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Matte or Glossy Product Labels: Choosing a Finish

Matte finish product label (left), Gloss finish product label (right)

A question we often get asked at Wizard Labels is, "Which type of finish should I choose for my label — Gloss or Matte?" Well, the short answer is that there is no right answer. Confused yet? Well, let's shine some light on the topic.

Matte vs Gloss Product Label Finish

Do you remember when taking a roll of film to the drug store to have it developed was the norm? You would take your roll of film or disposable camera to the photo counter and choose whether or not you wanted your photos to come out with a shiny (glossy) finish, or a dull (matte) finish. Choosing a glossy or matte finish for your product labels is a similar process. However, there is no "right" decision when it comes to making that choice. It really depends on the look that you are trying to achieve with your product labels.

It would be easy to assume that the only difference between glossy and matte product labels is the material that the ink is printed on (much like desktop printers found in the home or office). However, that is not the case with the HP Indigo presses we use here at Wizard Labels. The ink is first printed on the raw material (i.e. plastic or paper), and then a very thin layer of laminate film is laid on top of the inks (to protect them from wear and tear). This laminate film is available with either a glossy or matte finish, and it's applied after the printing is already done.

Vibrant vs Vintage Look

So, if there is no 'right' choice when it comes to choosing between a gloss or matte finish, which one is "right" for me? Well, it depends on the design of the custom label and the color scheme used, as well as the look that you're trying to achieve.

If your product label has a lot of deep and rich coloring, then choosing a gloss finish will often be the best option. A glossy product label can really help colors "pop" and appear extremely vibrant, and it also makes text look a little sharper. If this is the look that you are going for, then great! Conversely, if your custom label design uses more muted colors or you are trying to achieve a more vintage (or "natural") look with your product labels, then choosing a matte finish may be worth considering.

In the end, it really comes down to personal preference — do you think your product label design, message and product are best represented by a high-gloss or dull-matte look on your custom product label? Each has its own merits — the choice is yours. 

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