Face materials is the term given to any paper, film, fabric, laminate or foil suitable for converting into self-adhesive labels. Here is our guide to some of the most frequently used label materials.


Standard papers
BOCKOUT: A paper which prevents “show-through” from below as it is used to cover incorrect barcodes or text on retail packaging. Typically supplied with a gloss or semi-gloss finish.

COATED: General term applying to all papers which have been surface coated to impart certain qualities, including weight and surface gloss, smoothness or ink absorbency. The most common options are semi-gloss or high-gloss.

CAST COAT: A high-gloss enamel finish used on a face material.

DIGITAL PAPER: This is used with digital inkjet printers using water- or pigment-based inks. This paper can be gloss or matt.

COPIER PAPER: Created to be as flat as possible before being printed, but then very pliable while passing through the photocopier or printer. It must ensure optimal printing quality on devices from many manufacturers as well as excellent toner keying. Available in a wide range of print finishes.

UNCOATED: General term applying to all papers which have not been surface-treated. The papers will be more matt, and absorb more ink.  The paper will look more natural, and you will be able to write on it.

Direct thermal

A printing technique where pixels on a printhead are heated and cooled in order to print. The heat changes the colour of the surface of the direct thermal paper to black. Black is the only colour option. Direct thermal printing is an efficient solution for printing variable price, weight, or batch information labels as no printing ribbon is needed.

THERMAL ECONOMY: White thermal paper without protective surface coat.

THERMAL TOP COAT: White thermal paper with protective top and reverse coat.

Special papers

DISSOLVABLE: White, uncoated, water soluble paper suitable for thermal transfer and all other print systems. Water based inks are recommended.

FLUORESCENT: Coloured labels attract attention and are ideal for promotion and advertising labels as well as hazard labels and self-adhesive warning signs. Available in orange, red, green, yellow, magenta and chrome.

METALLIC. A cost-effective face materials for applications where a luxury label with a metallic look is required. This can be gold or silver, matt or bright.

Synthetic films

Synthetic films should be used when producing durable, weather-proof, chemical-resistant, glossy or transparent labels. They can be top-coated or non top-coated, strong or pliable, and even seawater-resistant.

POLYETHYLENE (PE): Due to its natural flexibility this product is especially suitable for labelling plastic bags, squeezable bottles and other flexible containers. When matched with the correct adhesive, this includes items such as Ice cream tubs.  Can be supplied in matt or gloss white, matt clear or bright silver.

POLYPROPYLENE (PP): A more rigid material that can be used for a wide range of applications. Suitable for long term outdoor use, it is scratch and chemical resistant and commonly used for hazard warning labels. As with PP can be supplied in matt or gloss white, matt clear or bright silver.

POLYVINYL CHLORIDE (PVC): A highly durable and very thin material with excellent resistance to acids, water and organic solvents. Excellent for outdoor use.