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Topic: Printing & Material

I want to order clear labels but I don’t understand the difference between “Clear Translucent” and “Clear Opaque”.

Clear labels can sometimes be a bit of a tricky area when it comes to choosing the right type for your needs. This is because there are various factors involved which dictate how effective the labels will be, once placed on their intended surface.

Clear labels are split into two categories, clear translucent and clear opaque.

The most important factor here, is the surface on which the labels are to be placed.

Clear Translucent Labels

Generally, the colours printed on “clear translucent” labels can lose a considerable amount of their vibrancy against dark backgrounds. This is because there’s a degree of translucency to the ink used and when the labels make contact with a dark surface, the vibrancy of the colour is dulled proportionately.

These labels tend to work best when the intended surface is light coloured, white being best of all.

Artwork printed with black ink on a clear translucent label will be highly visible when placed on a light coloured surface.

Clear Opaque Labels

With the “clear opaque” label option, white ink is required.

If required, we can print your artwork on clear vinyl using white ink alone, which is very effective, or we can drop in a layer of white ink behind your artwork colours to help strengthen their opacity against dark backgrounds, however, depending on the nature of the artwork, this can have varying degrees of success. The bigger and bolder the artwork is, the more effective this method tends to be, but when the artwork incorporates  small detail and fine lines etc, the effect is lessened.

So, depending on the nature of the surface you’ll be placing your labels, the potential problem areas in your artwork would be areas containing fine lines or small print. If your artwork contains a barcode, it would be advisable to place the barcode either in a white box or within an area of colour (so that it’ll have a layer of white ink behind it).

You’ll need to supply your artwork, ideally, in a vector (eps) format such as an Adobe Illustrator document with all fonts outlined, or, if that’s not possible, as a high resolution tif, jpeg of pdf document.

Please note: Customers should also take care when choosing the best type of clear label to place on transparent containers, as the labels may look fine on the empty container. However, when the container is filled with its contents, the appearance of the labels may be quite different.

Customers who are unsure about whether to choose “clear translucent” or “clear opaque” labels can email their artwork to us at, before placing their order. If you can provide some information on the colour of the intended surface for your labels, we can advise you which clear label option would be best.