Frequently Asked Questions

Modern day flexographic printing is a high resolution form of printing that uses photo polymer plates which image directly onto the substrate (label or packaging material). This method of printing is high quality, fast, economical and is the most popular methods for labels and is gaining ground for flexible packaging.

UV stands for ultra violet and is the form of lighting that acts as a catalyst to cure the flexographic inks. This is in contrast to water or solvent based ink systems which have lower viscosity and some built in instabilities. UV inks do not dry out during the printing process resulting in stable chemistry. In conjunction with the stable chemistry and high viscosity, UV inks provide higher printing quality and color consistency.

A contract proof is a way of ensuring that your art design will be produced according to your requirements and vision. We will always produce a proof which will be sent to you via e-mail as a PDF document or printed on paper using our high resolution digital printer. Once approved, we will agree to reproduce your art design to the proof.

Please keep in mind graphics and colors will always appear different when viewed on various medias, such as a computer monitor, desktop ink jet and laser printers, and high quality digital proofing systems. Contract proofs will never match exactly to flexographic printing as well as other methods such as offset and gravure. The only way to ensure an exact match to your expectations to request a press proof. This requires your presence on site during printing set-up. This can require additional fees for idle press time.

Your approval on the final contract proof is assurance that you have reviewed every aspect of the job and art and approve the accuracy of color, text, placement and all other factors associated with the job. Your carefully designed art can sometimes change when entered into our plating system software. We do our best to catch these changes, but it is the customers responsibility to ensure all errors and issues are identified prior to printing. A close and thorough examination of the proof is very important as printed errors can make your product unusable costing you money and time to re-print the job.

If you plan to sell your product through an outlet that uses scanners to track and price, the produce will require a UPC bar code. To acquire a UPC bar code, you must apply through the GS1 US partner Connections program at gs1us.org. A direct link that will walk you through the process is barcode.gs1us.org. Once you are assigned your unique prefix, you can provide us with the remaining numbers to complete the required sequence and we can generate the bar code for printing.

We are very knowledgeable on this topic with decades of experience to draw upon. We will be more than happy to assist you on this, please ask us if you need help. In a nutshell though, paper substrates are going to be the least expensive option. Paper has limited durability though and should be limited to products that do not require moderate to heavy moisture resistance. They should be restricted to disposable products and packaging containers. Plastic films come in various durability grades and price categories. They can at times economically replace a paper label due to higher durability, and better printing quality. Films are a must for outdoor labels and for applications that require high moisture and or solvent resistance.

A die is a metal cutting tool that is responsible for cutting the shape of the label out of the material. There is at times a requirement for multiple dies if there is a complicated construction requiring back cutting of the liner, perforating, or sheeting the product from the roll material. We carry a large inventory of dies, but it is impossible to carry all the possible shapes and sizes our customers request. You may at times be asked to purchase a die at our cost to produce your product.

UV varnish is a hard cured coating that is applied to the printed label or flexible packaging film. It is a popular option as it helps protect the printed graphics from scratching during shipping and handling. It will also add a gloss for matte finish to the finished product. A lamination is a clear or matte film applied over the printed graphics. It offers several advantages over a varnish by adding rigidity to thin films to assist in machine application and adding superior scratch and chemical resistance to the printed graphics. A varnish is typically the least expensive as it uses less material than lamination. There are also various grades of lamination to satisfy requirements such as high clarity, provide additional fade resistance or fulfill UL certifications.

First PMS stands for Pantone Matching System. It is the defacto standard color matching standard for the printing industry around the world. There are hundreds of colors to choose from and there are formulas to mix these colors using a hand full of standardized base colors. We inventory many colors and offer them for printing at no additional cost. When special PMS colors are requested we can mix up the color for a nominal fee.

4-color process printing is the use of four unique ink colors (cyan, magenta, yellow, black) using sophisticated screens to produce full color photographs like printing. It can also closely reproduce PMS spot colors enabling the ability to produce a very colorfully printing product with the expense of additional spot colors. Close is the best you can achieve with PMS colors, as it is impossible to exactly match PMS spot colors with 4-color process. This would be its biggest drawback from using individually printed spot colors.

There are a wide variety of dies that can be used when manufacturing a label, the style you choose will depend on how your label will be used and applied.

The most common method of cutting labels is a die–cut.

Die-cut labels can come in any shape, i.e. round corner rectangles (rcr), circles, square corner rectangle, ovals, starbursts and just about any special shape you can come up with.

Butt-Cut Labels are rectangular square cornered labels separated from each other by a single straight blade cut. There are no gaps or extra liner around the label.

Sheeted labels can be pressure sensitive or non-pressure sensitive.

Non-pressure sensitive labels are supplied in stacks either shrink wrapped, bound, bagged or supplied in an approved carton. Some sheeted tags use an air eject die to remove the hole.

Pressure sensitive labels, (labels with adhesive) can again be any shape but are supplied on individual sheets, generally with the matrix removed for easier application.

The most common presentation of labels is rolls. Labels are spooled onto a core with a preset amount. You can request the number of labels you prefer on a roll or the Max OD, (outside diameter) your equipment can handle.

Choosing the correct adhesive is as important as choosing the correct stock. When you place your label on your product you want one of four things to happen; you may want it to stay on your product permanently, be removable or repositionable, be tamper evident, or to dissolve. There are many formulations of adhesives made to accommodate most applications. The following list of adhesive features and capabilities should cover the majority of circumstances you may encounter.

General Purpose, Aggressive Quick Tack, Irregular Surfaces, High Peel Performance, High Temperature Resistance, Outdoor Applications, Cold Temperatures, Food Contact, Moisture Resistance, Wet Stick, Fabrics, Repositionable, Removable, Waxy, Corrugated, Glass, Low Surface Energy or Sterilization Suitable.

There are a thousand different stocks to choose from when deciding which one suits your label. Consider getting the fundamentals down and then decide with your printer which specific stock is right for you. Below are a few categories to get moving in the right direction. 

  • Paper: Typically, shorter shelf life, rigid, should be laminated or varnished to protect the label. 
  • Gloss 
  • Semi-Gloss 
  • Litho- Matte 
  • Thermal Transfer 
  • Direct Thermal 
  • Fluorescent 
  • Silver Lam Foils 
  • Gold Lam Foils 
  • Tag Stocks 
  • Film: Typically, longer shelf life, possibly harsh environment, durable, some squeezable, can be laminated or varnished.
  • Polyolefin – squeezable white and clear 
  • Polypropylenes – squeezable white and clear 
  • Bopps – Rigid white and clear 
  • Metalized polypropylene 
  • Ultra Clear 
  • Polyesters 
  • Vinyl 
  • Thermal Transfer Films 
  • Direct Thermal Films 

There is something to be said regarding the old verbiage “you get what you pay for”. More times than not people decide on one brand or product over another based solely on the look of the label. Whatever the product, your label should convey what you want people to notice about your specific product. In today’s market it has to just about jump off the shelf at consumers. The presentation of your product can make or break your success with that product. Your label needs to get the product picked up and purchased!

A quality label should look great and last the life of the product, whether that is 1 day or 1 year, so when you are designing the "look" of your label, care should be given to the stock it prints on, the finish you choose and the adhesive you pick to keep that label on.