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Choosing the Right Label Adhesive

Careful consideration of adhesive choice in package label design is an important factor in overall brand success.

January 2013 By Kim Hensley, Product Manager, MACtac
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Package labeling is a quickly evolving field that demands constant attention to shifting trends, competitor design decisions, and consumer preferences, as all of these factors can affect the sort of labeling attributes that the industry demands. As desires for increasingly advanced label properties drive research and development into new labeling technology, it is important for packaging designers and engineers to clearly understand the various aspects of package labeling well enough to recognize where a competitive advantage might reside.

Because of the diverse nature of packaging applications in various markets, from food and beverage packaging to health and beauty packaging, no one set of label properties will deliver the best performance and aesthetics in every case. Careful consideration should be made regarding every aspect of a labeling application to determine how to best balance functionality and visual appeal. It is important to consider more than just a label's facestock when choosing labeling materials.

While they may not often be consciously noticed by consumers, adhesives play a crucial role in label functionality, performance, and appearance. For this reason, this article will focus on some of the factors to consider when deciding what adhesive-coated label stock to use in your package labeling application, giving you the knowledge to make informed decisions and make products stand out subtly from competitors.

Know your application

As is the case with many products and components, not all offerings in the adhesives world are created equal. There are different adhesive formulations at different price points intended for different uses, making a thorough understanding of your application the most significant key to success in choosing an adhesive. In packaging applications, adhesive requirements can mainly be grouped into two categories: performance requirements and aesthetics requirements. Consider both of these for your application to be sure you are receiving not only a facestock that makes sense, but an adhesive that will deliver what you need as well.

Adhesive performance

One of the first things to consider from a labeling adhesive standpoint is application surface properties. Will the label be applied to a smooth surface or a textured surface? Depending on the composition of your product packaging, will an adhesive need to be conducive to use with low- or high-energy surfaces? With the rising prevalence of various plastics in packaging applications for food, beverage, healthcare, cosmetics, cleaning products, and more, it is important to know the chemical composition of the packaging to ensure an adhesive will stick to the package surface for an appropriate length of time. In addition to application surface properties, consider the shape of the packaging and related needs for conformability as well. In the case of a curved container, such as a lotion or shampoo bottle, conformability is important to avoid tunneling and to ensure label adhesion and longevity.

 

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