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The Pressure Sensitive Labels Guide: Advantages and Disadvantages

Whether you’re in the shipping and logistics industry or product manufacturing, the right label can make all the difference. Enter pressure sensitive labels–a versatile, widely used solution that has transformed the way products are presented. From enhancing product visibility to providing a platform for creative branding, pressure sensitive labels have become invaluable to just about every industry. 

Even if you don’t know exactly what a pressure sensitive label is, you’ve almost certainly come across numerous labels of this variety in your day-to-day life. These labels can be seen on products, shelves, shipping containers, packages, and more across the world. 

Whatever industry you’re in, you can likely benefit from pressure sensitive labels. Read on to learn what pressure sensitive labels are, how they work, when to use them, and more as we dive deep into these versatile labels. 

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Warehouse Labels

What Is a Pressure Sensitive Label?

A pressure sensitive label is a type of self-adhesive label that sticks to surfaces when pressure is applied. It’s commonly used in a wide variety of industries for product labeling, packaging, and branding because it’s so versatile. Pressure sensitive labels can be made from a variety of materials and adhesives depending on the properties needed for application. 

Some examples of pressure sensitive labels include:

  • Beverage labels
  • Household cleaning labels
  • Shipping labels
  • Warehouse shelving labels
  • Promotional labels
  • Pricing labels

How Do They Work?

What sets pressure sensitive labels apart is their ease of use. All you need to do is peel the label from the liner and apply to the application surface. When pressure is applied to the label, the adhesive forms an instant bond. There is no need to activate the adhesive with heat, water, or solvents. 

When to Use Pressure Sensitive Labels

Because of how versatile and easy to use they are, pressure sensitive labels work well for a huge variety of industries and applications. Here are some scenarios when pressure sensitive labels work well:

  • Product packaging: Pressure sensitive labels are ideal for labeling food and beverages, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and more. 
  • Promotional materials: Pressure sensitive labels can be used to promote retail products, providing an eye-catching way to communicate special offers, discounts, or product features. 
  • Barcode labels: These labels can be used to print barcodes or QR codes for easy scanning of products.
  • Shipping labels: Another common use of pressure sensitive labels is for shipping. These labels are cost-effective and can be quickly printed with variable data. 
  • Branding: Pressure sensitive labels are also a great way to create visually appealing labels that enhance brand recognition and consumer engagement. 

These are just some of the many different scenarios when you can use pressure sensitive labels. Because they can be highly customizable, pressure sensitive labels can be engineered to work in a huge number of circumstances. 

When Not to Use Them

Pressure sensitive labels are a great solution, but that doesn’t mean they work in every instance. Here are some situations where you might consider alternative label types:

  • Rough, textured, or highly contoured surfaces: Pressure sensitive labels may not adhere as well to surfaces that are not smooth and flat. Heat transfer, in-mold, or shrink sleeve labels may adhere better than pressure sensitive labels. 
  • High-speed automation: If your production line involves high-speed automation labeling processes, shrink sleeves or in-mold labels can typically be applied more quickly. 
  • Large runs: When it comes to large-scale production runs, you may want to consider a more cost effective method, such as flexographic printing directly on the package, in-mold labeling, or wet glue labeling. 

At Coast Label, we’ll work with you one-on-one to determine the right type of label for your application needs. 

What Are They Made of?

Pressure sensitive labels consist of multiple layers, which each serve a specific purpose. The primary layers include:

  1. Facestock: This is the outermost layer of the label where information, graphics, and branding are printed. It is the visible surface seen by consumers. Facestock can be made from a variety of materials, including paper, film, and foils. 
  2. Adhesive layer: The adhesive layer is responsible for the label’s pressure sensitivity. It’s a sticky substance applied to the back of the facestock. When pressure is applied, the adhesive forms a bond with the surface. Adhesives are chosen depending on your specific application–whether you’re looking for permanent, removable, or repositionable labels. 
  3. Release liner: The release liner is the backing material that protects the adhesive before application. It prevents the label from sticking to itself or other surfaces prematurely. When ready to apply the label, you simply peel off the release liner to expose the adhesive. 
  4. Topcoat: A topcoat is an optional layer seen on some pressure sensitive labels. This protective coating makes the label more durable and resistant to environmental factors and wear and tear. 

These layers work together to create a label that is easy to apply, visually appealing, and functional in various environments. The specific materials used for each layer can be customized to engineer a label that works well for its intended application. 


