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With all label creation, there are three common elements: label printer, label design software and labels. Depending on your label application, you may also require ink consumables (ribbons) for print longevity.
Generally speaking, the best practice for labelling is to purchase blank labels (or pre-printed labels if colour is required) and then overprint your variable data or barcodes through a label (thermal) printer in house.
Owning your own label printer enables flexibility to print short runs or make changes to your data on demand, and is a much more scalable option than outsourcing printed labels.
Label design software such as BarTender is then used to create your label templates. All Toshiba label printers come with a free version of BarTender as standard. BarTender is a global leader in barcoding and label design software and has exceptional functionality. Whether you require full print automation or simple e-commerce labels, as a global partner of BarTender, Toshiba have a perfect license for you to create label templates and generate barcodes.
Once you have settled on a label design, it is important to consider the label substrate as the substrate often affects the finished print quality. For example, if your label design has fine fonts, it is not recommended to choose a rough paper stock as there are dips and valleys on the surface which make it difficult to print clear, defined edges. A coated or semi-gloss paper may be more appropriate. Your label maker should be able to provide you a sample to review.
There are also performance differences between the print technologies (thermal transfer or thermal direct) which can enhance your print.
CONSIDER YOUR LABEL ELEMENTS
|THERMAL PRINT TECHNOLOGIES|
|THERMAL TRANSFER||THERMAL DIRECT|
|Fine fonts||Some ribbons specialise in fine printing and produce good results even at 200DPI resolution. Good alternative to purchasing a higher resolution printer.||When using direct thermal labels, it is recommended to use a 300DPI label printer to achieve fine printing.|
|Images||Image sharpness typically is better using thermal transfer, as the ribbon is able to release ink quickly. However, large images are not recommended (as it causes bleeding of print)||Generally, images may appear grainy when printing with direct thermal (as this method physically burns pixel dots on a label) however this can be overcome with a 300DPI label printer.|
|Large fonts||Ribbons produce very solid, dark prints when printing large fonts. Particularly flat head ribbons.||Thermal direct is effective at printing large prints however typically the print appears greyer compared to a ribbon print.|
Getting the right combination of label, consumable ribbons and label printer can be tricky – that’s why we have written our 10 part series “Everything you need to know about label printing”. Click here to read more.
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Contact your label printer specialist on 1300 792 202 to see how we can transform your labelling experience.