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Frequently Asked Questions

 Artwork

Q. Do I need to get a proof of the custom labels? Does that slow the process down?

A.
When you design your custom labels using one of our label wizard templates, we will provide an online proof of the design. You design your labels online and the proof is instantaneous. For uploaded designs, we typically will also provide you a proof.

As long you quickly review the proof for errors, graphics, your custom label order will not be delayed.

Q. Should I print full color labels?

A.
Why not add some “zip” to your labels and print them in full color?

In most cases, we offer pricing for full color custom labels that is the same as single color labels. The world does not come in just black & white!

Q. We have a special color. Can you match it?

A.
Many of our customers ask for a specific color. Specify a PMS number or send us a color chip to match. For many materials, there is no extra charge for a special color match – but we will confirm this with you prior to printing. For our FastShip labels, of course, there are no extra charge for full color printing of your custom labels. In most cases, then, we can match your PMS color with a mix of the four process colors.

Q. I have my own design. Can I ask you to print it?

A.
Of course. You can use the Online Quote feature to get a quote and then, if you want, upload the artwork file to us. We also have some templates, in EPS form, that can be used to provide some guidance. These forms show you the dimensions and outline for the labels.

Q. I am not happy with the design that I see on the screen. Can you improve it?

A.
Just make a note that you would like our art department to try our hand at your design. In most cases, our clients love the changes that we suggest. We will post a new design to the web site that you can see when you log into it (it will be under the My Designs area).

Q. My logo appears to be fuzzy when I view in on the design. What is wrong?

A.
Yes, this sounds like a problem. We can only print to the quality of the image. Please see if you can find a version of your logo with a higher quality or resolution. Custom labels always look better if your logo is crisp. If not, and in most cases, we can help clean your logo up and help make your custom label look better.

Q. I need help with designing a custom label. Who can I call?

A.
Call us up at 800-952-1457 and follow the prompts for customer service, We would be delighted to help you through the process of designing your custom label. We always invite your suggestions on how to make our custom label programs better.

Q. I do not have a logo. Can you create one for us?

A.
We offer hundreds of graphics online. Select one of these for your custom labels. Adding a logo to your custom label adds a professional touch and adds some punch to your custom label design.

Q. What type of art do you accept for custom labels?

A.
We accept most types of graphic files, including PDF (preferred), Corel and AI files. When you use Adobe Illustrator or Corel to prepare custom label files, make sure to convert/export text as curves.

The important factor is that your art should have sufficient resolution to print well. We accept “zipped” files, but not files from “Stuff-It”.

If you send us artwork files after an order has been placed, make sure to identify your order or quote number. Send your artwork files to artwork@xpressmyself.com

Q. Can I add a bar code to the custom labels? What type of barcode should we use?

A.
Yes! We are barcode label experts. There are many different barcode symbologies, but the two most popular choices are Code 3-of-9 and Code 128. The type of barcode depends on the typical application. For most variable labels, Code 3-of-9 remains most popular, but Code 128 is gaining in market acceptance. Code 128 offers greater density – which means that the user is able to place more information onto the labels. Note that many scanners have the ability to automatically and intelligently switch from one code to the other without reprogramming.

Q. I need a special shape for our custom labels. Can you help out?

A.
We have several hundred label dies and many of these are not listed on our custom label Quoters or wizards. If your special shape, however, does not match a die within our library, we then have two choices. In one option, we will just digitally cut your labels. This eliminates the cost of a label die. A label die may cost from $100 to $500, depending upon complexity and label type.

The second option is to order a special die for your shape. Please contact us and, together, we can determine the best option.

 Materials for Custom Labels

Q. We need outdoor custom labels to last several years. What do you recommend?

A.
We offer several materials that are great outdoors. Our ToughCal™ and laminated PermaCal™ labels are made from vinyl and have good outdoor durability.

Vinyl is an ideal material for an outside application. Vinyl is specifically made to withstand adverse weather conditions. Our digital inks, however, will fade if they are exposed to the sun for an extended period of time.

Many customers use our aluminum DuraBoss labels for better weather resistant. Then, for even greater durability, consider our AlumiGuard™ labels in black ink. These labels are used by the military for ships, for example. In many cases, labels still look terrific after 10 years of constant salt air, sunshine and heat. These custom labels can withstand short term exposures to 1,000°F.

In most cases, it is the fluctuations of heat /cold, water / dry and chemical exposure that aggravate label failure. Hence, greater temperature ratings often go hand-in-hand with longer life.

Q. What does the term “Pressure Sensitive” mean? What is a “Release Liner”?

A.
This term, frankly, has a bit of an anachronistic ring to it. In literal terms, it means that the custom label has an adhesive back to it and that you need to apply a bit of pressure for the adhesive to stick well to the application surface. While this is certainly still true, pressure, itself, is not the primary determination of adhesive strength for your custom labels. Pressure helps ensure a good bond for an irregular surface, but important factors for adhesive strength are the surface energy of the substrate and cure time. The paper liner that is on backside of the label is called the release liner. It is disposable. Typically backslit or “pre-tabbed” for easy label application, the liner is made of paper (although film is used for certain super-clear labels). The paper liner has a silicon coating that allows it to be “released” from the adhesive layer.

Q. Do all labels have a liner? And, do you have labels that do not have a liner?

A.
Yes, certain tapes and labels may come without a release liner. In this case, the top of the label (or tape) is coated with a silicon release. Please call our LabelLab team and we can provide pricing for you. Note, however, that our most aggressive and highest performing labels and adhesives require a liner.

