The Complete Guide to Choosing Label Materials     

CS Labels | 25 January 2024

to Choosing Label Materials for Your Products


When it comes to choosing the right label materials for your products, it is crucial to consider the specific requirements carefully and the intended use of your labels. With a wide range of options available, it can be overwhelming to determine which material will best suit your needs. From thermal label materials to inkjet label materials, each offers its advantages and characteristics.

Understanding the unique properties of different labelling materials will enable you to make an informed decision that aligns perfectly with your product labelling requirements.

So, how exactly do you navigate this sea of choices to find the perfect label materials for your products? Let's explore the key factors to consider to make the right decision.


Types of Labels for Printing

When it comes to printing labels, it is important to consider the various label materials available for different applications. One such type is the thermal label material. There are two subcategories within this type: direct thermal label materials and thermal transfer label materials.

Direct Thermal Label Materials

Direct thermal label materials use heat-sensitive paper and the image is burned directly onto the label. However, the print may fade in sunlight or heat and is prone to marking when scuffed, making it ideal for short-term use in retail and logistics applications.

Heat Thermal Transfer Label Materials

On the other hand, thermal transfer label materials use an ink ribbon to transfer the image onto the label. The ink is melted onto the label surface by the print head heat, resulting in a longer-lasting print. This type is suitable for applications exposed to direct sunlight and is commonly used for product identification, shipping labels, and pharmaceuticals.

In the next section, we’ll discuss more specific examples of some materials typically used for product labelling and the advantages and disadvantages that come with choosing each material.

Paper-Based Label Materials

Paper-based label materials are a popular choice for various applications due to their versatility and cost-effectiveness. One type of paper-based label material is direct thermal paper, which we will discuss in more detail next.

What is Direct Thermal Paper and How is it Used?

Direct thermal paper is a cost-effective and efficient label material that does not require a print ribbon, offering advantages in speed, accuracy, and economy for various applications. This type of paper utilizes heat from the print head to create an image directly on the label.

It is commonly used for short-term applications such as receipts and shipping labels. Direct thermal printing is faster than traditional printing methods, with thermal printers capable of printing hundreds of labels in minutes.

The absence of ink cartridges in thermal printers reduces costs and maintenance requirements, making them a more economical choice for high-volume printing. Additionally, the embedded ink in direct thermal labels ensures accurate and legible prints.

Top Coated Thermal Paper

Top-coated thermal paper is a durable label material that offers resistance to marking, fading, smudging, and various contaminants. It is commonly used in applications where labels may come into contact with condensation, fats, grease, solvents, and packaging films. This makes it ideal for labelling fresh and frozen products in supermarkets, as well as for weight labels, price marking labels, and frozen food labels.

How Durable is Top-Coated Thermal Paper and What is it Used for?

The durability and applications of top-coated thermal paper make it an essential choice for labelling various products. Top-coated grades are commonly used in supermarkets for pre-packed meat and cheese, where individual descriptions and barcodes are required.

One of the key benefits of top-coated thermal paper is its high image resistance, as the protective top-coating reduces the fading of thermal images. Additionally, it improves the life of thermal print-heads by reducing or eliminating residue from the thermal coating.

The top coating also enhances the print quality, providing sharper and clearer print images by focusing the heat from the thermal print head on the active coating. Furthermore, the top-coated thermal paper offers a wide range of adhesives, including permanent, removable, freezer, and hot melt adhesives, making it suitable for various labelling applications.

Semi-Gloss Paper

Semi-gloss paper is a commonly used thermal transfer material that offers a cost-effective solution with good print quality and a visually appealing finish for labelling purposes. Also known as mid-gloss, this material is popular due to its low cost and ability to provide high-quality prints. It is ideal for environments where print needs to be longer lasting and may be exposed to direct sunlight.

The semi-gloss paper is commonly used for product identification, work in progress, shipping labels, and pharmaceutical applications. Its visually appealing finish makes it suitable for labelling purposes that require a professional and polished look. Semi-gloss paper is a versatile and reliable option for labelling needs, providing both practicality and aesthetics.

Matt Paper

Matt paper is a popular choice for product labelling due to its smooth surface and ability to provide a better print quality compared to uncoated papers. It is commonly used for labelling packaging boxes and pallets, as well as for product identification, picking, and receiving.

