We here at United Label have been in the label-printing business for a long time, and we’ve come across some questions and issues consistently, time and again. That’s why we created our Design Resources library–to provide some educational information about digital label printing to people before they start designing, helping smooth the process out for both them, and us. In this article, we’re going to look at one particular item that comes up quite often: the difference between waterproof and water resistant labels for packaging.
Some people use the terms “waterproof” and “water resistant” interchangeably, but in truth, they’re not the same. When it comes to digitally printed labels for packaging, this distinction becomes very important. Which option you choose affects the overall quality of your product, influencing the impression your brand makes.
To make your brand stand out and give customers a better experience, learn whether waterproof or water-resistant labels are right for your products. What you choose can make a big difference in the level of confidence customers place on your brand.
What Does It Mean To Be Waterproof?
When a label is waterproof, it is completely protected when it comes in contact with moisture, including direct exposure to water.
These types of labels hold up well, even when submerged. They will not disintegrate or peel off the product, and the ink will stand up to water without fading, smearing, or rubbing off.
What About Water Resistant?
Water-resistant labels also hold up to water, but to a lesser degree. They’re not designed to be immersed in water, but they’ll do fine when exposed to lower levels of moisture.
Labels that are water resistant will repel water and oils. While they’re not right for every application, they’re fine for many products.
Why It Matters
Knowing where your product will be stored and what elements it will be exposed to makes a difference as to whether you need fully waterproof labels, or if you can get away with using ones that are just water-resistant.
For example, shampoo and body wash labels on products that are kept in the shower need to be waterproof. Packaging labels on beverages placed in a cooler full of ice also need to be waterproof.
But labels on food items that go in the kitchen cupboard or refrigerator, and may get a little moist but not wet, should hold up even if they are just water-resistant.
The bottom line is that you want to select label materials and adhesives that will hold up to the rigors of transport and use without degrading or disintegrating.
The Right Choice For Your Digital Packaging Labels
Now that you know the real difference between waterproof and water resistant, you’re in a better position to choose the right types of labeling materials to ensure your products’ labels won’t degrade when exposed to moisture.
Think about where your product will end up. If it’s going to sit in someone’s shower, left outside in all types of weather (including rain), or placed in a cooler or swimming pool, for example, you’ll need to choose waterproof labels.
If your product will be stored on a shelf until being opened and transferred to the refrigerator, or it’s kept in a dry place in the garage, and it doesn’t matter if the packaging gets a little moist (but not drenched or soaked), then water-resistant labels are probably good enough for your needs.
Which Do I Choose?
United Label prints digital labels for all kinds of different categories and products, and we can certainly help you decide what’s right for your product. So when in doubt, talk with the supplier of your digitally printed labels — we recommend giving us a call at 973.589.6500 to get a free quote — to ensure your packaging will hold up to the rigors it’ll be exposed to. The right choice will make the difference between an unreliable label and one that both you and your customers can trust to hold up in the environment it was intended for.