Last Updated on February 27, 2023 by asifa
Every greatest invention must have started with an incredibly simple idea. Labelling is one of those brilliant concepts that started humbly but evolved into a billion-dollar industry. It spread like wildfire and made its way into every small and big business. But did you ever stop and think about when and where it started?
Knowing the history of a particular thing offers you a deep insight into how it worked in the past, is working in the present, and will work in the future. That is why we are going to look into the evolution of labels. We believe it will help you make an informed labelling choice for your business needs.
Let’s start with the history!
The History of Labels
It was around the year 1700 that the first known label appeared, which was for a small medical container. However, by the 18th century, every reputed winery was also printing labels for their wines.
The idea of a label was well-received, but the process of printing one was time-consuming. In 1798, two more inventions came into existence—the paper machine and the concept of lithography—that made label production more accurate and efficient.
Since then, the evolution of labels has picked up speed. In the 1830s, it became a norm to use a variety of materials for producing labels. Up to this time, there wasn’t much idea about coloured labels. Only a few were handmade for premium products. But between 1850 and 1860, labels have seen a surge in the improvement of colour printing technology.
Manufacturers have found new tools to embrace creativity and attract customers with colour-printed labels. This is when we truly understood the significance of colours in catching the eye of consumers.
Paper labels have remained mostly unchanged up until this point, with one significant exception. The self-adhesive label, the foundation of a multibillion-dollar global industry, was first created in 1935.
However, self-adhesive labels did not start to be used widely until the 1960s, thanks to advancements in new varieties of adhesives. These labels were particularly well-liked since they could be applied to various materials, including plastics, wood, cartons, glass, and metals. They were also simple to remove if necessary, unlike labels with moisture-triggered adhesives.
Finally, the first “intelligent” labels debuted in the 1970s. Labels now hold a lot of information due to the advances in electronic reading technology and new production techniques. The most well-known one is undoubtedly the bar code, which is used in virtually every business and sector and is crucial to logistics and storage.
The Present of Labels
Thanks to a well-done evolution, we now have something to market our products efficiently. Labels today are not only for conveying information but also for displaying reliability, exclusiveness and we have easy to setup Label printers.
Not to forget, the broad range of labels is another significant aspect. Taking on various forms, such as informative or pictorial, labels help producers attract customers.
Broadly speaking, there are four types of labels today.
- Brand Labelling
Brand labels are those that have the product’s brand name on them. They can either be detachable or not, but they offer information about the product’s brand. Examples are the labels on clothes and soap brands like Dove, Olay, and others.
- Informative Labels
These labels include information about the product, such as the name of the producer, the date of manufacturing and expiration, intermediates, and further usage instructions.
For instance, informational labels are more thorough than those that are descriptive.
- Descriptive Labels
Most of the information on descriptive labels relates to how to utilise the product, including features, care, safety, storage, and others. These are also employed for goods with grades that are indistinguishable.
- Grade Labels
The last type is grade labels, which discuss the characteristics and aspects of the product. Some items include them, whereas others don’t. It displays the product’s grade or quality in numeric, alphabetic, or linguistic form.
Grade examples include—[A, B, C, or D] or [1, 2, 3, or 4] or even [Good, Better, or Best]
The Future of Labels
Now looking into the future, the prominence of labels is even brighter. There are more and more next-gen technologies are shaping as we speak. Some of the best next-generation technologies that are going to revolutionise the labelling industry are as follows:
It means introducing automatic equipment in a process to improve efficiency and discourage human errors. Automation has entered many industries, including labelling.
With automated label printing, producers can provide shorter and faster print runs. They also have more possibilities for customisation. So, many businesses are investing in automation technologies.
Examples are management information systems with colour performance software and a fully automated finishing line set-up.
- Lightweight Formats
Weight plays a key role in product packaging and labelling. Labels may contribute significantly less compared to other elements, but they still matter. For instance, products with metal or glass packaging may weigh substantially more than paper.
Thus, manufacturers are designing labels with thinner and smaller labels. Latest advancements in material science helped decrease the label’s weight and volume without compromising its strength.
This enables manufacturers to use longer rolls and achieve more labels from a single roll.
- Recyclable Labels
Sustainability is taking the front seat in every industry these days. Labels are no different. It’s useful to have recyclable labels; because if a label is not recyclable, the packaging also becomes unrecyclable. This creates huge piles of waste that end up in landfills.
- Anti-Counterfeit Ideas
Counterfeited goods are a huge issue, be it for pharmaceuticals, electronics, or some other industry. This can bring huge losses. Thus, manufacturers are introducing many security measures to fight it. They are, in fact, constantly in search of new ideas.
For example, producers use special glues to make the labels harder to peel. Some wineries are using integrated QR codes to verify the product’s authenticity.
Looking for a Label Partner?
Producing elegant and efficient labels is only possible when you have the right label partner. If you are in search of one, check out DAL. They conduct everything related to label printing, from Zebra printers to thermal printers, with much care and attention.