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Design, Print and Application Guide - Label and Packaging

With such a comprehesive range of materials to consider for your next project, it's worth highlighting a few areas that we do not necessarily control, but must understand for effective performance. When you've invested time and resources into your project, it makes sense that you would want to see the material perform to your expectations. 
Here we have broken down effective label performance into Design, Print and Application, and we identify the skills of these 3-key factors in delivering the best outcome. We hope with the details we have provided, it facilates better understanding and encourage further education in label application. 


No matter if it be a bottle of champagne or a jar of jam, label design has an impact on a product’s marketability.
Effective design, coupled with the use of a substrate such as paper, synthetic or foil creates shelf appeal to stand out
from the rest.


Embellishments such as varnishes, embossing and foils are effective and when used correctly, enhance the aesthetics
of a label. However, it is important that some technical aspects of self-adhesive are considered.


Embossing/Debossing will affect the overall contact of the adhesive to the glass.

 Depth: There is no accepted method of measuring embossing depth. Light or heavy embossing will alter a labels
structural characteristics and either increase or reduce a material’s stiffness.

Location: An embossed free zone 3mm from the label edge is highly recommended, this ensures 100% adhesive
contact around the label edge.

Ratio: As a percentage of the entire label – the greater the amount of emboss/deboss the less contact there is to the applied surface, so consider the extent of this feature in relation to the entire label size.

Outcomes: Potential for water ingress, label lift and reduced dispensability.

Screens/Foils/Hi Build/Varnish 

These can be used to great effect in label design, however will add stiffness to the label face.

Memory: The use of these techniques will decrease the label substrates ability to apply to a curved surface.

Combination: The more hi build, screen, varnish or foil applied, the more the substrate will want to remain flat.

Outcomes: Label lift


Increasing the label size may increase the risk of bubbling, lifting, wrinkling and difficulty with label application.

Depending on the bottle type there are limitations to the label size.

For the maximum recommended label sizes see: Label Panel Chart Appendix A (*Source: Wine Packagers of Australia Inc. April 2015).

Outcomes: Potential for bubbling, wrinkling and difficulty with label application.


Uncoated stocks are by nature highly absorbent and will retain moisture more readily than coated papers.

Depending on the stock, varnish and exposure conditions, moisture retention will vary and may occur over a period of time. This is a common characteristic of paper, and not a fault.

Water repellent varnishes are strongly recommended to reduce moisture ingression. Test prior to production to ensure suitability as not all combinations will provide the same result.

With appropriate application our materials are designed to withstand bubbling or wrinkling in wet, cold and refrigerated conditions.

Outcomes: Bubbling, wrinkling, greying, edge wicking.


In today’s print market there are a wide variety of print processes such as letterpress, flexographic, offset, and increasingly, digital printing. The suitability of each print process in conjunction with the stock should be considered carefully. During the printing stage there are also very important aspects that will determine the performance of the label.


Varnishing is strongly recommended as it will: 

Moisture absorption will be reduced especially during refrigeration. 

Protect the printed image during transportation.


During automatic application the dispensing capabilities of the label are crucial.

Strike through or heavy die cutting will hinder the ability of the label to dispense from the liner.

Alternatively, light die cutting may not penetrate the co-extrusion or adhesive layer, causing the label to not separate effectively from the liner.


Tension in finished label rolls should be firm but not tight.

Too much tension can cause the adhesive to bleed from edges of the labels, causing dispensing problems and glue build up on rollers.

• Too little tension will make finished rolls prone to dishing or telescoping. 


Appropriate storage practices will ensure raw label material (prior to print) and finished goods remain at their optimum for 2 years from date of manufacture. Applicators should ensure they:

Acclimatise stock prior to printing (recommended 24-hours). 

Protect unused material from debris or dust.

Keep labels stored away from direct sunlight and ideally at 22°C and 55% RH.

Store labels in environments with stable temperatures. Elevated or fluctuating temperatures will reduces label lifespan, and hinder the printability of some materials (such as digital and metallized stocks).


The complex combination of label materials, design and embellishments can present a challenging environment for applicators so it’s important to consider the following:


Stabilising labelling conditions will provide the best results.

Labels should be stored at room temperature 24 hours prior to application. 

Storage in relatively humid conditions will also pre-condition the paper helping reduce moisture ingress.

Labelling conditions should be above 5°C. 

Best adhesion is achieved on warm, dry bottles.

Application to a wet surface will present a greater challenge. Special care and choice of material is required to ensure an effective result. 


As label facestocks have different properties, applicator settings should be tailored to suit the choice of substrate.

Coated, Uncoated, Synthetic and Metallic stocks have different characteristics so they will not apply the same.

Uncoated and textured papers have a high memory and are generally quite stiff, making additional pressure critical for successful labelling. 

Anti-static brushes should be used when applying synthetic label material.

Labelled bottles should be inspected for areas of non-contact to the glass and should be thoroughly tested before market release.

Label / Adhesive tack will not improve over time, so a label that has failed to contact the applied surface effectively will inevitably worsen.


Glass bottles exhibit characteristics that will determine labelling success.

Bottle shape irregularities such as sinks and bulges may trigger label bubbling or wrinkling.

Contaminates such as surface coatings used to reduce scuffing during transport can also inhibit label adhesion.

Bottles should be cleaned and rinsed prior to labelling.

Glass surface tension can affect adhesive performance. Levels of 38 dyne or higher will provide the best surface condition for the adhesive to bond with the glass. 


Firm and even pressure across the total label surface is required.

A wiping motion from the centre of the label to the outside edge is recommended for best results.

Solid pads such as “Zed” panels are preferred as they provide superior pressure and label to glass contact.