Q. Can you print on the backside of the label [on the liner]?

A.
Yes, we often print on the liner. Typically, you may want to have special instructions, your own logo or a temporary message printed on the liner. Please contact our LabelLab team for more details.

Q. What are the different parts [or layers] to a label? Are there special terms for each part?

A.
Custom labels, typically, have the following parts:

• Lamination. This is top layer and optional. Lamination adds to the cost of a label and is generally only used when the application requires special durability. This lamination (sometimes called an “overlamination”) is clear and typically made from clear polyester, acrylic or polypropylene. In most cases, the lamination is glossy and the lamination is not writable.

• Base Material. This is the main label component (and is often called the custom label’s “face stock”). Paper is most common, but other base materials include vinyl, paper, polypropylene and polyester.

• Adhesive. The next layer is the adhesive layer. Common adhesives are either solvent-based (more costly and, generally, better performing) or water-based (more affordable). The range of adhesive choices can quickly become rather daunting – so please call up our LabelLab experts if you want to learn more.

• Liner. The bottom layer is [most often] a throw-away paper liner. The liner has a “release coat” on one side that allows the liner to be removed from the adhesive easily.

Q. What types of lamination do you offer for custom labels?

A.
We offer vinyl, polyester, acrylic and polypropylene lamination. Each has different advantages and impart different features to the printing on the base label material. For example, lamination provides protection against abrasion, chemicals, weather and solvents. Please call our custom label experts to learn more.

Q. What is the best label material for window decals? What is static cling?

A.
More and more customers are using our innovative WindowCling™ material for window decals. This material is cleanly removable from any flat surface. And, they stick well – even on slightly dirty windows (which can be a problem for static cling window decals). WindowCling™ decals "stay stuck".

Of course, we still offer traditional static cling window decals. Static cling is actually an extensively “plasticized” vinyl substrate that does not require an adhesive layer. Static cling decals stick to glass or other smooth surfaces.

Q. Do you offer reflective custom labels?

A.
Yes! We offer a complete range of reflective label materials, including engineer grade custom labels and fluorescent reflective custom labels.

Q. How do I choose the best material for my custom labels?

A.
You might want to start with our material specification table. Click here to compare common labels materials.

• What conditions must your label endure? For example, will your label be used outdoors? Will they get wet?

• What is your budget and how many do you need? Digital printing means that you can order fewer labels at a lower price than ever before. Use our Quoters to review the prices by quantity and material.

• Do you need to write on the labels? Many custom label materials have a writable surface. Others have a glossy laminate that is easy to clean (but is not pencil writable).

• Are there security features that we consider? Do you custom labels need to be tamperproof?

Our LabelLAB experts are also eager to help out. As automated as our site seems to be, we also know that person-to-person communication is invaluable. We encourage constant communication. Please call our team at 800-952-1457.


 Ordering Custom Labels

Q. Do your custom labels come on rolls? Or, packs or sheets?

A.
In most cases, you may select the form that you want to use for your custom labels – sheets, packs or rolls. For very large orders of labels, rolls are more common in that rolls are easily used with automatic application equipment. For smaller orders, however, sheets or packs are most common.

Q. Do you “gang up” my order for custom labels with similar orders? And, is this how you are able to offer such great pricing?

A.
Although this is common practice for some short-run printers (e.g. business cards), we generally do not run your orders on the same web as other orders. The economics of our printing presses are such that we typically process one order at a time. This is also the reason we ship your orders much faster than most of the printers.

Q. What is a “press proof”?

A.
A press proof is an actual custom label sample – from the press. Please contact us if you want a press proof. Such a request, as you can imagine, can be quite costly and will also delay your finished order.

Q. Do you have setup fees?

A.
No! Order custom labels from us without aggravating setup fees. For most printers, adding a setup fee for plates, art, dies or special colors is a way to disguise the true cost of your custom labels. Setup fees are also a legacy of traditional label printing presses – when special plates were needed. At LabelLab, we print most of your custom labels digitally. There is no need for plates, additional art prep charges, etc.

Q. If I reorder the custom labels, do I get a discount?

A.
We do not offer special pricing for reorders. In that we print digitally and forego setup fees, reorders have the same affordable pricing offered on first-time orders.

Because we do not charge any initial set up fees like most printers do, our re-order pricing is not discounted beyond our normal everyday low pricing.

Q. How do you ship the custom labels? Can I use my own FedEx number?

A.
In most cases, our orders are shipped via UPS. Note, though, that you can specify the printing method when you check out. FedEx is available. Also understand, that, for many custom label orders, shipping is free via UPS ground.

Yes, you can certainly use your own FedEx account number. Just make sure that you contact Customer Service and have this number handy.

 Printing Custom Labels

Q. How do you print your labels and which method is cheapest?

A.
The most common printing techniques are listed here. The best printing method is typically determined by the label material and intended application for your custom labels. In general, though, we see a trend away from flexographic, offset and thermal printing to both our screen and digital presses. The impetus here has, typically, been the need for shorter runs and full color. Lately, however, the economics of both printing methods have improved dramatically.

Compare Printing Techniques

Q. Do you have a minimum order quantity of custom labels?

A.
In most cases, you only need to order 25 labels. This small minimum is made possible because of our digital label printing presses. The price for 25 custom paper labels, typically, is less than $50.00.

Q. Can I specify the “wind direction” for the custom labels?

A.
Typically, we will supply the wind direction that works best for our dies and materials. If, however, you want to specify the wind direction for your custom labels, please contact our LabelLab customer service department. Use this chart as a reference.

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