Custom labels are a crucial component of product packaging and marketing. Not only do they convey essential information about the product, but they also provide a visual representation of the brand. One way to make your custom labels stand out is by adding embellishments. In this guide, we will explore different types of embellishments in custom label production, including foil stamping, direct print on metallic silver stock, embossing, spot varnishing, high build via screen printing, and many others.

Foil Stamping

Foil stamping is a technique that adds a layer of metallic foil to the surface of the label using heat and pressure. The foil is transferred to the label through a die or stamp that is made from a custom design. The die is heated, and the foil is placed between the die and the label. When pressure is applied, the foil adheres to the label, creating a striking metallic and glossy effect.

Foiling is a versatile technique that can be used on different types of materials, including paper, cardboard, plastic, and fabric. It can also be combined with other embellishment techniques, such as embossing or spot varnishing, to create a unique and eye-catching label. For foiling over film we’d recommend cold foiling, and rather than on paper and fabric hot stamping technique is employed.

Direct Print on Metallic Silver Stock

Direct printing on metallic silver stock is a printing technique that involves printing directly on a metallic silver substrate. This technique creates a unique metallic effect on the label, without the need for additional embellishments such as foils or metallic inks.

This technique is achieved by printing directly onto a silver-coated paper or plastic film, which creates a reflective, metallic appearance on the label. The silver base layer enhances the overall visual appeal of the label, making it stand out from other labels.

Direct printing on metallic silver stock can be done using a variety of printing methods, including digital, flexographic, and offset printing. Digital printing is often used for small to medium print runs, while flexographic and offset printing are more suited for larger print runs.

Metallic Flexo Inks

Metallic flexo inks are a popular printing technique in custom label production that create a metallic effect on the label using ink. This technique involves printing with specially formulated metallic ink that contains metal particles, such as aluminum or bronze, that reflect light and create a shiny, metallic look.

One of the benefits of using metallic flexo inks is their ability to create a variety of metallic finishes, such as gold, silver, bronze, or copper. The intensity of the metallic effect can also be adjusted by varying the concentration of the metallic particles in the ink.

One potential downside of using metallic flexo inks is that they may not provide the same level of shine and reflectivity as foil stamping or direct printing on the metallic stock. However, they are still an excellent option for creating a metallic effect at a lower cost compared to other embellishment techniques.


Embossing is a technique that creates a raised three-dimensional effect by pressing a design or text onto the surface of the label. This method is commonly used to create a premium and elegant look on the label, giving it a tactile and luxurious feel. Embossing can be done on different materials, including paper, and cardboard tag material.

One of the benefits of embossing is its versatility. It can be done in a variety of shapes and sizes, from small accents to large, detailed designs. Additionally, embossing can be combined with other techniques, such as foil stamping or spot varnishing, to create a more complex and visually appealing label design.

Spot Varnishing

Spot varnishing involves applying glossy or matte varnish to a specific area of the label design. This technique is often used to highlight certain elements of the label design, such as the brand logo or product name, and can create a subtle, yet eye-catching effect.

Spot varnishing is typically done using a printing press at a dedicated flexo station that applies the varnish to the label substrate. The varnish can be applied in different thicknesses, allowing for different levels of gloss or matte effect on the label. It can also be used in combination with other embellishment techniques, such as foil stamping or embossing, to create a more complex and visually appealing label design.

High Build via Screen Printing

High build via screen printing is a technique where a thick ink layer is applied on the label using a screen printing press. This method is ideal for creating a raised and textured look on the label, giving it a 3D effect. High build via screen printing can be used on different materials and can be combined with other embellishments, such as foil stamping or embossing.

High Build via UV Varnish + Embossing

High build via UV varnish + embossing is a combination of UV varnish and embossing to create a raised and glossy effect on the label. The UV varnish is applied to specific areas of the label, creating a contrasting effect. The embossing process is then done on the varnished areas, creating a raised and textured look.

Grains & Textures

Grains and textures are a custom label production technique that involves adding a tactile or visual texture to the label design. This technique is often used to create a unique and interesting label that stands out on store shelves.

One of the benefits of grains and textures is their ability to create a unique and interesting label design that can help products stand out on crowded store shelves. These techniques can also create a tactile sensation that can enhance the product's perceived value and quality.

Specialty Inks

Specialty inks are a custom label production technique that involves using inks with unique visual or functional properties. These inks can be used to enhance the visual impact of the label design, add a tactile sensation, or provide functional benefits, such as resistance to UV light or water.

There are many types of specialty inks available for custom label production, including metallic inks, fluorescent inks, glow-in-the-dark inks, thermochromic inks, photochromic inks, and many more. Metallic inks can be used to create a metallic finish on the label, while fluorescent inks can create a bright, eye-catching effect. Glow-in-the-dark inks can add a fun and playful element to the label design, while thermochromic inks can change color when exposed to heat, creating an interactive and engaging label design.

Variable Data

Variable data is a custom label production technique that involves the use of unique and personalized data for each label produced. This technique allows for the production of labels with different data on each label, such as unique serial numbers, barcodes, QR codes, or even varying imagery elements per label.

Variable data is often used in industries where traceability or authenticity is critical, such as pharmaceuticals, food and beverage, and electronics. By printing unique serial numbers or barcodes on each label, products can be tracked and traced throughout their entire lifecycle, providing a higher level of security and authenticity.

Variable data can also be used to personalize labels for each recipient or customer, allowing for targeted and effective marketing campaigns. For example, a food company can print unique QR codes on each label that leads to personalized recipe ideas or promotional offers when scanned, creating a more engaging and personalized experience for the consumer.

Brand Security

Brand security is a custom label production technique that involves adding security features to the label design to prevent counterfeiting or tampering. Brand security is critical for industries where product authenticity and safety are essential, such as pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and luxury goods.

One of the most common techniques used in brand security is the use of holographic labels. Holographic labels are produced using a special process that creates a three-dimensional effect on the label, making it difficult to replicate. The holographic label may also include a pattern or text that changes in appearance when viewed from different angles, making it even harder to duplicate.

Another example would be to use exclusive patented psa VOID material that self decompose or leave VOID/special patterns on the surface upon tampering with the label, hence securing the integrity of the product.

Ventricular Watermarking

Ventricular watermarking is a custom label production technique that involves embedding a watermark into the label design. Unlike traditional watermarks that are visible when the label is held up to the light, ventricular watermarks are embedded within the label design and are only visible when viewed under a specific light source.

This technique involves using a special tool that creates a channel or "ventricle" within the label material, which can only be seen when the label is viewed under a specific light source. The ventricular watermark can be used to add security and authenticity to the label, as it is nearly impossible to replicate or counterfeit.

Micro Text

Micro text is a custom label production technique that involves printing small text that is difficult to read without magnification. This text is often incorporated into the design of the label and can be used for security and authentication purposes, as it is difficult to replicate.

Micro text is commonly used in industries where product safety and authenticity are critical, such as in pharmaceuticals, electronics, and currency. By including micro text on the label design, manufacturers can ensure that their products are easily identifiable and difficult to counterfeit.

The text can be printed using a variety of printing techniques, including digital printing and flexographic printing. In addition, the text can be printed in various colors, making it even more difficult to replicate.

Overall, custom label production techniques provide a way for manufacturers to differentiate their products, increase brand recognition, and add value to their product offerings. By working with experienced label printing companies, businesses can create high-quality, custom labels that meet their specific needs and stand out in a crowded marketplace.

Altro Labels is always looking to help companies of all sizes maximize their impact with labels that solve all your problems - quality control, cost, and turnaround time.

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