Exploring the important role stock choice plays in the success of a label project

Achieving special effects is an Amherst Label specialty. Holographic foil married with clear stock makes for magical effects

There’s a lot to a label… beyond the visible printed image. Sometimes the best way to get the label of your dreams is to exercise stock options. Pardon that pun, but label stock choices can make a big difference in the appearance and function of a label. Stock is to labels as paper is to printing. But there are many other options besides paper when it comes to labels.

If choosing stocks were like ordering from a restaurant menu, the “cheeseburger,” or default go-to, would be coated paper stock. Starting from there, if increased durability is required, a lamination may be recommended. Or switching to BOPP (biaxially-oriented polypropylene is the next move to increase water-resistance and durability. Polypropylene stocks add durability but also add about 40% to the stock cost, which can be 30-50% of the job cost. So the decision is important. 

How do you know which stock to choose?

According to Sales Manager Nye Hornor, “Most people have an idea of what they want.” So that is the starting place. But things can get interesting.

Old Settler Cider in Alstead, NH, achieves a wonderful earthy look with brown craft label stock. Award-winning beer labels open new horizons in printing and stock choices, including using “estate stocks.” Estate stocks can be like traditional papers used in offset printing, where, as the saying goes, the paper is a big part of the picture.

Brown craft stock makes a beautiful cider label.
Custom label stock options
“Estate stocks” can create a unique label look and feel for a brand.

After our “stocked stock,” the most commonly used materials, there is a world of choices. For example, Nye points out, “We do a great job with customer-supplied stock—for labels and for flexible packaging. Customers ask us to use special materials or even proprietary materials, and we profile them and work to achieve the desired outcome.”

Custom label stock samples

“When customers are looking for something outside the box, we send samples,” explains Nye. Printed label samples and stock samples help customers imagine their labels turning out just as they picture them.

The printed surface is one conversation; the adhesive is the next. Permanent adhesive is most common, but removable adhesives are excellent for some applications. (Another pun.) More about adhesives.

Custom beer labels with special stock options, finishes and treatments

For craft beer labels, white BOPP, silver BOPP or even clear BOPP are popular. For nutraceutical labels, sometimes a “no-label” look is appealing. (Another pun?) The no-label-look is achieved using a clear stock printed with opaque colors and applied to a package like a bottle so the bottle looks like it is printed. 

Achieving special effects is an Amherst Label specialty. Holographic foil married with clear stock makes for magical effects, for example (see blue label above). 

Adding a tactile varnish or laminate can make a plain stock look and feel like it has texture. 

Sometimes, to get the ink adhesion needed, we pretreat stock or flo-coat a color. The possibilities are limited only by the collective imaginations of Amherst Label’s label experts and our customers. Which means, that with all the stock options available, there is no limit to what can be achieved. 

Where to begin?

Call us or email and we’ll put you in touch with a creative, problem-solving stock specialist. We’ll be sure you get the samples you need to make an informed decision about your stock and your labels.