On many occasions this year, I have been asked when to use synthetic labels or vinyl labels for your product labels. There is no right or wrong answer to this question. It is always best to request free samples and test these stocks on your bottles, tubes or other containers.
Before we can come up some suggestions or more accurately, expected outcomes, it is important to understand the characteristics of both synthetic labels and vinyl labels.
There are many different label material types for your product labels.
The most basic material is a paper label. These labels have a strong adhesive and are sufficient for many products. These include labels on packaging such as cardboard. Paper labels are not suitable if there is a chance that moisture or any liquids could seep under the labels. The adhesive on paper labels is not strong enough to cope with this. The addition of a laminate coating can provide some protection to the printing on the paper label but not for the level of adhesiveness.
The Advantages Of Synthetic Labels And Vinyl Labels
A synthetic stock is recommended for most product labels as the adhesion is stronger than paper labels. Because of the popularity of synthetic stocks, the price is much the same as for paper labels. There are several variations amongst synthetic labels. They are basically plastic labels with different strengths in adhesiveness. The two synthetic stocks we use most frequently are polyester (PE) and polypropylene (PP). These stocks are resistant to water and other liquids and are for medium term use.
The synthetic labels are commonly protected with a laminate coating. This protects the printing from being smudged or becoming illegible. Synthetic labels are commonly used for food and beverage labels and cosmetic labels. These products are kept for short to medium term use. The synthetic labels are water resistant so they are suitable for storing products in fridges and even on shampoo bottles in the shower.
Synthetic labels are not suitable for long term use. Recently, we were asked to print labels for use inside a vending machine. A synthetic label with a laminate would be quite sufficient in the short to medium term as the laminate coating would protect the printing from the constant exposure to ultra-violet light. However, vending machines will outlast the products in them so a vinyl label was preferred as some are rated to last five years.
Vinyl labels are a stronger form of plastic still and are difficult to tear and do not react to moisture. They are recommended for outdoor use and are waterproof since the vinyl does not absorb any moisture. You will always use vinyl labels for outdoor use such as bumper stickers and other products stored outside. The other advantage of vinyl labels is that they are more flexible than other synthetic or plastic labels. Hence, they can more easily be applied to difficult surfaces such as small tubes. Vinyl labels are suitable for lip balm tubes and other small tubes. They will also stick better to rougher surfaces and ridges such as may be found in square jars.
There are two important points to note about vinyl labels. They are more expensive than other synthetic labels so they should be only used when necessary, i.e. long term use or outdoor use. Generally, we recommend a vinyl label that is guaranteed to last for five years. It makes sense to use the highest grade of vinyl labels if going to the expense of using a vinyl material for your product labels.
The content in this blog is meant as a guide only. I urge you to test label materials under the conditions they will be exposed to before ordering your product labels. Also, I recommend you read my blog about the five ways to ensure your product labels actually stick to your product . The choice of stock is not the only factor in determining if your label will actually stick to your container over the duration of its use.