Shrink Sleeve Label Development Process

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What You Should Know About Shrink Sleeve Labels

Shrink sleeves are a great way to increase your product’s on-shelf visibility. With 360-degree label coverage, shrink sleeves offer a lot of design space to create an eye-catching look for your product. Getting shrink sleeves, however, require some special considerations to ensure the label fits and looks great on the container. Check out our video and notes below on what you can expect during the development process.

Get more information on this unique label product in our shrink sleeve label guide!

Testing Fit:

  • Before we begin working on your shrink sleeve labels, we need to obtain 2-3 samples of the containers that the sleeve will be applied to. Don’t forget to include the caps!
  • We’ll then create a template for the sleeve based on the container coverage required and the final application method.
  • After creating this template, we apply a handmade grid film sleeve to the container. This grid film will show where the sleeve shrinks the most intensely and unevenly so the design can accommodate these graphically sensitive areas (i.e. areas on the shrink sleeve that can distort artwork if not carefully designed).
  • You should have the template and the grid film sample within 36-48 hours upon us receiving your container.

Artwork Considerations:

  • Our art team creates the art template for the shrink sleeve’s size. The graphically sensitive areas are indicated on our template to assist your graphic artist.
  • We submit the template for approval to the customer, as well as the contract packager who is applying the sleeves. This approval process is important as different application equipment have different tolerances in the diameter (known as the “layflat” or width) and cut-length of the sleeve, ‘eye spots,’ and clear area minimums. Even if the sleeves are being hand-applied, your contract packager will want to review the template. Please note, if the template is not approved by the contract packager, we cannot be held liable if the sleeves don’t shrink well.
  • Many times contract packagers will request a roll of grid film to test on their equipment for your product. They will want to verify our initial suggestion for the layflat width. This is an important part of the planning process and helps ensure a successful production run.
  • Designing labels for shrink sleeves has certain challenges not common to other types of labeling. For this reason, we recommend your graphic artist contacts us before submitting final art from our template. There are certain graphic design requirements for shrink sleeves and it will save time on your order if we can outline those for your artist from the start.

Customer Approval:

  • After we prepare your artwork, you will receive a 3D digital PDF proof that shows your shrink sleeve label on your container.
  • Once the 3D proof has been approved, we’ll prepare a prototype proof for your review. Due to the nature of shrink sleeves, it may be hard to anticipate how the art file will look when finally shrunk onto the container. That’s why we’ll always send you a digitally printed color proof that has been applied to your container. This prototype will show you precisely how the design is affected by the shrink process – this is your final proof.

Off to Production:

  • Current production time for shrink sleeves is 3-4 weeks after final art approval. We offer a 5,000 piece per lot minimum as well as combination pricing on items that are the same size and print method.
  • Shrink sleeves can be printed on flexographic or digital  label presses depending on your requirements and what best makes sense for running the labels.

For more information or to request a quote, please call us at 1-800-475-2235 or fill out the contact form below.

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