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Common problems to look out for with stickers & labels

This article contains the most common problems to watch out for when receiving your new batch of stickers or labels. We've been printing custom stickers & labels since 2006 and have made our fair share of mistakes. Over time we've developed processes & machines to avoid these problems. We've put this guide together, so you know what to look out for.

Dirt under the laminate

If your stickers or labels are laminated, watch out for small specs of dirt under the laminate layer. They can look like a tiny grain of sand or dust, or even be as large as a piece of hair!

If you see these, you'll know your print supplier has a dirty environment. This is not acceptable, and should you definitely demand a replacement.

Banding in the print

Incorrect calibration can cause a digital inkjet wide format printer to print banded. This means that there are lines throughout your print instead of a solid colour, making it look terrible. Like this:

Banding in digital print

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Mis-registered cutting

There are many ways to cut stickers and labels, and some are more accurate than others. One of the most important things is to ensure the cut is exact around the edge of the sticker.

This is called misregistered cutting. The cutting machine is not registering the cutline correctly. And if your cut is not near-perfect, the border can look uneven and ruin the effect of your label.

To avoid this, make sure not to include contours or borders around your design, but have the colours going to the edge. 

Too much ink

Some digital printers are susceptible to this problem - especially with orange & red inks.

Too much ink on the media causes an orange peel effect that impacts the appearance of the colour.

There is nothing you can do to combat this; you need to use a print supplier who has the latest technology and maintains their machines properly. 

If you do see that effect on your stickers or labels, ask for a replacement or your money back.

The wrong colours

Not getting the exact colour is a big problem. Two factors often cause this:

  1. Giving the wrong colour values in artwork

  2. The printer cannot print the required colour

When giving artwork to your printer, be sure to convert colours to CMYK and provide a Pantone reference or a physical sample for them to match.

To avoid the 2nd point, choose a colour that can be printed in CMYK. If not, suppliers will need to make spot colours for you or print in CMYKOVG.

This image shows the difference in colours we can see vs an RBG & CMYK colour spectrum.

Colour gamut cmyk to rgb

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You can learn more about the different colour gamuts and how we print your stickers and labels here.

Delamination

Delamination happens when the transparent, plastic film applied to the sticker to protect it, starts to separate from the printed media below. 

Delamination occurs for two main reasons:

  1. Not using the correct laminate. The glue isn't strong enough, so it starts to peel.

  2. Not degassing properly. Solvent inkjet printers need time for their ink to cure so the ink can 'gas-off' before being trapped beneath the laminate. This process can take 24-hours, and some print suppliers may not leave this time.

Curling

Curling of your sticker or label will happen when the tension of the laminated layer is different from the printed layer. One layer pulls the other & they curl. 

Labels can also curl because cheap backing paper can take on moisture, causing the paper to expand and curl.

You can learn more about making your stickers and labels last here.

Hard to peel your sticker

Sometimes you might try to peel your stickers and labels and instead of the sticker coming off, the backing is tearing. This happens when the cut of your stickers or labels is too deep, essentially cutting into the backing paper.

Again, this is the printing company's fault (the setting on their cutter has not been adjusted properly), so there is not much you can do to prevent this.

You are absolutely eligible for a full reprint or a refund if this happens.

These are the main issues that can occur when ordering stickers or labels. You should not accept anything that is not the highest quality possible. Be sure to check what equipment your printer of choice is using or even order custom samples to figure out if they are the right fit for you.

We understand that these things can happen in any business. This is why we have a money-back guarantee in place for you. If you are unhappy with your stickers and labels, please reach out to us and we will do our best to fix the issue at hand.