Pressure sensitive labels are popular for numerous applications. That’s because they come with several advantages. Here are some of the key advantages of pressure sensitive labels: 

  • Ease of application: Pressure sensitive labels are peel and stick, making them quick and simply to apply without the need for heat, water, or solvents. 
  • Material versatility: Pressure sensitive labels can be manufactured with a huge range of materials, based on your application needs and aesthetic desires. 
  • Customization: These labels are highly customizable, from color, shapes, and sizes, giving you the option for unique branding. 
  • Adhesive versatility: Because there are so many types  of adhesives to choose from, these labels can adhere to a wide range of surfaces, including glass, plastic, metal, and paper. 
  • No drying time: Unlike other labeling methods, there is no drying time for pressure sensitive adhesives. This can help you increase efficiency in your production processes. 
  • No specialized equipment needed: To apply pressure sensitive labels, you don’t need any sort of specialized equipment.


Pressure sensitive labels offer numerous advantages, but it’s also important to look at some of the disadvantages of these types of labels. Here are some drawbacks of pressure sensitive labels: 

  • Bubbling: Pressure sensitive labels are easy to apply. However, if you’re not careful with the application, these labels can have unsightly bubbles or wrinkles. 
  • Susceptibility to high temperatures: Pressure sensitive labels may not perform well in environments with consistently high temperatures. The adhesive can melt, losing its effectiveness. 
  • Cost: While pressure sensitive labels are cost-effective for short runs, they can become less economical in large-scale production. 
  • Adhesive residue: When pressure sensitive labels are removed, they sometimes leave behind a residue, depending on the type of adhesive used. 

LPN Labels to Improve Logistics

Pressure Sensitive Label Materials

When designing your labels, one of the most important factors to consider is the facestock material. Pressure sensitive labels can be made from a variety of materials that each offer unique characteristics. You’ll need to consider the intended use of your labels, environmental conditions, and your aesthetic preferences. Here are some common materials used to make pressure sensitive labels: 

  • Paper: Paper labels are some of the most cost-effective, and can be used in a wide range of applications. They work best indoors because they’re not as durable as labels made from other materials. Paper labels can be matte, textured, or glossy. 
  • Film: Film labels can be made from polyester, polypropylene, or polyethylene. They are durable and resistant to tearing, moisture, and some chemicals. Films are often chosen for products that need a more durable label. 
  • Vinyl: For labels that are both flexible and durable, vinyl is a common choice. Vinyl labels can resist moisture and easily conform to curved surfaces. Because of their durability, vinyl labels are often used for outdoor applications. 
  • Foil: Using a metallic foil adds a distinctive, elegant look to your labels. These types of labels are usually chosen for premium or luxury products. 

Ways to Customize Pressure Sensitive Labels

There are numerous ways to customize pressure sensitive labels. In fact, at Coast Label, we specialize in offering a high degree of customization for all your label needs. Our state-of-the-art equipment lets us give you tons of options so that you can create the perfect labels for your needs. Whether you’re creating eye-catching labels to align with your brand identity or barcode labels for easy scanning, we have the capabilities to take care of your needs.

Here are some ways you can customize pressure sensitive labels: 

  • Material: Choosing the right material for your label application is key. Material not only impacts the durability of the label but also changes the way the label looks. We offer tons of high-quality materials to choose from and will help you pick the one that will work best for you.
  • Finish: Another way you can customize your labels is the finish. We offer matte, gloss, or textured finishes, depending on the look and the feel you are going for. 
  • Color: The color of your label is essential and can impact how noticeable your label is. If, for example, you’re designing safety labels, you’ll want to choose bold, bright colors with legible text. If you’re designing a product label, you’ll want to opt for colors that tell your brand story and catch the customer’s attention. 
  • Shape: The shape of your labels is another important factor to consider. We use both die-cutting and a special plotter cutter to offer unique label shapes, cutouts, and intricate designs. Whether you’re looking for a scalloped edge or a dramatic shape, we can do it. 
  • Embossing and debossing: If you want to elevate your products, you can add texture through embossing (which raises a design in the label) or debossing (which depresses a design in the label). This three-dimensional effect is a pretty way to catch your customer’s eye and signal luxury. 
  • Foil: Another way you can customize pressure sensitive labels is with foil stamping, which adds a metallic or reflective finish to the label. Foiling can be added to specific areas of the label to create a premium look. 
  • Clear labels: For a no-label look that showcases the product, clear labels are another way to go. Clear labels work well for products with unique shapes or vibrant colors. We offer clear labels in both glossy and matte finishes. 
  • Security labels: Another way pressure sensitive labels can be customized is with security features that clearly show when a product or piece of equipment has been tampered with. We can customize your labels with void marks, security seals, or destructible features.  

