How Much Do Custom Labels Cost?
Let’s talk pricing with TLP Technical Manager, Dave Gunkel
When designing a label it is good to know what drives the cost of a label? Many factors including, but not limited to: size, order quantity, label durability, number of colors and print method help determine the cost of a label.
Let’s take a look at each area and how they impact a label’s cost.
Size of the Label
It won’t be a big surprise that the larger your label is the more it will cost. Not only does a larger label use more material, but it may also determine what print method(s) can or should be used. How efficient the label size is to the material and press widths available are also important. When having a label quoted, it is always good to let the label company know if you’re flexible on the size so they can quote it on the most efficient width available.
Just like many products, the more labels you order, the lower the piece price. By ordering more labels, you spread the setup costs over a greater number of labels, which make the process more efficient and lowers the piece price.
Material & Adhesive
The label material determines much of the cost of a label. Generally speaking, the more durable the label needs to be, the more expensive it will be.
Paper face stocks are less durable than films, but also tend to be lower in cost. Paper is a great choice for short-term labels or point of sale labels. Polypropylene is somewhat flexible and water resistant, but typically not high heat or UV resistant. Polypropylene costs more than paper, but less than vinyl or polyester. Vinyl is flexible, water and UV resistant, but not very resistant to high heat. Polyester is less flexible than vinyl, but offers resistance to water, chemicals, UV and heat. Polyimide is one of the most expensive label stocks, functions very similarly to polyester, but also offers very high heat resistance.
The type of adhesive used also affects the label cost. There are a wide variety of label adhesives available. Removable adhesive typically costs more than permanent adhesives. Rubber-based is typically more cost effective than acrylic adhesive, but it also tends to not be as durable in outdoor environments. Because there are so many types of adhesives, it is highly recommended to work with your label supplier on the exact use or application of the label and let them determine which would likely offer the best performance for the price.
Color & Process
Next, we’ll take a look at the number of colors, ink coverage and print processes since they’re related. Generally speaking, the more colors or ink coverage there is, the higher the cost, regardless of the print process. For some print processes, such as digital, the number of colors doesn’t affect the price, but the amount of ink coverage on the label does. Digital is a great process for shorter quantity runs or if the information on the label changes often because there is little set up cost.
For other processes, like screen and flexographic (flexo), both the number of colors and ink coverage will affect the cost. Both screen and flexo print processes have setup costs and non-recurring preparation charges that directly relate to the number of colors on the label. Screen and flexo are great options for medium and higher quantity orders.
So, while we’d love to be able to provide a quick cost from a straightforward equation, it’s just not that simple. For TLP, and any completely custom parts manufacturer, each detail needs to be discussed to provide an accurate estimate. Our Application Engineers are disciplined in process to ask for these and other details when working on a project, always with the end-goal of a precisely accurate quoted price.
Have a project you’d like us to review and quote? Reach out to us today!