If you're ambitious and reach for the sky, you must be clear.

Clear on your goals. Clear headed. Clear labels.

As a brand owner or product manager, you either need to stand out, or you need to re-inforce dominance in your market to increase consumer mind share.

Clear labels help you do that.

Sure. Opaque labels are great, we love them, we print millions of them, but there is something special about the latest trends in drink packaging leaning towards clear.

With more and more companies focused on the craft mindset of high-quality, local, and sustainable, it's no surprise that passion translates to more advanced labels.

Gloss clear drink label on a bottle with trees, mountains, lake, and clouds.
Photo Credit: Kindred Cultures

In this post we're going to show you how to choose the right clear label by talking all about a) the 3 benefits of clear labels and b) the technology of clear labels, gloss and matte

Whatever road you choose, gloss or matte, this article is about the overall advantages of clear labels, and the "no-label look".

What are the 3 benefits of clear labels?

1. Beauty | Aesthetics

2. Trust | Transparency

3. Confidence | Perception

Beauty | Aesthetics

Never underestimate the power of beauty and aesthetics.

If your product is colourful like the water kefir by Kindred Cultures, you can't waste the opportunity to show it off. The positive psychological effects of simple, attractive design with the right colour selection is a well known phenomenon.

Your label design aesthetic must represent a mixture of the brand identity and your actual product.

In the above case with Kindred, we used a gloss clear label with simple white text to accentuate the bright colours of their product line.

But with Plant Veda below, we used a multi colour print, still on a gloss clear label to provide vibrant, vivid, and sharp images to accentuate this darker nut milk.

Dairy Free vegan cashew vanilla creamer being poured into a coffee.
Photo Credit: Plant Veda

Trust | Transparency

Consumers have more trust when they know exactly what they're getting.

No surprises, please and thank you.

It's a trend. The need for greater business transparency has been in play for many years and it isn't going away. The proliferation of information has made it such that we second guess everything.

Again. It's psychological. By having less of the beverage obstructed by printed colour, the natural look of the product stands out, and we know what's there.

Confidence | Perception

Have nothing to hide.

By not covering your drink with an opaque label, you're putting it on display.

We know, clear labels are an investment, but they elevate the perception of your product. It's proven that customers are willing to pay extra for greater quality.

The technology of clear labels, gloss and matte

Now  you know why clear labels are trending in the beverage industry, so, let's talk about the technical side.

Colourful drink bottles with clear custom waterproof labels sitting on a park bench
Photo Credit: Kindred Cultures

What are they made out of?

Clear labels are a type of plastic polymer, one known as BOPP. (Biaxially Oriented Polypropylene)

This is a fancy name for something that most people would call vinyl or paper. "Biaxially oriented" means the plastic is stretched in two directions when it's made. This is what makes it strong, flexible, and clear. You can read more about BOPP on another blog post of ours.

Glossy clear labels

Clear gloss labels are 100% see through. The gloss finish on top is what enhances the material enough to keep it crystal clear.

The Look. Shiny. Reflective.

The Colours. Large. Out-there.

The Use. Having that "no label-look" is an elegant way to suggest luxury and sophistication in food and beverage. Clear labels also work well on shipping boxes, as a way to brand it with the appearance of your box being printed.

The Feel. Gloss has a wax-like touch. Silky. Similar to a photograph.

Matte clear labels

Matte gloss labels are translucent. You can see through them but there's a frosted finish, something used in windows. Parchment paper is also similar in that way.

The Look. Non-reflective. Frosted, we call it a muted overlay. Still looks natural.

The Colours. More subdued, soft. Feels rich with a velvet-like nature.

The Use. Generally best on containers that have matte and muted finishes.

The Feel. Smooth and soft touch.

Hand sanitizer with matte clear label sitting beside an iMac and mouse

So in the end, which one do I choose?

The answer is never black or white. It's grey.

Gloss labels feel more outwardly luxurious.

Matte labels feel subtly sophisticated.


The question is, what description best matches your brand and product?

We're here to help you. Contact your label expert today to work towards your goals or give us a call toll-free 1 877 772 5876.

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