We review the elements of label print quality using our new equipment to help you understand, compare and evaluate options.
The quality of label printing significantly influences the overall appeal and effectiveness of the product. For ourselves, and our print resellers, it also has an effect on reputation and customer satisfaction. As such, label print quality should never be an afterthought. Producing high quality stickers and labels, for whatever application a customer requires, can be a real boon for business.
What to Consider When it Comes to Label Print Quality
When considering print quality for labels and stickers, several factors come to play. We’ve addressed some key considerations in a sample print run on our new addition, the Durst Tau 330 RSC E to highlight these for you.
So let’s get into it…
Resolution: The Foundation of Label Print Quality
Perhaps the biggest consideration of any print job is resolution. Stickers and labels are no exception. Getting sharp imagery and legible text means using the right equipment and technology for the application.
When it comes to labels, you generally want a high DPI (Dots Per Inch) count and small drop size. The higher the DPI the more nuance you can give designs, and the smaller drop size the less dot gain occurs – leading to crisp print details.
The Durst Tau 330 RSC E boasts a resolution of 1200dpi and a 2 picoliter drop size. That combination results in a market-leading label print quality. Just check out the quality sheet below. It’s an A4 paper showcasing ‘worst case’ scenarios, pushing a machine to its least effective print mode. Design details still pop and the varying elements don’t bleed into each other.
Legibility of Small Text
Small text has always been a tricky element to print clearly. On par with colour richness and image resolution, text issues are the most noticeable label print quality defects. Naturally, a majority of label and sticker printing jobs require small text. You don’t want packaging and branding details being missed – especially in applications that fall under strict regulations.
The smaller you can print text, the more you can play around with text on a design. Plus, the more peace-of-mind you’ll have of information being accessible to the end audience.
Taking this to the extreme, we’ve been able to print text on the Durst at 1 point size. That’s text that requires a loupe to read. This text is illegible to the naked eye, but the legibility under magnification is a testament to the printer’s precision.
Even better, italicised text also come out beautifully. Even ‘reversed out’ printing still yields good results. See the images below from our test outcomes.
When designing sticker and label printing or evaluating your printer options, these elements really open up the range of applications.
Scannability of QR Codes & Barcodes
The ability to produce legible, scannable QR codes is of great concern to printers. It’s in high demand from the customers of print resellers post-2020. That’s thanks to take up of QR code functionality and how they can be used in packaging or marketing applications.
Again, when it comes to labels, these generally need to be printed at small sizes. The clarity of the code print influences its scannability – you can’t have lines bleeding into each other.
In the above example you can see that under a loupe, the clarity of a 5mm QR code remains impeccable. This is the smallest size QR code that we have seen scan through any of our presses. Whilst not all applications will require such small sizing, it’s a testament to what’s possible using leading-edge tech. It opens up many options too for our print resellers and their customers.
Barcodes in Any Direction
This leads me to a quick note on something often overlooked – directionality of barcodes. Due to the setup of generic label printers, printing barcodes often requires a change in orientation to ensure scannability. That means compromising on design and often extra work for designers. This can lead to lower customer satisfaction and longer lead times.
With the Durst Tau 330 RSC E, we can print barcodes in any direction. That gives our customers the confidence to submit label and sticker designs knowing codes will scan perfectly.
Rich Solid Colours
Colour richness is another instantly obvious aspect of label print quality that can significantly enhance overall appeal. It’s a factor influenced by the printer’s colour reproduction capabilities, ink quality, and the interaction between the ink and the printing medium.
The Durst Tau 330 RSC E, leveraging the advanced inkjet tech we mentions before, excels in this regard. Colours are both rich and vibrant, giving printed labels a high-end, premium look and feel.
Durability and Useful Life
Many of the applications of stickers and labels require the product to maintain quality label printing over a long term. Furthermore, the products are usually regularly handled, exposed to light, and outdoor conditions.
So printing equipment that utilises ink sets specifically for these purposes, in combination with durable stock, can greatly affect useful life. Our stickers and labels are printed with UV resistant ink sets that don’t require lamination and withstand outdoor conditions for up to two years. This, of course, isn’t necessary for every use case but it provides peace-of-mind to the end user.
It also unlocks a wide range of applications in combination with custom size options (stickers of up to 1m in length), a large die library, and the aforementioned label print quality.
Our Aim for Label Print Quality
As you can see there are some clear pillars of label print quality when it comes to stickers and labels. Taking these into consideration when selecting a print partner for jobs can save you money and frustration.
At Mediapoint we’re not just addressing these concerns but pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in digital label and sticker printing. Whether it’s resolution, colour richness, readability of small text, scannability of QR codes and barcodes, or length of useful life. Our label and sticker solutions provide peace-of-mind and quality customers will love (at prices you’ll love).
We’re not just improving the quality of our customer’s labels; we’re enabling them to elevate their brand and offer an enhanced experience and wider range to customers.
If you’re a business in need, or a print reseller / broker, looking for quality label and sticker printing – put us to the test. Register for a trade account today to access exclusive pricing and online ordering.