Frequently Asked Questions
Concern? email us at sales@smartlabels.co.uk or call 01257 270200

Please check the questions below to help with sorting out any questions you have regarding labels or materials.

Thermal Specification

The print will start to fade after 6-9 months unless exposed to direct sunlight, in which case the print will fade much quicker.

The adhesive used is generally permanent acrylic but rubber based and peelable adhesive are available

The most durable material is polyester (PET).

They leave a VOID or chequered pattern behind on the product and the label cannot be used again.

Other types of material include card tag labels and specialist synthetics.

There are four ways your labels can be presented, either on rolls or fan-folded, sheets or cut single. Factors such as the quantity required, number of colours, and how the label is to be used will have a bearing on the most cost effective way to present.

Fan-folded labels will fold themselves into a stack when they exit the printer, avoiding the need for a rewinder.

Release Liner – The label is temporarily adhered to a release liner prior to use. Release liners are generally made of paper and have a coating of silicone for easy release of label.

Adhesive – Permanent, temporary, removable and repositional are just a few adhesives that will keep your label adhered to the surface. When choosing an adhesive, it is important to know the environment and the surface to which the label is to be adhered.

Material/Substrate – There are many materials/substrates to select from. Depending on your application and the environmental conditions your label is exposed to paper, vinyl, polyester, film, foil, or pvc, may be the right choice.

Artwork/Printing – Many technologies are used to get the print the artwork onto the label material/substrate. Each method has its advantages and disadvantages in terms of quality, durability and cost.

Laminate – There are many laminates available to add protection to a label. Depending on your application and the environmental conditions your label is exposed to polyester, UV or polycarbonate may be the right choice.

Start with an understanding of how the label will be used, the application.

1. Is this a product label, a parking permit, an asset tag?

2. Based on the application, what label stock will you need to meet your application needs: paper, vinyl, polyester.

3. What ink colours will you need to use, spot colours, CMYK, foil.

4. What special features do you need, laminate, special adhesive,

The main types of thermal transfer material are matt paper (vellum) and semi-gloss paper.

-20 to +80 Degrees C depending on label material.

Due to its high level of rigidity the material can come unstuck when applied to a curved surface.

Chemical labels and document labels where a long print life is required.

Polypropylene is lower cost than polyester material but not as hard or rigid, suitable for outdoor use and resistant to blood, oil and alcohol.

It is less rigid than polyester and polypropylene material and will adhere to curved surfaces e.g. laboratory vials.

The two types are VOID, Chainlink or Destructible label materials.

RGB refers to the primary colours of light, Red, Green and Blue, which are used in monitors, television screens, digital cameras and scanners. CMYK refers to the primary colours of pigment: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black. These are the inks used on the press in “4-color process printing”, commonly referred to as “full colour printing”. The combination of RGB light creates white, while the combination of CMYK inks creates black. Therefore, it is physically impossible for the printing press to exactly reproduce colours as we see them on our monitors. Many programs have the capability to convert the layout/images from the RGB colour space to the CMYK colour space. We request that you convert your colours from RGB to CMYK if your tools allow you to. By doing it yourself, you have maximum control over the results. You may notice a shift in colour when converting from RGB to CMYK. If you do not like the appearance in CMYK, we recommend that you make adjustments while working in CMYK (usually lightening). Generally, you should specify CMYK colour builds that look a little lighter than you want, since the dots of ink “fatten up” on press, giving you more pigment on paper than you see on your monitor. Be especially careful to keep backgrounds light if there is black or dark coloured text over it, so that the text remains readable.

Colour separations break down a colour graphic or into the four basic ink colours: cyan, magenta, yellow, and black (CMYK). Each single-colour layer is then printed separately, one on top of the other, to give the impression of infinite colours.

Halftone images are made up of a series of dots diamonds, squares, or lines in a specific pattern that simulate the look of a continuous tone image. Another term for half toning is dithering.

When the artwork for your label aligns any edge of the label with no white border, or blank space between the artwork and the edge of the label, you have a bleed.

Corner Radius is the measurement of the amount of curve a corner has, usually expressed in millimeters, the higher the corner radius, the more curve. The corner radius cannot be greater than half the dimension length.

Thermal Transfer Printing & Ribbons

Wax/resin ribbons provide good definition and smudge resistance, but limited scratch resistance.

You would mainly use semi-gloss or gloss paper but wax/resin can be used on some synthetic materials.

You get excellent definition, strong resistance to water and many chemicals and it has good scratch resistance.

You would mainly use synthetics with a thermal transfer coating, such as polyester, polypropylene and polyethylene.

Inside and outside wound for flat head and near edge printers.

Contact us at Smart Print for all your label enquiries
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