2013 OnlineLabels.com Guide to Purchasing Labels

By Online Labels

What to consider before you buy labels - Every year, OnlineLabels.com compiles data through customer surveys, research, market analysis and feedback from our core customer base. We are pleased to share this information to anyone in need of help when it comes to do-it-yourself label printing.

Printing labels can be an enjoyable, cost and time saving experience if done correctly. Based on the feedback we've received, we seen some trends and common mistakes customers are making well in advance of printing labels. The trends we've spotted start with errors being made in the purchasing process. Buying labels begins with three major steps: making sure you select the proper label material for your application, choosing the best label size and making sure you buy enough labels to properly test and complete your label application.

Here is our guide to purchasing labels and the five most common errors being made when buying labels:

1. Choosing the right label material for your label printer.

Before selecting any label material, it is critical to know what kind of printer you will be using for printing labels. You must determine if it is a laser printer, inkjet printer, direct thermal or thermal transfer printer. These four most common label printers are often easily confused.

Inkjet printers use liquid ink sprayed through microscopic nozzles onto the paper, and laser printers use a toner cartridge (filled with fine powder) and a heated fuser. Inkjet label printers are frequently used by home users who have limited text and photo printing needs. Laser label printers are typically found in larger office environments with high-volume and high-quality printing requirements.

Direct thermal label printers require no ink, toner, or ribbon to apply print to the label surface. Direct thermal printers are not able to print in color. Thermal Transfer label printers, on the other hand, do require a ribbon to apply print to the label surface and have the ability to print a logo, graphic or text in color.

2. Determining the label software you will be using to design your labels.

An important factor in what labels you purchase is understanding how you will be designing labels and what label software you will be using to do so. After surveying our customer base, we found the three most common tools being used by our customers are as follows:

  • Microsoft Word – Mostly used by those creating labels that consist primarily of text and simple designs.
  • Adobe Illustrator – Popular with advanced users that require a more graphically intensive label design.
  • Maestro Label Designer – A favorite of many of our customers, this free label software provides flexibility of a graphic design program but in a simpler, more user-friendly package.

There are hundreds of other label design software tools out there, and it is drastically important to know which one you will be using to design your labels.

3. Testing the adhesive on the product prior to purchasing a large quantity.

Simply put, there are thousands of variations when it comes to the adhesive on labels paired to the surfaces they are applied to. We've seen our customers adhere labels to wood, plastic, glass, metal, fabric and countless other surfaces. There are certain times where a label's adhesive may not be compatible with the surface being labeled. Before making any high quantity purchase, we strongly recommend making sure your label's adhesive will work on the surface you're labeling. You can do this by ordering samples, or placing an order for a few label sheets.

4. Buying enough labels to test, apply and correct any errors.

Printing labels definitely has its challenges, some unexpected. If you need to label 100 wine bottles for an upcoming wedding, it is best practice (based on our customers' feedback) to order more than 100 labels. Ordering more sheets or labels than you require, gives you the flexibility to test both the label's design, label printing, and to make sure you apply the labels correctly. This practice can save you both the time and hassle of ordering more sheets should you run out.

5. Not giving themselves enough time to receive the labels, print, and label the product.

There are deadlines to almost every project. Whether you're planning an event, sending out a mailing or labeling your products, getting the job done requires advanced planning. In addition to designing and printing your labels, making sure you allow yourself enough time to receive your label sheets is essential. While OnlineLabels.com does offer same day shipping with next day delivery, you can often save yourself hefty shipping charges with advanced planning or ordering.

The next time you're in the market of buying labels, please use the tips in this guide to help you with the process. If done correctly, these simple steps can make the label buying experience a great one!




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