Label Finish Basics – What you need to know!


When it comes to labels, be it whiskey bottle labels or jam jar labels, they can face all sorts of conditions that involve moisture, heat, extreme cold just to name a few. If your labels contain an innovative design, it’s also wise that you apply the right finish to allow your labels to continuing looking good for longer. We’ve put together some information about some of the popular label finishes, to help you choose the one you need with confidence.


While UV coatings cost more than other types of varnishes, they provide a super glossy look and can last longer. These coatings are special types of varnishes that are cured during printing, by exposing the varnishes to UV (ultraviolet) light. UV coating helps prevent the colours and images on your labels from fading so that your design can stand the test of time.


If you are looking for clear liquid coatings or want something that costs less than UV coatings and laminates, varnishes are great alternatives. A Varnish can be applied to the entire label or specific sections of your label to create interesting visual effects. The latter is called spot coating. You should also note that varnishes provide the least staying power. Some reasons to use varnishes on your labels: 1. It protects the ink from smearing, scuffing or letting environmental damages hurt your design; 2. It makes an unprintable surface printable by adding a coating that the ink jet or thermal printers can accept; 3. It creates a decorative look, making labels stand out on the shelf.


If you require a label finish that provides a heavier layer of protection, go for a laminate. These film-like materials are much more suited for labels that will be exposed to sunlight, abrasion and moisture. Depending on your individual needs, you can use laminates in matte, gloss or with other special durable properties.


Some customers do not use a finish on their labels because of budget or for aesthetic purposes. The result is a rougher texture on the label and the lack of sheen naturally creates a rustic look. However, it is highly recommended that you consider using a finish. Whether it is UV coating, varnish or laminate, product labels could really use that extra layer of protection to retain their quality when subjected to different elements. What’s more, the matte or glossy looks that can be achieved these days can add visual appeal as well.

So when looking at your labels consider the following:

– What conditions your custom labels will face.

– How do you want your labels to look and how long you need them to last.

– Next, focus on your product. Is it something that’s mostly used indoors or outdoors? From this, you can determine which label finish is best suited for that product.

There are many other finishes and embellishments available, the above are just some of the most popular. You can choose to add things like foil, embossing/debossing, matt/gloss finishes and many more, it really depends on what you would like your finished label to look like!

For everything else our experienced team at Label Tech can help you decide what finishes and features will really make your label stand out among those busy retail shelves. Give us a call on 01-8421700 to discuss your requirements today.

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