What’s the difference between labels and printed stickers you may ask, well we’ll hopefully clear that up for you here.
Labels are generally supplied on rolls or sheets with many labels per roll or per sheet, so in multiples.
Both labels and printed stickers are self adhesive, using various types of glue. The type of glue varies for every application and doesn’t define whether it is a label or printed sticker.
Labels are mainly used for adding information, such as instructions for a product or ingredients for a food product and they are generally produced in the thousands. Labels have more of an industrial and retail use than stickers do.
Stickers, unlike their label counterparts are usually supplied individually as die cut stickers or on kiss cut square or rectangle sticker sheets.
They generally come into their own when used for promotional advertising, adding value by having logos and art printed on them. Usually printed with a striking or bold message.
Stickers can be an incredibly powerful communication medium. They are noticeable, adaptable and expressive. People of all ages love them because they not only have a timeless appeal but are also fun and easy to use.
Stickers have been used by businesses since forever, it seems – they are an affordable and practical way of expressing ideas, promoting causes or raising awareness. What some may not know is that stickers have a rather interesting and complex history.
Where it all began
Some historians say that sticker history can be traced back to the ancient Egyptian times, where it was used as a way to easily advertise prices. Others, however, believe that they were conceived in the 1800s – in 1839, to be precise, by Sir Rowland Hill – the gentleman responsible for introducing the first ever self-adhesive postage stamp to Europe.
Still, there are historians who have disputed these claims, saying that sticker history can be traced back to European food merchants who used it as a DIY advertising method to prominently stand out in the market.
Lithography was the preferred sticker production method by the 1800s – something which required custom-cut stone presses, which were rather expensive and complex to make. In the latter part of the 1800s though, technology advancements led to label designs which became quite colourful and intricate to reflect consumer demand.
Mr. R. Stanton Avery invented the sticker as we know it today in the1930s, which at the time, was referred to as the pressure sensitive label. This stirred up quite a revolution as they could be pre-cut for easy use and consumption, and did not require any of the typical wetting or licking.
Avery’s business took off in major ways, and labels began to adapt to the times, offering text-heavy content to inform and educate consumers on ingredients, scientific claims or health benefits of a product.
As the world was on the brink of a second world war, labels were “reimagined” as bumper stickers for the open public – a clever way of sharing and promoting specific ideas within the community. Bumper stickers became all the rage, particularly during the 1940s – people had very forthcoming opinions about war, foreign policy, European immigration, etc.
During the 1950s, aniline printing which came to be known as flexography, became the most common method of printing self-adhesive stickers. This printing method allowed the use of flexible materials like vinyl, which was made using flexible plates, liquid inks and rotary relief printing.
During this time, grocery stores were rapidly modernising to keep up with persistent economic growth, and so, to match this demand, labels became more centred on simple yet bold and colourful designs to help businesses market their products.
Modern sticker history
Stickers today are printed using digital technology, providing unmatched clarity, complete with bright and bold colours, and a broad range of materials, adhesives and ink. Since its introduction in the 1990s, digital printing has become affordable and the go-to choice for all businesses looking to educate and inform their consumers.