Steps to a Successful Pressure Sensitive Label Project

July 20, 2015

Pressure sensitive labels work well on a variety of container shapes and sizes making them an optimal choice for products in many markets. We previously discussed how the use of pressure sensitive labels can help companies grab the attention of a consumer, now we’ll take a look at the steps involved in creating a successful pressure sensitive label project.

Container Selection

First, it is important to know the type of container you are labeling. It is most beneficial to get the label supplier involved in the process early on as there are several considerations that will affect the label process and material selection. Is the container glass or plastic? If plastic, is it blow molded, injection molded or thermo formed? Is the container contoured and/or tapered? Does the container have a label panel? Does it have anti-stat or other coating on it? The answers to the questions will help determine what adhesive / facestock / liner combination will best be suited for the container.


Next, it’s important to determine the type of material that you would like to use for your label. Material choices for pressure sensitive labels are determined by:

  • Paper vs film
  • Clear vs opaque
  • Aesthetic expectations (tactile, opacity, etc.)
  • Environmental requirements (refrigerated, high temperature) and concerns (ie. recycling)
  • Relative costs
  • Application equipment
  • Pre or post fill application
  • Expected line speed

Fort Dearborn offers a variety of pressure sensitive materials to meet customer needs including: coated, uncoated, metallized and embossed papers, and clear, opaque and metallized film.

Sizing & Line Trial

A die line will need to be created based on the container and label size and should be approved by the machine vendor to ensure accurate application. For automatic labeling applications, the roll form and copy on the labels will need to be positioned based on the requirements of the application (rewind and print position). Line trials (ie. die cut blanks) on the application equipment should also be conducted to confirm sizing and material selection (facestock, adhesive and liner are performing as expected); this is especially important for new equipment or a new container shape. Shipping and packing can also be tested as this stage along with confirmation of the roll packaging and specifications.

Graphics & Prototyping

A variety of print options are available to choose from including flexography, combination with screen and digital printing. The choice will be based on the brand requirements, desired look you want to achieve for your product and volume requirements (digital printing is suited for lower volumes). The label printer should provide print specifications that will address guidelines to follow to get the optimal printing results for each method. Fort Dearborn’s file specifications are available online: FDC Supplied File Specifications.

During this stage, a template will be created for the graphics. A basic template can be created using the container dimensions and the expected label coverage, but the final template will be created based upon the results of the line trial. Digital prototypes can also be run to confirm graphics and proper sizing before running production.

Following these steps will help gain maximum shelf impact for your product with pressure sensitive labels while minimizing risks of dissatisfaction with the outcome. Our knowledgeable technical services associates are available to work with you, your container supplier and application equipment supplier on the various steps and provide guidance throughout the process.

If you are ready to take the next step in marketing your product with a pressure sensitive label, contact Fort Dearborn Company online or call (847) 357-9500.