It’s Tricky Sticky Stuff | Label Adhesives, What You Should Know

It’s Tricky Sticky Stuff | Label Adhesives, What You Should Know

When you think about ordering self-stick labels for your product, which type of adhesive to use is probably not the first thing you think about. In most cases, design and artwork are the star of the show when it comes to your product labels. However, without the right label adhesive for your application, it may not have the staying power you need.

Types of Self-Stick Label Adhesives

Adhesive is just a fancy word for glue. And glue is glue, right? Not quite. There are many types of label adhesives, and not all will give you the result you desire.

In addition to your preferences, a lot depends on the surface you’ll be applying your labels to. Depending on the adhesive you choose, your labels can be repositionable or permanent. They can peel away cleanly, or removal can destroy the label.


What to Consider When Selecting a Label Adhesive

You might be surprised at the number of label adhesive options there are to choose from. The best one for your project will depend on a number of factors:

  • The surface your labels will adhere to: smooth or textured, rigid or flexible
  • The application conditions: hot, cold or moist
  • The storage conditions of the product: hot, cold, wet or dry conditions
  • The product itself: liquids or oils can dissolve certain adhesives
  • The shape of your packaging: tight curves and sharp edges can present a challenge

In addition, you’ll want to decide whether you prefer (in order of stickiness):

  • Repositionable/low tack/’post a note’ style
  • Removable (these generally become permanent a few days after application, but can be repositioned before the adhesive sets)
  • Permanent label adhesive
  • Freezer adhesives (to withstand extreme cold without peeling or cracking)
  • Aggressive/Ultra Permanent – for our most demanding applications


Rose City Label Knows Adhesives

It’s hard to convey decades of experience in a short blog post. To make things more complicated, not all label materials (paper, foil, clear, textured, etc.) are available with all adhesives. Additionally, our different printing methods can dictate specific adhesive requirements.  Give us a call; we’d be happy to discuss your specific application.

For over 80 years, we’ve been producing quality product labels for beverages, foods, personal care products and industrial applications. No two projects have the same goals, and we pride ourselves on finding the best solution for each client’s needs.

Tell us a bit about your product, how it’s stored and used. We know the right questions to ask so we can select the perfect label adhesive for your project. We can even provide you with free, no obligation samples to test on your specific product, just to be sure. Stick with us! (Sorry. We’ll try to keep the adhesive puns to a minimum.)

5 Steps to Find the Correct Label Technology

5 Steps to Find the Correct Label Technology

Theory and background are important, but now it is time to really begin printing your labels! You need to have the background work done – read more about that in a previous post by clicking here. Once you have laid the foundation and you have a solid brand, it is time to dive into the details of getting your perfect labels printed.  Follow the path laid out here, and you will be able to select the correct label technology for your project.

If you believe your new food, beverage, tool or gadget is really going to make people happy or improve their lives, you owe it to the world to get your product out there – don’t keep it to yourself. Go out and make it happen today.

  • How Complex and How Stable is Your Design?

If you have a full color or photographic design, then digital and conventional printing are both very good options.  If your design is more of a classic, simple layout, like a traditional wine label printed with one or two colors, then you will have a cost advantage with traditional press printing – more colors mean more cost on a traditional press.  How likely are you to revise your design on the next run?  If you aren’t in love with the design, this will lean you toward the digital production option because there are no setup fees and no penalties for changing the design on your future orders.  Simple design? Consider traditional press.  Very rough, unstable design? Lean toward digital printing.

  • How many labels can you commit to right now?

The more labels you buy, the cheaper they will be – this is true across all print platforms.  Sometimes it makes sense to select a fixed budget – ‘how many labels can I get for $700?’, but sometimes it makes more sense to base the quantity on your sales projections, or your batch quantity for production of your beer, wine, or peanut butter.  We never recommend buying more than a year’s supply of labels – buying more than this, generally, won’t lower your cost that much but it will add more risk of wasting labels – in case you move, change ingredients, or decide you want to give your labels a facelift.  Depending on the quantity you decide on, smaller quantities generally tend to favor digital production options.  The size of the label weighs on this decision too, but in most cases, 50-1000 labels should be printed on our Economy Digital platform, 1,000 to 10,000 labels belong in our Premium Digital department, and initial orders over 10,000 labels run best on our Traditional Press area.