When to Choose Matt Paper for Your Product Labelling and Why

When considering options for product labelling, it is important to understand the benefits and applications of matte paper. Matte labels are often chosen for their ability to add a luxurious feel to a product, particularly for wine labels, alcohol labels, and upscale products and services. They exude elegance and add a touch of class to a luxurious product.

Matte labels have a softer look and feel and are less reflective compared to glossy labels. While they may not display colours as brightly, the more muted appearance of matte labels has many applications. They are commonly used in industries where a sophisticated and understated look is desired.

Choosing matte paper for product labelling can enhance the overall aesthetic and appeal of your product.

Inkjet- Compatible Papers

Inkjet-compatible papers offer a versatile solution for creating high-quality labels that meet the demands of various applications. These papers are specifically designed to work with inkjet printers, allowing for precise and vibrant printing of labels. Inkjet-compatible papers are ideal for printing full-colour, photo-quality labels, making them a popular choice for advertising, promotional, and packaging labels.

They are also suitable for on-demand printing, allowing for flexibility in label production. Different options are available to cater to different applications, ensuring that labels are durable and long-lasting. Inkjet-compatible papers provide excellent print quality and are a cost-effective choice for businesses looking to create professional labels for their products.

Film and Synthetic Label Materials

Film and synthetic label materials offer excellent moisture and chemical resistance, making them a popular choice across multiple industries. These materials can be made from PP, PE, PO, or PVC and come in white or clear film options. They have glossy finishes that provide a smooth surface for ink adhesion, resulting in bright and dense colours.

For logistics applications, matt finished materials are preferred for thermal transfer printing. Synthetic materials are commonly used in industries where moisture and chemical resistance are required. Additionally, their conformability makes them suitable for small-diameter containers and squeezable applications.


Polyester labels are widely utilised in various industries due to their ability to withstand harsh environmental conditions. These labels are commonly used in industrial settings, where they may be exposed to chemicals and extreme temperatures. Logistics and transportation companies also rely on polyester labels for shipping purposes, as they remain legible during transit.

In addition, polyester labels are popular in the electronics, automotive, and healthcare industries, thanks to their resistance to moisture and chemicals.

These labels are ideal for outdoor applications, such as product labelling, equipment identification, and signage, as they are resistant to UV exposure and weathering. Furthermore, polyester labels are commonly used in industrial settings to label chemicals, containers, and assets, where exposure to harsh conditions is frequent.

Overall, polyester labels offer durability, longevity, and resistance to environmental factors, making them a reliable choice for various applications.

Features and Industrial Applications of Polyester for Labeling

Polyester labels are highly sought after for their durability and resistance to harsh environmental conditions, making them the ideal choice for a wide range of industrial applications. These labels are known for their ability to withstand moisture, making them waterproof and suitable for outdoor use.

They are also tear-resistant, ensuring that they remain intact even in challenging conditions. In addition, polyester labels offer resistance to heat and certain chemicals, making them suitable for applications where exposure to these elements is expected, such as engine barcode labelling for automobiles and machinery. Moreover, polyester labels do not smudge or stain when exposed to moisture, provided they are properly dried before use. However, it's important to note that polyester labels are not suitable for curved or textured surfaces and should be applied to clean, flat surfaces.


Polyethene is a versatile plastic material commonly used for labelling applications. It offers flexibility and resistance to water and chemicals, making it suitable for use on curved or uneven surfaces and in labelling squeezed-out products. Additionally, polyethene is an economical choice for many labelling applications and can be made with adhesive backing for easy application.

Assessing the Flexibility and Resistance Qualities of Polyethylene

When considering the flexibility and resistance qualities of label materials for product labelling, it is essential to assess the characteristics of Polyethylene. Polyethylene is a versatile material that offers excellent flexibility, allowing labels to conform to various shapes and surfaces without tearing or wrinkling.

It is also highly resistant to moisture, chemicals, and UV radiation, making it suitable for both indoor and outdoor applications. Additionally, Polyethylene labels are known for their durability and resistance to abrasion, ensuring that the printed information remains intact even in harsh environments.

