Understanding Pressure Sensitive Labels

Pressure sensitive labels are one of the most common label solutions in the consumer marketplace, representing 41% of the global demand. These labels streamline the manufacturing process — you just peel off the protective layer and stick it onto your product. You can skip any extra steps that may involve heat, water, or solvents, speeding up the process and ensuring you get to market faster. That’s why so many companies choose to design pressure sensitive labels over another option.

Pressure sensitive labels are perfect for almost any use, ranging from food and cannabis to household products and nutraceuticals. They’re relatively low-cost and offer premium designs, which is what makes them so popular. They’re a great way to make your product stand out without spending a huge amount of money.

Before we get into the design aspects of pressure sensitive labels, it’s important to understand what they are and how they work. These labels can be applied manually or by using labeling equipment in a high-speed production line. However, not all labels are made the same. The entire label consists of five layers — the liner, release coat, adhesive, facestock, and top coat. These materials must be compatible with each other and your product to achieve a long-lasting bond.

So, what are these materials and how do they contribute to the finished label? The liner is the backing material with a release coat. Essentially, it’s the layer you’ll peel off right before sticking the label on your product. Next, the release coat is applied to resist the adhesive. This lets the face stock and adhesive peel away from the liner without hassle. The adhesive is the coating that helps the label stick to the surface of the product. It’s usually a highly-specified component that differs based on what you’re labeling. The facestock is the coating and print surface material the label is made from. Finally, the top coat is the last layer of the label which includes a coating or lamination to improve the label’s longevity.

Design Considerations for Pressure Sensitive Labels

Now that we’ve gone over the parts of a label, let’s go over how to design pressure sensitive labels for your business.

Label Material and Adhesive Selection

As mentioned above, the materials you use play an important role in the design of your pressure sensitive label. If you’re working with a product that may end up in a cooler full of ice — like a water bottle — you’ll want a label material and adhesive that are moisture-resistant. If your product will be exposed to higher temperatures, you’ll likely side with an acrylic adhesive that’s more temperature resistant. And if your product will be exposed to the outdoors, you’ll need a UV-resistant material and adhesive to ensure a long-lasting bond.

There are countless combinations of material and adhesive, so you’ll want to work with an experienced label manufacturer for this step. They can help you sort through your options and come up with the best combination for your needs.


Labels don’t always go on flat surfaces, and this can affect their design. Bottles and other containers feature curved or compound surfaces that can complicate the adhesive process. Curved surfaces usually require a stronger adhesive that adheres quickly and prevents the label from lifting at the edges.

Color and Graphics

Color and graphics play a huge role in the success of your product. In fact, using specific colors for your product labels can influence 85% of customers’ purchasing decisions. And because 93% of consumers make purchasing decisions based on visuals alone, you need to make the right color and graphics choices from the beginning. If you’re wondering how to use color and graphics to your advantage, check out our in-depth guide.

Typography and Text

Besides color and graphics, typography and text can dramatically influence your sales. Your typography — typefaces, point sizes, line lengths, line spacing, and letter spacing — must work cohesively with the colors and graphics you have chosen. A pleasing design attracts consumers to your product and can aid in sales.

The words you write on your labels are just as important as the typography. Your text should foster emotional connections, build trust, and differentiate your brand from the competition. That way, a consumer will be more likely to buy your product rather than a competitor’s.

Finishing Options

Different finishing options can give your pressure sensitive labels a unique look that’s more likely to draw in consumers. Specialty finishes aren’t always necessary, but they can accentuate your products for enhanced shelf appeal and protect them from environmental hazards.

Your finishing options range from high gloss to high matte. High gloss varnishes deliver a bright, durable finish with eye-catching reflectivity. Matte finishes give a softer, more muted design, which is common for premium or luxury products. If you want something in-between those two options, you could go with a semi-gloss finish.

Need to Design Pressure Sensitive Labels? Work with an Experienced Label Manufacturer

The easiest way to design pressure sensitive labels is to work with an experienced label manufacturer. They know what works and what doesn’t, which saves you time and money in the long run. If you’re ready to get started, reach out to a company like DRG Technologies.

DRG Technologies is a leading label products and solutions manufacturer headquartered in Safford, Arizona. We have two sales and logistics facilities in Mexico, which allows us to service the label needs for businesses across North America. Every day, our team is hard at work identifying industry-leading solutions that help our partners streamline their production, reduce costs, consolidate supplier bases, and deliver better products.

We have over 30 years of experience, extensive equipment, a UL certification, and a relentless commitment to solving our customers’ greatest supply chain challenges. We’ve helped countless companies with their label needs and we’re ready to do the same for you.

Let’s Get Started

Ready to learn more about what we can do for you? Reach out to our team today.