July 26, 2022

Label, sticker and decal options for food & beverage applications

While they may seem the same, labels, stickers and decals are different—and have separate uses.

Empire Screen Printing, manufacturer of screen printed products, reveals the differences and which should be used for various applications. While commonly mistaken as the same thing, there are important differences between them, and Empire can help companies choose which options are best for their particular application.

All three have a substrate, adhesive backing, and a top lamination or clear coat. The specific construction and printing processes depend on the durability requirements and placement of the product.

Differences between labels, decals and stickers. Photo: Empire Screen Printing

For primarily indoor applications,  consider labels, particularly
for branding and advertising the content of a package. Labels are the most inexpensive option and, for many applications, are considered to be a throwaway item.

However, shelf-life attention-grabbing options are necessary for consumer household items, such as cleaners, detergents, cosmetics, beverages and retail labels. Cold-foil can enhance the product’s appearance by applying a metallic foil layer to labels (and stickers) in silver, gold or holographic designs. Paper or BOPP materials with .001″ adhesive are typical material constructions for a label, but adding lamination will provide extra protection or pizzazz.

Stickers are a step up in durability and are used for indoor and outdoor applications. Stickers comprise more durable materials, vinyl or polyester, a more aggressive adhesive and lamination for added protection. Stickers are a great way to advertise a brand, such as inventory control with variable data, barcoding or serializing stickers (or labels).

Stickers also are ideal for informative graphics, warehousing, brand identity graphics, art reproduction, humor/entertaining pictures, decorative purposes, window graphics, etc. Empire’s removable or pressure-sensitive adhesive allows for repositioning before finalizing their placement. The company also offers the magiCAL line of eye-catching, pressure-sensitive vinyl with design options such as glitter or kaleidoscope for an edge over the competition.

For the most heavy-duty applications, there are decals. Decals can be used on equipment or other industrial needs when durability and longevity are essential, either indoors or outdoors. Applications include product brand identity and graphic overlays, industrial decals such as warning or danger decals, notice decals or informational graphics.

Decal materials range from vinyl, polyester, or polycarbonates, varying in material thicknesses and adhesive options. Tab or split liner backing to remove the lining is available to apply the decal easily.

There are several options available to enhance decals, such as pre-spaced vinyl decals, embossing or doming. Pre-spaced vinyl decals are individual letters, printed with liner backing and a premask over the top to hold the structure and easy application. Embossing is a unique die process that creates a relief used to provide functionality or enhance the decorative design. Doming is a scratch-resistant coating that provides dimension and durability to the decal design.

As with stickers, decals can be custom ordered to the company’s desired shapes and sizes. For more information on Empire’s lines, visit www.empirescreen.com.


Be sure to check out our other specialty agriculture brands

Organic Grower