Picking the right material for your product’s label is crucial to your business. Read on to know how you should choose the correct label material.

A product label is the identity of a product. Every time you go shopping you have to check the label on every product to know the details from pricing to quantity. Choosing the right material for labels is essential because you would not want to pick a material that won’t stick properly and come off the product easily.

There is a range of different materials available in the market for you to select from. So how do you know which one would be the right choice? Here is where we step in. This article aims to be your guide for choosing the right label material for your product.

Click here to see different Inkjet labels for laser printers.

Different Types of Label Material

Before knowing how to choose a material for your product label, it is important to know the different types of label materials available.

  • Metalized, Clear, or White Polyester: It has a mirror-like finish with both matte and glossy surfaces. It usually comes with permanent adhesives and hence is mostly used for labels on products that are kept in air-conditioned rooms or for tool marketing.
  • Industrial Vinyl: Looking for the perfect label material for outdoor products? Being fade, UV, and chemical-resistant, industrial vinyl is an excellent label material. Also, it has great stretch properties, which makes it ideal to put on curved-shaped products.
  • Destructible Vinyl, Security, Tamper Proof: The one-stop solution for pharmaceutical products, warranty, safety, and law enforcement labels. They do not peel off in one piece and hence, are perfect for proprietary products.
  • Clear or White Polypropylene: They are solvent-resistant and inexpensive. They are flexible and can be used with different adhesives, depending on the method of application.
  • Static Cling Vinyl: They do not need adhesives and use static electricity instead for sticking on surfaces. They are used mostly for glass and metal surfaces.
  • Fluorescent and Foil Paper: They come in different colors and are most commonly used as safety or alerting labels. They use permanent adhesives.
  • Litho, Semi-Gloss, and High Gloss Paper: This is the material you want to use for printed labels. It can be used with both permanent and removable adhesives.
  • Thermal Paper: Often overlooked, thermal paper is crucial for applications like eftpos receipt rolls where durability against heat and humidity is essential. It also comes in various thicknesses to suit different printing needs.

So how do you pick the right label material? We have gathered some key factors that you should think about before picking any label material.

The Type of the Surface

One of the key things to consider when it comes to choosing label material is the type of container or surface the label is going to be put on. Labels have different types of adhesives that are compatible with only certain types of packing material. Types of adhesives include permanent adhesives, which are almost impossible to remove without damaging the packaging material, removable adhesives, that are intended for temporary use and leave almost zero residues when taken off, repositionable adhesives that can be reused multiple times, and temperature-specific adhesives, which are mainly used on baby wipes and makeup removing wipes.

For cardboard or uncoated paper packaging, you don’t have to worry about the label material as any of them will work just fine. Coated paper packaging, however, has a waxy surface, and temporary adhesives tend to come off them. For plastics, polyolefin labels are the best choice.

Hand or Machine?

Will you apply the label by hand or by a machine? Machines have an upper hand when it comes to label application because many manual problems can be avoided when the process is automatic. But if you are using your hand, make sure that the label is made of such a material that is easy to hold and will stick properly.


Where your products are stored or are taken to should be an important consideration while selecting label materials. A product kept indoors can have a stable environment, whereas one that is kept outdoors may be subject to harsh surroundings.

Freezer Labels

Freezer labels are exposed to a range of different exposures and hence their adhesion can be quite challenging. Different levels of humidity and frost can affect their adhesion. Use a laminated label if the product is likely to be exposed to cold temperatures.

High Temperatures

If your product is kept in warm conditions, then perhaps thermal transfer labels would be your best option. Avoid direct thermal labels as they are heat-sensitive and hence cannot be used if the product is kept in high temperatures.


Outdoor factors, such as UV radiation, can cause your label to detach, degrade, and fade. You can find multiple UV-resistant inked labels that will be your go-to option in this situation.

Resin ribbon labels are strong and have high wear and tear. This makes them withstand abrasion and resist chemical changes.

Contact with chemicals or even water can change your label. Chemicals like alcohol, bleach, etc. require strong material like resin ribbons, whereas direct thermal labels would work just fine for less harsh chemicals.

Types of Printing

Want to print logos or information on your label? Different labels are used for different types of printing, and this is another factor that will determine your label material choice.

Smudge-Proof Label for Barcoding

When your label contains a printed barcode, you want to make sure that the ink doesn’t smudge so that the barcode is clear and visible. Choosing a material that will fade and smudge will only result in customer dissatisfaction.


Exposure to UV and moisture can cause your label to fade. Industrial Vinyl labels are the best option if you want your label to be fade-proof.

Secondary Printing

If you want secondary printings on your label, make sure that the material and adhesive used are compatible with the printing system. This is important because not all printing systems work well with all kinds of label material.

Written by Hand

You may want to customize or write the labels by hand. In that case, you might want to look for a label material that will allow you the option to write on it both permanently or wipe it clean if necessary.

Read more here if you are looking for the best graphic design software to customize designs for your label?

Shape of Product

Your product can be flat or curved or unusually shaped. If it is not flat, the label to be used needs to be flexible so that it can stick properly to the product surface.

How long will your label last?

This depends on the environmental conditions surrounding the product as well as how it is handled. The type of label material will also determine how durable it will be. For example, thermal labels are long-lasting and can last long even in adverse conditions. But a direct thermal label will last a long time if kept in a stable environment.

A wrong label can surely cause a huge loss to your business. That is why choosing the right material for your label is imperative. Now you know how to pick the perfect label for your products that would not be heavy on your pocket yet make them shine.