Barcode Label Solutions Blog

Part 1: Finding the Right Label Solution: Surface Material & Conditions: Sometimes it Takes More Than One Label for a Solution

Posted by Kathleen

(7/09/20)   Hey, it's Kathleen - discussing factors to be aware of when finding the right label(s) for your various products with different surface materials and surface conditions.

Here's a common scenario we hear - is this your situation?

"I have several products with different surface materials and surface conditions that I'd like one label for -- one is wood, another is foam rubber, and the other is plastic." 

As part of labeling application specifications, some times we receive requests for “one label” that will work on a variety of surface materials -- for instance, raw wood, powder coated, rubber or plastic materials.  Surface materials have different surface properties. All surface materials are not alike, therefore, one label face stock/adhesive would not necessarily be a solution for all surfaces.    In addition, it’s not only the surface material that must be taken into consideration, but it’s equally important to understand all the applicable surface conditions of each surface material to determine the right label face stock and adhesive.

Surface Material

That’s why in our label questionnaire, we ask you choose “one” kind of material or surface that best describes the surface material your product is made of to which a label is to be applied to. Examples of some surface materials to choose from are: anodized, glass, metal (bare), painted, paper, plastic, powder coated, rubber, wood-raw end grain, wood-raw with grain.

If you are looking to label more than one product that has very different surfaces, it could result in two different label solutions. Not always – but most likely - especially if the materials are very different.  For instance, wood is porous. Plastic isn’t. The same label adhesive would not work on both surface materials.  Because the wood surface has more voids, pits or tiny holes, there's less surface the label is being applied.

In addition, one must also take into consideration the surface condition.

Surface Condition

Surface conditions on a surface material can be one or more of the following:  Curved, Dusty, Flat, Frosty-Frozen, Oily-greasy, Rough, Smooth, Sooty, Textured, Waxed, Wet Water. Identifying accurately all the surface conditions are critical in pin pointing the right label solution.


If you’re looking to label a variety of products, remember it is important to first, identify each of the surface materials and second, identify all of the surface conditions for each of the surface materials.  This will help to identify the specific label for the specific surface material and surface conditions. One label may not be the solution for all products – sometimes it does take more than one label solution.

Don’t be overwhelmed - we can help you identify these application specifications using our comprehensive label questionnaire that we can review together with you - contact us.


Discussed in our next blog will be other application specifications taken into consideration when finding the right label solution. Those application specifications are: 1) label life, 2) use and apply temperatures, 3) label where used, and 4) label exposure.


Tags: Factors to Consider-Finding Right Label Solution