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I'm New To Label Ordering, Where Do I Start?

Here at NCP we understand that a lot more goes into ordering and manufacturing labels than the average person would think, so we take care to make sure and ask all the right questions up front so that your product comes to you right the first time.

First of all, it is generally helpful if you already have usable artwork, but if not, no need to worry, we can still help. Next, in order for us to provide a quote we will need to know your label dimensions, colors, quantity, and end use environment. There will be additional questions that we need to ask along the way, but those basics are a good start.

We recommend browsing through our other FAQs and just getting familiar with printing terms and concepts to help aid in your understanding of what goes into label making.

Finally, give us a call! 865-675-8490. We are looking forward to helping you.

What Is The Minimum Number Of Labels I Have To Order?

At NCP we enjoy being able to help companies that may need small quantities of labels now, but still be able to assist when the requirements grow to larger amounts. Our minimums can vary depending on the type of printing required. We can print as few as 1 or 2 labels on the digital press or thermal transfer printers (including Reemay labels.) However, for all other types of printing and products our minimum orders vary depending on multiple factors. Call us to discuss your project and we can advise the best printing method as well as what your minimum order would be.

What Size Labels Do You Print?

We have a large array of dies in house that come in a variety of shapes and sizes ranging from very small to large. In some cases, if you require a special shape or size that we do not have available, we can custom order a die to meet your specific need (there is an additional charge.) Dies are used for flexo printing jobs, but if we print digitally or on a thermal transfer printer, we can print almost whatever size you need. Reemay labels are limited to a 4.5″ width, but length can be cut to your exact specifications.

What Kind Of Materials Can You Print On?

The possibilities are truly limitless: papers, cardstock, Tyvek, polyester, polypropylene, plastic, vinyl, Reemay, and more. The materials used depend on what is being labeled, the specific performance requirements, and also the environmental factors your product will be exposed to. We can design a custom label construction for your product by manipulating face stocks, adhesives, laminations, varnishes, and inks. Whether you already have an engineering drawing with materials specified or it is a brand new project, we can help.

What Is The Difference Between Digital Print Vs. Flexo Print?

Flexography or flexo printing involves using flexible printing plates (made from rubber or plastic) and metal dies to cut out shapes. The plates have a slightly raised surface that gets inked and rotates on a cylinder to transfer ink to material. Each color requires a plate, so depending on your label multiple plates may be required. The printed material moves along the press to the die cutting station where the shape of the label is cut out and is finally wound onto rolls for the inspection and rewind station. Flexo printing is best used for label runs on larger quantities and a greater variety of materials can be used on flexo presses. For flexo jobs, there is a one-time plate(s) charge for each printing plate required and occasionally a die charge if we do not have a particular size or shape in house.

In contrast, digital printing is run on a digital press where no plates or dies are required. Rather, the press operator enters the specific information and uses digital proofs on a computer which communicates the label specifications to the press and die cut station to run the label order. Digital printing is ideal for smaller runs and for jobs that have very detailed artwork or multiple cuts or colors. Piece price per label tends to be higher with digital, but if you are requiring a small order and want to save on die and plate charges this is a great alternative.

What Is 4 Color Process?

When a color photo or intricate artwork needs to be printed flexographically, the image has to be reproduced as different sized dots that are yellow, magenta, cyan, and black. This is called color separation and 4 printing plates are made-one for each color. Although each color is printed separately on the press, when printed on top of each other, they create the full-color image.

What Are Unwind Directions And Why Do They Matter?

Unwind directions describe the label orientation as it is unwound from a roll. Labels can come off rolls either on the outside of a roll (see options 1-4) or on the inside of a roll (options 5-8). Depending on the die used you will have a choice of labels to come off either top or bottom first (wind chart 1 or 2; or 5 or 6) or left or right side first (wind chart 3 or 4; or 7 or 8). If labels are hand applied then wind chart should not matter, however, if a label dispenser is being used we will need to know the required label orientation for your dispenser to work properly.

What Are PMS Colors?

PMS (Pantone Matching System) colors allow for highly standardized color matching systems. PMS color booklets are used across the printing industry to ensure using the exact color the customer requires on every order and reorder. Slight color variation can occur due to the material being printed on (for example if it is coated, uncoated or has a laminate on top), but colors should be fairly accurate. Also, digital proofs cannot be used to verify color matches, the PMS color book is the best guide to determine the color you want since computer screens distort colors slightly.

What Type Of Artwork Files Do You Accept?

While we prefer vector or illustrator artwork files, if you do not have artwork readily available we can create some designs in house, and others we can have it re-created for a fee.


Application temperature

Service temperature rang

Kind of dispensing (auto, hand applied, etc.)


Necessary substrate the label is applied to

Custom print type / process

Plan to apply indoor / outdoor, wet / dry (environment)