Tamper Evident Labels

Cost Savings with Pressure Sensitive Labels

The cost of your pressure sensitive labels will vary based on the materials, adhesives, and design customizations. If you’re looking to save money without compromising quality, here are some ways to reduce costs: 

  • Consider standard shapes: Standard shapes are generally more cost-effective than unique designs. That’s for a couple of reasons. First of all, because rectangles, squares, squares usually waste less material during the die-cutting process. Secondly, unique shapes typically require a new cutting die to be made, which adds to the overall cost of your labels. 
  • Choose cost-effective materials: When designing your labels, consider the cost of the facestock materials. If your label will be in high temperatures or extreme weather, it’s worth it to choose a more expensive material that will last. However, if the environment isn’t an issue, you can likely opt for a less expensive material to save money. 
  • Limit finishing options: Finishes like embossing or specialty coatings add to the label’s aesthetic appeal, but they also cost more. If you need to save money, limiting these finishes will help reduce costs. 
  • Explore bulk printing: Printing labels in larger quantities usually reduces the cost per label. If your product demands and warehouse space allow, consider ordering labels in bulk to take advantage of volume discounts. 
  • Use standard colors: Standard ink colors are usually more cost-effective than custom or specialty colors. Opting for standard colors will minimize printing costs. 
  • Minimize color variations: The more colors used in your label design, the higher the printing costs. By simplifying the color palette, you can save money while still delivering a powerful visual impact. 
  • Consider roll labels: Roll labels are often more cost-effective than sheet labels. Roll labels are efficient for high-volume applications and can be applied using automated labeling machines. Plus, roll labels are usually easy to store, saving you space. 
  • Standardize label adhesives: One major way you can save money is by using a standard adhesive. If you don’t have a specialty application, you don’t need to pay the added costs of a specialty adhesive. Our application specialists can help you determine the right adhesive to meet your application needs and budget.  

Label Design Considerations

Designing your pressure sensitive labels is about more than just the graphic features of the label. You’ll want to consider several factors to make sure your labels look good and will stay put for the applications. If your label is attractive but it peels off, it’s a waste of money. On the other hand, you also don’t want a label that stays put but cannot be read. Here are some things to consider when designing your labels: 

  1. Brand consistency: If you’re designing product labels, you’ll want to maintain consistency with your brand’s visual identity. Incorporate brand colors, logos, and fonts to reinforce brand recognition across products. 
  2. Readability: Effective labels need to be easy to read. Ensure that the text is clear and legible by choosing appropriate font styles and sizes. Consider the contrast between text and background colors. If you’re designing warning and safety labels, you may need to follow standards and regulations set by ANSI and OSHA. 
  3. Size and shape: The optimal label size and shape will depend on the product packaging. Consider how much space is available and what information needs to be included on the label. 
  4. Material: Choose a facestock material based on the product’s characteristics and the label’s intended use. Consider factors like durability, resistance to moisture, heat, or cold, and the look you want to achieve. 
  5. Graphics: Use high-quality graphics to enhance your label’s visual appeal. Ensure that the visuals align with brand and product messaging. When sending your artwork to us, use a high-quality file format, such as .AI, .PDF, or .EPS. 
  6. Legibility of barcodes: If your pressure sensitive labels include a barcode or QR code, you need to ensure that they are generated and printed clear enough to be scanned. Additionally, make sure there is enough white space around the barcode elements so that other elements don’t interfere. We have a TruCheck verification system that we use to make sure barcodes are scannable.
  7. Testing: Before finalizing the design of your pressure sensitive labels, it’s always a good idea to conduct testing so you can see how the label will look on the actual product. This will tell you whether or not you need to make any adjustments for a better fit. 
  8. Compliance: Depending on your industry, you may have to include certain features or information in your product label, such as ingredients, warnings, batch number, or expiration date. Make sure you are up to date with your industry’s regulations! 

Customized Pressure Sensitive Labels with Coast Label 

If you’re looking for pressure sensitive labels, you’ve come to the right place. At Coast Label, we specialize in creating customized labels that solve problems and add value to your business. Whether you’re looking for product labels, warehouse labels, shipping labels, or something more specialized, we can create it for you. We work with you one-on-one to ensure that your label has all the features you need for your unique business. 

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