The packaging and labeling industry involves designing, producing, and distributing packaging materials and labels for consumer goods. This industry plays a crucial role in protecting and promoting products and is essential for consumer safety and product identification.
With the increasing demand for sustainable packaging, the industry is evolving to include eco-friendly materials and designs. According to IBIS World, the U.S Packaging & Labelling industry size is estimated to be $11.8 billion in 2023. It is expected to increase by 2.1% in 2023.
Printing product packaging labels involves using a specialized printer to print text, graphics, and barcodes onto adhesive label stock. Different materials are used for printing product packaging labels, and printable heat transfer vinyl (HTV) is becoming popular nowadays. It offers a versatile, cost-effective solution for creating high-quality, durable labels that withstand harsh conditions.
However, you should follow certain do’s and don’ts to ensure successful results. This article discusses the best practices for using printable HTV for printing product packaging labels, including tips for preparing the vinyl, printing, and applying the labels.
1. Understand the Product You’re Printing On
Printable heat transfer vinyl is a less expensive option for printable vinyl. However, before using printable heat transfer vinyl for packaging labels, you must understand the product you will be printing on.
Different materials, such as plastic, metal, and glass, have varying characteristics that can affect the adhesion and durability of the label. For example, printing on a smooth surface will require a different type of HTV than printing on a textured surface.
It is also important to consider the environment in which the product will be stored and used. For example, will it be exposed to high temperatures, moisture, or other harsh conditions? Knowing the product and its intended use will help you choose the right type of HTV and ensure a successful outcome.
2. Choose an Ideal Vinyl Material
The right vinyl material is crucial for successfully printing packaging labels. According to Business Research Insights, the market size of printable heat transfer vinyl and paper used for packaging labels and other purposes was $1.34 billion in 2021. It is expected to grow at a CAGR of 4.6% and reach 1.83 billion by 2028.
Printable heat transfer vinyl comes in different types, such as polyurethane (PU) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC), and each has its unique properties. PVC vinyl is the most common and is known for its durability, flexibility, and ease of use. PU vinyl is more expensive but offers a softer feel and is more resistant to cracking and peeling. It’s also more stretchable and more resistant to heat.
Additionally, you can choose from various finishes, such as glossy, matte, metallic, and glitter, to add visual appeal to the labels. Carefully consider the properties of the material and the finish that best suits your product and application.
3. Set Your Machine Settings Properly
Setting your machine settings properly is crucial for achieving accurate and consistent results when printing with printable heat transfer vinyl. The temperature, pressure, and speed settings will vary depending on the type of vinyl and the product you are printing on. Therefore, following the manufacturer’s recommendations for the specific vinyl you are using is important.
Make sure to perform test prints on a small area before printing on the final product to ensure that the settings are correct. It will help you to avoid any mistakes and wasted materials. In addition, paying attention to your machine’s settings will help to ensure that your labels are well-printed and durable.
4. Do a Test Print Before Proceeding with Bulk Printing
Doing a test print before printing in bulk is an important step when using printable heat transfer vinyl for product packaging labels. It allows you to check the label’s alignment, color accuracy, and overall appearance before committing to a large production run. It also allows you to make necessary adjustments to your machine settings or design before printing the final product.
You can also check the adhesion and durability of the label on the actual product material. It can save you time and money by preventing mistakes and wasted materials. Always perform test prints and make adjustments as necessary before printing in bulk.
1. Don’t Use Non-Recommended Transfer Tape
When using printable heat transfer vinyl for product packaging labels, it is important not to use non-recommended transfer tape. Transfer tape, also known as application tape, transfers the vinyl design from the carrier sheet to the product. Using the wrong type of tape can affect the adhesion and appearance of the label.
The wrong type of transfer tape can also cause the vinyl to stretch, wrinkle, or even tear during application. Therefore, it’s crucial to use transfer tape specifically designed for printable heat transfer vinyl and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for the specific vinyl you are using. Using the right tape will help to ensure a smooth and successful application.
2. Don’t Use Cheap Blank Labels Without Testing First
The blank labels are also available in the form of self-adhesive labels, the global market size of which was $480 Billion in 2020, as per Fortune Business Insights research. Many options are available, but cheap ones must be avoided when using printable heat-transfer vinyl for packaging labels. Not all blank labels are created equal, and some may not be suitable for use with HTV.
Cheap blank labels may be made of inferior materials that can affect the adhesion and durability of the label. They may also not have the appropriate coating for HTV to adhere properly. Therefore, before using any blank labels, it is essential to perform a test print and check the adhesion and durability of the label on the actual product material.
It will help you to avoid any mistakes and wasted materials. Always test the blank labels first before printing in bulk.
3. Don’t Stack Your Printed Heat Transfer Materials on Top of Each Other
When using printable heat transfer vinyl for product packaging labels, it is important not to stack your printed materials on top of each other. Stacking the printed materials can cause damage to the printed design, such as scratches, smudges, or even tearing the vinyl.
It can also cause the transfer tape or carrier sheet to stick to the printed design, making it difficult to separate and apply to the product. To avoid these issues, it’s best to store the printed materials in a vertical position and separate them with a piece of paper or other non-stick material. It will ensure that the printed designs are protected and ready to be applied to the product with the best results.
Printable heat transfer vinyl is a versatile and cost-effective solution for creating high-quality product packaging labels. However, to ensure successful results, it’s important to follow certain do’s and don’ts.
The do’s include understanding the product you’re printing on, choosing the right vinyl material, setting your machine settings properly, and performing test prints before printing in bulk. It is also important to use recommended transfer tape, not use cheap blank labels without testing first, and not stack your printed materials on top of each other.
By following these guidelines, you can create durable and visually appealing labels that will help to enhance your product and stand out in the market.