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What is a custom label?

A custom label Is a piece of self-adhesive plastic or paper (or some other type of media) that comes on sheets or on rolls. Ordering custom labels means that you are in full control; you get to create and submit your own design and select your ideal material, shape and size.

Here are some beautiful examples:

Custom labels of various shapes and sizes printed on several materials applied to different products

Self-adhesive simply means that the material has glue on the back, allowing your labels to stick to almost any surface. This glue is typically referred to as a pressure-sensitive adhesive. All this means is that you activate the glue by applying pressure - just what you would expect from your custom labels.

Other types of glue that you might be aware of, are water activated (which is the type you get on the back of stamps) and 2-part epoxy, where you mix two components together. This is usually used for very strong super glues.

Custom labels vs custom stickers

A custom sticker and a custom label are very, very similar. In fact, when they are applied, you will not be able to differentiate them.

The only real difference is that sticker is usually supplied individually cut, like this:

Die cut glitter sticker applied to rose scented perfume bottle

Other than that, both can be used to brand your products, enhance your packaging, or be handed out to people and customers.

When to use custom labels over stickers

We always recommend using custom labels, either on sheets or on rolls, when you are applying the label yourself. For example, if you are applying labels to your own packaging or your own products.

Why? Because custom labels on sheets or rolls can be a real timesaver.

To help explain how important this is, we did a test of applying 1,000 stickers that were 3cm circles. It took 2 hours and 17 minutes when individually cut, but only 48 minutes when on a sticker sheet. That’s a massive saving of 1hr 29 minutes. Custom labels are 65% faster to apply!

But when should you choose custom labels printed onto sheets? And when are roll labels your best option?

Generally, getting a label on a sheet is better when you are applying the label yourself because they’re easy to store and transport.

However, if a machine is applying the label, such as in a bottling plant, then the best option is to get your labels on rolls.

This is easily the fastest way of applying labels because machines can work way quicker than humans and can do it all day and all night. This makes it the best if you’ve got hundreds of thousands of labels to apply.

Here is a labeling machine in action so that you can see how fast it is:

When to go for stickers

The best time to choose custom stickers instead of custom labels is if you are handing them out or selling them and therefore, someone else is going to be applying the sticker. 

Getting them cut individually means they’re easy to sell one by one and having them cut professionally by machine makes them look clean, crisp and pretty awesome.

There are different types of cuts you can have for stickers. You can get your sticker either kiss-cut or die-cut. If you don’t know what the differences go and check out our blog on what is the difference between a die-cut and a kiss-cut sticker.

How do I create custom labels?

The process of creating your own custom labels is an easy one. There are a few key steps.

  1. Create a design

  2. Find a supplier

  3. Choose your material

1. Create a design

This first stage is probably the most important because if you get this right, your end label will look awesome.

You do not have to be a design expert to create a professional product label. Instead, use our free-to-use online design tool Graphic, where you can create a design without any design experience.

There are thousands of pre-made designs you can choose from and customize to get your desired look. Or you can start from scratch.

Graphic looks like this:

Screenshot of label template in Graphic

If you don’t want to do it yourself or don’t have an eye for design, then it’s well worth paying a professional to create something for you. Fiverr is a great source of freelance designers. You can get some pretty awesome designs for a very low cost.

2. Find a supplier

Your next step is to find the right person to print your design for you.

The most important points to think about when choosing a supplier are:

  • Will they arrive in time

  • Is the print quality world-class

There are of course, many other points that you can consider, but we won’t cover them all here to avoid this article becoming too long!

Will they arrive in time

This is a pretty simple one to understand. Just look at how long they take to ship, and if it arrives before you need them, then they’re in the running. 

The reason we mention this point is that it's easy to get caught out. When buying custom products, it can take longer than you think to make them, as the product has to be essentially made from scratch. So try to order with some time to spare.

Is the print quality world-class

As with anything, there are many different ways to print and many different printers to print with. 

Some are better and more expensive than others and can print incredible quality. So before you choose your supplier, have a look at how they print stickers and labels to make sure that the quality is good enough. 

At Sticker it, we print using an HP indigo 6K. This is the world's best digital printer for stickers and labels, which means you’re guaranteed to get the best quality available anywhere in the world.

To read more about this print technology, see our blog, "The world's best digital printer: What it is and why it matters"

Choose your material

The surface and product you will stick your custom labels to will influence the material your labels should be made from.

For example, if you have a very short-term application, such as a label for an event, you’ll probably want to opt for an environmentally friendly, compostable option such as our eco-friendly white labels. 

These are plastic free and will completely compost in just a few months, which means that they have much less of an impact on the environment.

However, if you need a label for sticking to a shampoo bottle or something that will either get wet or needs to last a long time, plastic labels are really your only, and best, option.

There are many different colours to choose from, such as; white labels, clear labels, holographic labels, glitter labels, and others. Each of these different colored materials can be used to create stunning effects that will make your product stand out.

Here are some cool examples to show you just what can be achieved using these different colored materials:

Custom labels of various shapes and sizes printed on several effect materials applied to four different products

How to order custom labels

Now that you have a design and we’ve chosen a supplier (hopefully us 😉) this is the easy bit. We've worked hard over many years to make the ordering process super easy.

To order your custom labels, simply go to the correct product page. For example, our holographic labels if you want something that looks as beautiful as this:

Square holographic sticker applied to black soap box next to shaving tools

Our product pages look like this:

Screenshot of the holographic stickers product page

Next, enter the size of the label you want on the top right-hand side of the page, followed by how many you would like. Sometimes you can either select the material or the shape.

Then click the continue button and upload your design!

Within 12 working hours, we will send you a design proof (learn more about design proofs here) showing you how your label will look. This gives you confidence we'll print the right thing, and you can request changes for free if you're not satisfied with something.

Once you’re happy, you simply approve your design, and we get printing. We aim to ship within four working days anywhere in the world.

Are you ready to give labels a try? Then you can browse your range of custom labels here.

If you want to know more about the world of sticker printing, these articles are just what you are looking for: