Below we've created a handy checklist to help guide you in picking the perfect label. We've also supplied this checklist as a pdf file for you to download/print out here.


Define the label’s required performance with the application checklist below. 

Machine Applied or Machine Imprinted – Begin by determining if the label will be machine applied or machine imprinted. If machine applied/imprinted, the following information is critical to meet the specifications of the application/imprinting equipment. 

  • Determine the width and length of the label on the roll. Get samples if possible. (More detailed information here)
  • Determine if labels are outwound or inwound and the corresponding rewind number. (More detailed information here)
  • What is the size of the core?
  • What is the maximum outside diameter of a roll?
  • What is the web width and gap between labels?
  • What are the slitting and splicing tolerances?
  • Is a leader required?

Barcode Label – If the label includes a barcode, these points should be addressed. (See basic barcode types here

  • What is the type of symbology being used?
  • What are the number of characters per inch?
  • What is the height of the barcode?
  • Identify and specify the check digit if one needs to be included.

Intended Use/Performance – Whether your labels are hand or machine applied, their intended use, the substrate the label is applied to and the environment all play an important role in it’s performance. Use this checklist to help define your label needs:

  • Are the labels imprinted? If so, how will they be imprinted?
  • Do the labels need to be permanent, removable or repositionable?
  • What is the expected life span of the labels after application? Less than one year? One to three years? More than three years? Is the expected lifespan inside or outside?
  • What surface will the label be applied to? Paper, metal, glass, wood, painted surfaces, corrugated box, plastic or shrink-wrap?
  • What is the shape and texture of the application surface? Smooth, rough, cylindrical, flat, curved, flexible or pebbled? What condition is the surface? Wet, dirty, dusty, or oily?
  • At what temperature will the labels be applied? Moderate temperature (40° to 80°F), a freezer (less than 32°F)? During the lifetime of the labels, what temperatures will they be exposed to? Estimate the minimum and maximum temperatures during application and the lifetime of the labels.
  • What harsh environments will the labels be exposed to? Will they be placed in ovens, freezers or microwaves? Exposed to direct sunlight, chemical baths, abrasives, petroleum products or chemical solvents?

Label Characteristics

Dimensions – Begin the process with an accurate label drawing. The drawing should describe all the physical characteristics of what is being made. This should include, but is not limited to, the width, length and corner radius of the label and may also include the position and diameter of interior cuts, orientation to the roll, or sheet. (More detailed information here)

Material – Carefully match requirements of label performance with known material performance characteristics. Some situations require testing to take place before materials can be chosen. (Please see the intended use/performance section of the checklist above for more information).

Copy – Write copy and design a layout for the words and images that will be printed on the label. If applicable, provide a number in the copy that can be referenced for future runs. The orientation of the copy to the label width, length and roll or sheet, is very important to the document. A PDF proof will be provided upon request. (More detailed information here)

Colors and Color Breaks – Verify colors that will be used with the copy and any images you are including on the label. PMS charts are the most common tools for labels manufactured conventionally and printed flexographically. All PMS books have colors printed on coated and/or uncoated stock. When choosing colors, it is important to understand the background color of the material being used to print on. PMS colors will look different when printed on label stocks such as films, fluorescents, and foils. Digital printing will not match PMS swatch books. PMS charts are to be used to reference a spectrum of desired colors when printing digitally.

Protective Coatings – A protective coating is recommended if your label is exposed to chemicals, moisture, extreme temperatures, or frequent contact by human hands. Protective coatings cannot protect color fading due to extended sunlight exposure, nor do they protect paper labels from moisture or other extreme weather conditions. Types of Protective Coatings include:

  • UV Clear Coat – When applied, this liquid coating gives your label a hard, glossy finish which helps resist fingerprints, surface moisture, and certain chemicals. Can be applied as a flood coat or over a selected portion if required.
  • Lamination – A protective film that is fused to the labels. Lamination can provide a high gloss finish with peak resistance to handling, abrasions and chemicals.

Want to make your label extra special? See our special capabilities here.