  • Do you need metallic inks, perforation, special adhesive or other special operations?

Traditional press printing is still 70% of our business, despite the rapid growth of digital.  Because of this, we have many more material choices in the traditional press department – both label materials and adhesives.  We also have many, many more standard cutting dies available.  Metallic inks, inline embossing, perforation, top scoring, and many other special operations are ONLY available on the traditional press.  Finally, because the press is so much larger and faster, the very lowest cost labels will always be produced on the traditional printing press in almost all cases.

  • Do you want to add ‘bling’ like embossing or foil stamping?

Once you have decided on the primary printing technology, you get to look at the dessert menu.  What do you want to add onto the top of the beautiful label you just produced?  With our state of the art foil and embossing equipment, we can add a little extra ‘spice’ to any label – regardless of which press technology was used to print it.  Embossing and foil stamping make a label ‘pop’ and stand out on the shelf.  These secondary operations aren’t for everyone, and they aren’t cheap, but they do give a dimension to your product that you can’t get any other way.  Maybe you have a full line of food, beverage, or consumer products?  Consider embossing or foil stamping for your top tier product – the Private Reserve level – this will make it stand out, but still remain obviously recognizable as a part of your product family.

  • That’s It – Go Make it Happen!

Once we have the printing technology selected (Economy Digital, Premium Digital, or Traditional Press) and we have confirmed the need for secondary upgrades (adding the ‘bling’), we are ready to submit an order!  All orders are quoted and confirmed within 48 hours.  PDF proofs are sent back within 3 business days.  After PDF approval, typical lead time is about 7-9 working days.  That’s it!  Your product is ready to be released to the world – go out and make it happen.  If you believe your new food, beverage, tool or gadget is really going to make people happy or improve their lives, you owe it to the world to get your product out there – don’t keep it to yourself. Go out and make it happen today.

More questions?  No problem – we can help.  Follow this checklist and you will be on your way to making the right decisions, but don’t be afraid to ask for help along the way.  We do this every day, so we have many more ideas to help you launch your product with great success.

Design Thinking to Transform your Business

I was fortunate to attend a vendor summary in Ohio this week that included a presentation by Rob Wallace of Wallace Church – a world class branding agency in New York and San Francisco.

Rob spoke for about an hour about Design Thinking.  His points were very good, and worth sharing here.  Rob said that Design should be a mentality in your business.  We need to connect the dots in new ways, and not just rely on linear thinking and the accumulation of facts.  We can’t get by on just regurgitated facts – we have to think in new ways.  Design is a process, an action, a verb.  Here are the critical steps:

  • A> DEFINE – redesign the problem, don’t look for the easy, obvious, conventional solution – look at it in a new way
  • B> CREATE – make many options, try a new approach, don’t stop at a barely acceptable solution
  • C> REFINE – make rapid prototype and test heavily – let the market tell you  – improve and change often
  • D> EXECUTE – implement solutions that work – monitor success – follow through – make it happen

Learn more about Rob and his firm by clicking here.

While this isn’t directly related to labels or printing, it is a message that all businesses need to keep in their mind.  We want to be a solution provider, not just a print vendor.  Our goal is to help your business succeed – labels are just the main vehicle we use to accomplish this goal.  Call us today if we can help.

See us at Beer and Wine Fest

The Spring Beer & Wine Fest

will be open Fri & Sat, April 6-7, 2012, from Noon – 11 p.m. both days at the Oregon Convention Center, 777 NE Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd., Portland, OR.

If you go to the Spring Beer & Wine Fest, you’ll see Beer Labels printed at ROSE CITY LABEL. Here are a few great examples.  Help us support great beer in Oregon – and enjoy yourself at the same time.



Paper Recycling Update – we can do better!

A recent study found that the USA continues to lag behind Europe in paper recycling:

Paper recycling by country –

Germany – 67%

Japan – 52%

USA – 45%

Hopefully we can get to the 50% mark soon to ensure a sustainable future for our companies, our families and our world.  If you want to make your labels more sustainable, and have a lower impact on the environment with your packaging, call us today!  We have several innovative solutions to make your great labels even better.

Call us today!