suit low volume/multiple types of labels.

Label Quantity

Label quantity can have a dramatic effect on pricing as the same amount of time goes into setting up a printing press to produce 500 labels as it does to produce 5,000,000 labels – hence why it is less expensive per 1,000 labels to print larger quantities. Quantity also affects the choice of printing press best suited for production.

Label Use & Storage

Sometimes we are not provided with this information but knowing this detail can help us to offer advice on more appropriate or cost effective solutions. It is especially important to know if products will be chilled or frozen so that the correct adhesive can be used to suit the application.

We also need to know of any additional requirements such as perforations if parts of a label will need to be torn off.

How the label will be applied

Application by hand or machine are the two options as to how a label will be applied to packaging. This will be determined by the type of packaging and whether this can be machine fed through applicators.

If labels are to be supplied on reels for machine application, we need to know the maximum reel outside diameter or number of labels per reel and core size.  This is critical to ensure the reels are not too big to fit on the applicator.

Budget and timescales

Knowing your budget and timescales that need to be met can also help us give advice on the best solution.

 Address details

We need to know the invoicing address and, if different, the delivery address so that we can ensure products are delivered to the correct location and also to enable our operations and accounts teams to act efficiently to meet your deadlines.


Finally we need artwork for the design to be printed. Whilst we can produce artwork, it is usually provided to us by our customers or their design agency. The format we prefer is a high resolution PDF. We always ask customers to sign off their artwork by means of a final PDF presented by us prior to production.  We can also produce wet proofs but this, of course, attracts additional costs

Can we help on your next self-adhesive label print project?

We hope this article has given you valuable insight into why we require and how we use the information you provide us. It really does help us to determine the best self-adhesive labelling solutions to meet your needs.

As a BRC approved company, we are proud of our commitment to delivering a high quality self-adhesive labelling service which we hope saves you time and money!

If you have a project in mind please get in touch – we’d be delighted to help you meet deadlines, create eye catching sales promotion labels or ensure products are displayed on shelves carrying correct information.