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Gloss vs Matte: Choosing the Right Clear Label

Matte and gloss labels side-by-side on candles

Adding clear labels to products can provide a very professional and sophisticated look. But how do you know which clear label finish will work best for your specific purpose? What's the difference between a matte finish and a gloss one?

Matte Labels

Matte is a term used to describe a non-shiny, flat texture. As a label, it's a translucent material that looks frosted with a nice matte sheen. Matte labels are popular among labelers because of their versatility. They can be luxurious or natural looking depending on the design, use, and placement.

Below, we break down some of the common uses and associations of matte labels.

If You're Looking for Subtlety

The sheen of matte labels is great for displaying product or company information. The facesheet is smooth and won't glare like their glossy counterparts so it doesn't detract from your product or other packaging.

If You're Looking for Elegance

Matte labels are known for their ability to add a luxurious feel to a product. You can often see this with invitations, table setting and house decorations, and upscale products and services. They exude sophistication and add a touch of class to your already luxurious product.

If Your Product or Brand is Organic

Matte is often associated with organic products for its natural texture (versus the artificial shine of gloss labels). Matte labels offer a more wholesome, unpolished look that brands want to capitalize on. The food and beverage and bath and body industries are two sectors that frequently use matte labels for this purpose.

If You're Going for A Specific Look

Matte labels have the unique ability to be both warm and inviting and cold and wintery. A matte label with a pastel background brings up associations of springtime and happiness whereas a black background with the same frosted label can be wintery and more formal.

If you've decided on matte labels for your products or business, explore your options for inkjet printers or laser printers. You can also see how other customers are using them for projects with their inkjet and laser printers.

Gloss Labels

Gloss is also clear, but is shiny instead. As a label, it's completely transparent and blends in to almost any surface its applied to. Gloss labels are popular among labelers for their polished and professional appearance. They reflect light, help colors pop, and are great in instances when a "barely there" effect is preferred.

Below, we break down some of the common uses and associations of gloss labels.

If You're Looking for Simplicity

Glossy labels can help show off your product without detracting from it. These completely see-through labels will make it look as if your product or company information has been printed directly onto your packaging. This is especially true with surfaces of metal, plastic, or glass.

If You're Looking for Eye Catching & Vibrant

The added shine of gloss labels reflects light that hits it, grabbing the attention of consumers and accentuating the colors printed on your label. This increases the contrast of your image, making the colors more intense. Think back to when we used to get photographs printed – full color photographs and designs with intricate details were striking when printed on glossy photo paper. The same principle applies to labels.

If Your Container is Shiny

Clear gloss labels blend in on bottles and jars that have the same finish. If you want it to look like you printed directly on your surface without the upcharge, add gloss labels. When paired with other shiny, reflective surfaces, gloss labels can create the "no label look."

If you've decided on gloss labels for your products or business, explore your options for inkjet printers or laser printers. You can also learn more about the benefits of gloss labels or see how other customers are using them for projects with their inkjet and laser printers.




Whichever clear label finish you're considering, we know you can create something incredible. Our clear gloss and clear matte materials work great with a variety of different products and projects.

Questions? We're here to help. Contact our customer service team at 1-888-575-2235.

Before getting started, check out these clear label examples. The visibility and accuracy of colors in your design may vary depending on how you use your clear labels.