These qualities make Polyethylene an ideal choice for a wide range of product labelling needs, including food packaging, pharmaceuticals, and industrial products. By selecting Polyethylene label materials, businesses can ensure that their products are accurately and reliably labelled, enhancing brand recognition and customer satisfaction.


Polypropylene, a versatile and widely used synthetic resin, is commonly employed as a face material for labels in the product labelling industry. It is a type of polyolefin film that is produced through the polymerisation of propylene. Polypropylene offers many desirable properties that make it useful for a variety of purposes.

In the labelling industry, polypropylene is often used as a face material for labels and can be produced as a near-transparent, translucent, or opaque film. Its versatility, durability, and resistance to moisture and chemicals make it a popular choice for various labelling applications.

Polypropylene’s Uses in Different Industries

With its versatility, durability, and resistance to moisture and chemicals, polypropylene is widely used as a face material for labels in the product labelling industry, and clear and white variants of polypropylene labels have found their usage in different industries.

Clear polypropylene labels are often used by brands looking to blend label designs into their packaging, creating a "no look label" effect.

These labels are ideal for applications where the label needs to be discreet. On the other hand, white polypropylene labels are used in industries prone to spillage and scratches, offering longer-term outdoor labelling solutions.

They are also commonly used for peel and reseal labels, as they are made of rigid material. Both clear and white polypropylene labels provide excellent resistance to oil and water, making them suitable for various industries.

Industrial Vinyl

While industrial vinyl is known for its durability and water resistance, it's important to note that at CS Labels, we specialise in a different, yet equally robust material. We offer laminated polypropylene labels as a more cost-effective and versatile alternative to vinyl. Laminated polypropylene is not only resistant to water but also stands up well against exposure to various environmental conditions. These labels maintain their integrity and adhesive properties over several years, making them an ideal choice for product labelling.

It's worth considering that laminated polypropylene labels are particularly effective on smooth surfaces and offer excellent resistance to a range of chemicals and extreme conditions.

Static Cling Vinyl

Static cling vinyl is a popular and adhesive-free option for product labelling, offering ease of application and clean removal. These non-adhesive stickers are commonly used on surfaces like glass, finished walls, and plastic. The absence of adhesive makes them easy to apply and leaves no stains when removed.

Our Alternative

At CS Labels, we offer a practical and innovative alternative to static cling vinyl: peelable/repositionable adhesive labels. These labels combine the convenience of easy application and removal with enhanced durability, ensuring they adhere securely to surfaces like glass, finished walls, and plastic for an extended period.

Unlike static cling vinyl, which relies solely on static charge, our peelable labels feature a light yet effective adhesive. This adhesive allows for easy repositioning of the label without leaving any residue or stains upon removal.

Our peelable/repositionable labels are not only more robust in their adhesion compared to static cling vinyl but also present a more economical option. They are particularly suited for applications where longevity and the ability to reposition labels without compromising their adhesive quality are essential. These labels are ideal for scenarios where labels need to stay in place longer on transparent or smooth surfaces, offering reliability and versatility for a wide range of product labelling needs.

Discover the Perfect Label Material for Your Product with CS Labels

Navigating the vast sea of label materials can be daunting, but with CS Labels, your journey to finding the perfect label for your product is simplified.

We are a leading Label Manufacturer in the UK, and we understand the importance of matching the right material to your specific needs. Whether it's the durability of polyester, the flexibility of polyethene, or the aesthetic appeal of semi-gloss paper, we have the expertise to guide you.


Why Choose CS Labels?

Expert Guidance: Our team at CS Labels will help you understand the nuances of each material, from thermal label materials to inkjet-compatible papers, ensuring you make an informed decision that aligns with your product's requirements.

Custom Solutions: We offer a range of materials including top-coated thermal paper for durability, matte paper for a luxurious feel, and polypropylene for versatility. Our goal is to provide a label that not only meets your needs but enhances your product's appeal.

Quality and Innovation: With our state-of-the-art technology and commitment to quality, we ensure that your labels are not just labels, but a key part of your product's identity.


Ready to Make the Right Choice?

Let us help you navigate through the choices to find the perfect label material that speaks volumes about your product. Contact CS Labels today and take the first step towards elevating your product's presence in the market


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