What’s In a Facestock?

When deciding on the type of label to use for direct thermal and thermal transfer printing, it is easy to choose any type of label. When a person doesn’t take into the different variables of a label, the print job is bound to be a failure. Not taking time to determine the type of face stock you need for your print job could result in wasted material, wasted time, and frustration.

Ganson University has broken down the different components of a thermal label on their Thermal Label 101 page. It is on that page where you learn that there are actually four main parts to a label. Those parts are:


  1. Facestock
  2. Adhesive
  3. Release Coating
  4. Liner

All four components are important in the overall scheme of things.

Facestock is the top layer of a thermal label and this is what you actually print on. Over the next few weeks Ganson will be focusing on facestock, the various types of facestock and how they can be applied to everyday business use.

When it comes to facestock, there is so much that a person should consider. Does the label need a topcoat or protective coating? This topcoat is used to protect the print job from various types of environmental conditions. There are two main types of coating:

Varnish – This is what you would use when you want to have a protective gloss applied to the facestock.
Laminate –This type of topcoat is generally used when a label will come into contact with chemicals or if the label needs to be protected against abrasion.

Along with deciding the type of topcoating you will need to complete the job, another major Vinyl-Waterproof-Sticker-font-b-Labels-b-font-Gold-font-b-Foil-b-font-Stamping-fontcomponent is the type of material you will need to print on to complete the job. There is plenty of different types of material and films to choose from. Choosing the correct one is what will separate a successful printing job from an unsuccessful one. Let’s take a look at the most commonly used types of facestock.

Paper is the type of label most typically used. It is made from natural wood or pulp.

Film is generally made from a synthetic or plastic material. For the most part these types of labels can be utilized for decals, beverage identification or whenever moisture resistance is needed.

Foil is made fromstatic-cling-window-decal aluminum or alloys and is great when needing to label a rigid or semi-squeezable

Tag is typically 70mm thick. This facestock is made out of paper and is typically used in retail.

Tape is different because it tends to not have a liner. It is made from paper or film, hass an adhesive and is used for printing graphics and other types of media.

Static Cling labels are vinyl facestocks that are used for most smooth surfaces such as glass, and painted metal.

Magnets are made with paper or film on the uppermost layer with a bendable magnet as the bottom layer.

Holograms are micro embossed metalized film that is used to catch someone’s eye. Avery-Dennison-thinner-labels-more-sustainable_strict_xxlMany manufactures use holograms to get the consumers attention on a shelves full of products.

FDA approved labels are made from paper or film and are for direct or indirect contact with food.
These types are labels are used to ensure that FDA regulations are met and proper packaging protocols are in place for the consumer’s safety.

There are so many different aspects to a thermal label. From the four main parts to a label to the different types of materials and films that can be used as facestock. Having a printing job fail may not necessarily be because of a faulty printer. Take the time to decide what is truly needed to complete your printing job. Consider all aspects. The weather it will end up in? The type on material it needs to adhere to? The message you are trying to portray. At the end of the day, if you have any questions Ganson is here to help walk you through the steps.

Your dollars, your choice, Ganson will deliver.


800- 434-9011