What is 4 color process printing?

Four color process printing is a system where a color image is separated into four different colors: cyan, magenta, yellow and black. These four separations are then transferred onto printing plates, each plate containing only the image of one of the four colors. When each plate transfers ink from the plate to the substrate the full color image is reproduced, resulting in a near photo quality image.

Why is label quality important?

There is something to be said regarding the old adage “you get what you pay for.” Customers often decide on one brand or product over another based solely on the look of the label. Whatever the product, your label should convey what you want people to notice about your specific product. In today’s market it has to just about jump off the shelf at consumers. The presentation of your product can make or break your success with that product. Your label needs to get the product picked up and purchased!

A quality label should look great and last the life of the product, whether that is 1 day or 1 year, so when you are designing the “look” of your label, care should be given to the stock it prints on, the finish you choose and the adhesive you pick to keep that label on.

For more information please see Stocks and Adhesives, or call us at 978-463-4004 to get your questions answered. We want to get it perfect the first time!

Rewind Directions

Use these illustrations to determine if your labels need to be outwound or inwound, and to find the corresponding rewind number:


When setting up your label special attention should be given to the rewind direction if the label will be automatically applied. The rewind direction must be compatible to the particular applicator being used. If the applicator is applying labels to bottles for instance, they would require a rewind position of #3, right edge off first or #4, left edge off first. If your labels are being hand applied the rewind direction may not be as important at this time, however, plan for the future when they will be applied automatically and you will be all set, instead of having to redo plates and tooling to accommodate a new position.


There are a thousand different stocks to choose from when deciding which one suits your label. Consider getting the fundamentals down and then decide with your printer which specific stock is right for you. Below are a few categories to get moving in the right direction.


Typically, shorter shelf life, rigid, should be laminated or varnished to protect the label.

  • Gloss
  • Semi-Gloss
  • Litho- Matte
  • Thermal Transfer
  • Direct Thermal
  • Fluorescent
  • Silver Lam Foils
  • Gold Lam Foils
  • Tag Stocks


Typically, longer shelf life, possibly harsh environment, durable, some squeezable, can be laminated or varnished.

  • Polyolefin squeezable white and clear
  • Polypropylenes squeezable white and clear
  • Bopps Rigid white and clear
  • Metalized polypropylene
  • Ultra Clear
  • Polyesters
  • Vinyl
  • Thermal Transfer Films
  • Direct Thermal Films


Choosing the correct adhesive is as important as choosing the correct stock. When you place your label on your product you want one of four things to happen; you may want it to stay on your product permanently, be removable or repositionable, be tamper evident, or to dissolve. There are many formulations of adhesives made to accommodate most applications. The following list of adhesive features and capabilities should cover the majority of circumstances you may encounter.

  • General Purpose
  • Aggressive Quick Tack
  • Irregular Surfaces
  • High Peel Performance
  • High Temperature Resistance
  • Outdoor Applications
  • Cold Temperatures
  • Food Contact
  • Moisture Resistance
  • Wet Stick
  • Fabrics
  • Repositionable
  • Removable
  • Waxy
  • Corrugated
  • Glass
  • Low Surface Energy
  • Sterilization Suitable

Please discuss your adhesive requirements with your sales representative or feel free to call us for more information.

Die-Cutting & Finishing

There are a wide variety of dies that can be used when manufacturing a label, the style you choose will depend on how your label will be used and applied.

The most common method of cutting labels is a die cut. Die cut labels can come in any shape, i.e. round corner rectangles (rcr), circles, square corner rectangle, ovals, starbursts and just about any special shape you can come up with.

Die cut Pin Fed Labels are labels with the addition of pin feed holes cut into the liner for use with a dot matrix printer.

Butt Cut Labels are rectangular square cornered labels separated from each other by a single straight blade cut. There are no gaps or extra liner around the label.

Sheeted labels can be pressure sensitive or non pressure sensitive.

Non pressure sensitive labels are supplied in stacks either shrink wrapped, bound, bagged or supplied in an approved carton. Some sheeted tags use an air eject die to remove the hole.

Pressure sensitive labels, (labels with adhesive) can again be any shape but are supplied on individual sheets, generally with the matrix removed for easier application.

The most common presentation of labels is rolls. Labels are spooled onto a core with a preset amount. You can request the number of labels you prefer on a roll or the Max OD, (outside diameter) your equipment can handle.