As you would probably expect from experts in the print and production of self adhesive labels, it is second nature for us to listen to our clients needs and immediately understand the best type of adhesive that is most suitable for their labelling project.

We pride ourselves on our consultative approach, so we thought it would be useful to explain the different types of self adhesive labels and why certain types of adhesives might be more preferable for certain applications.

These are the primary factors to consider when selecting the adhesive for a self adhesive label:

  • Storage environment
  • Label use and purpose
  • Effect on material label is being applied to

The choice of adhesive is vast. There are high tack adhesives, removable adhesives, acrylic and rubber based adhesives as well as specialist adhesives suitable for use in high and low temperatures. So, as you can hopefully appreciate, there is a great deal of science, knowledge and experience behind this decision based on the type of packaging, its purpose and the environment where the products on which the labels will be applied are going to be stored.


Usually we are instructed and work to a specification that has already been pre-determined by our customer in their design brief.  However, if we are being asked for advice or we have not completed a project before with a particular customer, we always try to send a material sample for testing prior to going into production of the full order.  This ensures that the label will fully meet the brief.

The main types of label are:

Permanent self adhesive labels

Permanent adhesive is the most common and least expensive type of adhesive. Without stating the obvious, these labels are made to be non-removable, and therefore once applied, they can only be removed using solvents, or if specifically applied to a surface that will allow removal. Consequently, any attempt to remove the label usually means it will be destroyed. Labels with permanent adhesive are generally only used on products where it is unlikely that the label will need to be removed and it is either necessary or acceptable for the label to remain in place. Examples include labels that provide health and safety guidance or operating instructions. Permanent labels are also suitable if the label will be disposed of because it is affixed to corrugated board or films used for outer packaging.

Semi Permanent self adhesive labels

Sometimes also called repositionable labels, semi-permanent labels initially behave like a removable label. This means than you can apply it where needed but will have the option to adjust it slightly if required. However,  after a few days the composition of the adhesive on a semi-permanent label changes and it will eventually set and permanently affix itself to the object.

Peelable / Removable self adhesive labels

Products such as giftware and paper based products such as report pads and greetings cards will initially need a label to show price codes, but it will need to be removable so the information is not visible when gifted to the recipient. Using peelable adhesives mean that the label will not easily fall off but the label can removed easily without leaving a residue on the surface to which the label has been applied.

A removable label means that the label can be removed from most surfaces. The adhesive stays on the label and the label will also stay intact. However, some surfaces do react differently and this is one of the reasons why we recommend material samples are used for testing performance.

Freezer self adhesive labels

Variations in both temperature and humidity can affect the adhesive and therefore storage environments have to be considered. Freezer self adhesive labels will withstand extreme temperatures and should not crack or become unstuck. Again, some surfaces do react differently and this is why we recommend material samples are used for testing performance. Equally, products that will be cooked in their packaging need to consider the effects of heat on the adhesive.

We hope this article has highlighted some examples of where different adhesives will be used based on the label according to storage, use and effect on the packaging to which it is applied.

If you need self-adhesive labels or over printing services to amend packaging details please email: or call our team on 0115 945 6065.