A key decision when decorating your product is whether you should print or label your packaging. Both printing and labelling have pros and cons, which I will touch on in this article. Although there are many factors to consider when you are deciding whether to print or label, such as your artwork and what quantities you are after.



Printing can really show off your product and impresses the consumer, as you have not just got a bottle and stuck a label on it.

There are different types of printing that is used direct onto the package. At Weltrade Packaging we specialise in silk screen printing onto bottles and jars, and on tubes we can also offer offset printing and flexographic printing if needed.

Printing directly onto packaging makes the design much more durable in wet areas such as bathrooms, showers etc. but also stands up well to repeat handling.

We only use UV inks in our screen printing process so that is more resistant to chemicals and sets quickly to the surface of the bottle or jar.

In terms of cost, printing can be really cost effective as you don’t have an additional application cost of a label, however printing is charged on a per colour basis so the more colours you end up putting in your design, it may be more cost effective to label the product.

There are a couple of disadvantages to printing

1.   Rejects, you can expect tyo have a reject rate of 2% per colour, therefore expensive packaging items containing a 3 or 4 colour print, the reject rate could end up adding 8% to the overall packaging cost. At Weltrade Packaging we absorb this reject rate for you and only charge for what you receive.

2.   Registration, unlike digital printing, the registration of colours or alignment of colours has a tolerance of ± 0.5mm to 1mm which means if you are placing colours up against each other in the design, you can get some with overlapping and others with a gap throughout the print run. This is where a good packaging designer is worth the investment to ensure your design is created with the end output in mind.

3.   Set up costs, most printers will charge additional costs for film, screens and other set up charges. While we cover the cost of these for you when you deal with Weltrade Packaging, it is something to bear in mind.



The main alternative to printing your packaging is to label it. Labelling is a great option in the right application.

One of the key benefits is that it gives you great flexibility over your inventory. For example, you can buy the minimum order of packaging and labels, but only apply the labels as needed. So, if one of your items outsells the other you can quickly order more labels to suit without necessarily having to order more packaging.

Sometimes it is the design that dictates labelling is the way to proceed. In the beauty and wellness space many brands like to include high detail images of key ingredients and to get an accurate representation of the image a digital printed label will get the best result.

Things to consider when labelling

1.   Application cost; will you have to pay to get the labels applied, and what is the cost to do this per side? If your filler offers to do this for you what is the potential reject cost and wastage cost for labels destroyed in setting up the labelling machine. If you are labelling tubes, which involves applying a label to a flexible surface, expect the application and wastage cost to increase significantly.

2.   Should you decide to have the labels had applied, this will take a lot of time to ensure the labels are straight and there are no air bubbles trapped under the label.

3.   Stock, what type of material do you want your labels printed on, paper, vinyl, clear or coloured, matte or gloss? Remembering that paper while significantly cheaper will not stand up to wet contact. Vinyl is much better in this situation, but can also have the corners peeling away slightly getting that “dog-eared” look.

Overall it depends on your company and what position you are in to determine if you want to print or label your product. As always, we are here to help you, so don’t hesitate to reach out.