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Printed vs woven labels, which is better for your business?

By Michael Lau   Ι  2021-11-04

What Materials Are Used in Woven Labels-banner

Labels help a brand to communicate its personality and values, which can be an important part of building customer relationships, your target market needs what they think is true advertising in order for them to be interested! So finding an appropriate garment label is very important. You could ruin your whole style range otherwise. Makes sense, doesn’t it?

You can go with a woven label, a printed label, or even a combination of both. So which is the best option for your apparel or business? In this article, we’ll explore the difference between printed and woven labels to help you find a professional one for your apparel or other items.

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Hi, I’m the author of this post and have been in wholesale labels and hangtags for over 17 years. If you want to know anything about our products or require help please feel free to ask me at any time!

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What are woven labels?

Woven labels are made on a loom, meaning the design is woven into the fabric using different-colored threads. There is 0% ink in the woven labels, which is different from the printed labels. Woven clothing labels are a great way to show off your brand. These high-quality tags help you stay up with the latest trends, while also giving customers an authentic look into what they’re buying from start until finish! You can also choose from various folds (such as end folds, ) and iron-on adhesives when creating these woven labels.

Woven labels are made up of yarns. There are 2 main materials: Polyester (Recycled polyester available as well) and
Cotton(Organic cotton available as well)

You can always find a woven label on outwear, pants, and jackets. Custom woven labels are often found at the collar or hem of a garment to catch your eye when you open up that closet in search of something new.

Benefits of Woven Labels

  • Durability: Woven labels are the most durable, cotton and polyester threads can up hole to numerous wash cycles. Woven labels are perfect for items you want to last. They won’t fray or fade over time, so your label will always look as good on the day it was sewn into place!
  • Flexible Size: It has a wide size range, the minimum height of the label can be 0.8cm, and the maximum height can reach 20cm, the length is unlimited, so we can choose any size of the label between 0.8cm-20cm in height. Thus, you can design woven labels as you expected.
  • Rich background texture: Woven labels can offer different background patterns, such as grid, twill, grosgrain, watermark, and customized logos. You can use your imagination to design your own brand’s unique background pattern.
  • Superior quality: Woven labels look highly luxurious and professional. It represents the best quality in labels.
  • Applications: Woven labels can be used not only to display the brand name. They also can be used as size labels, hem labels, wash labels, and a small clothing label that displays the logo in any position.
  • Soft hand-feel: The finished has a soft yet robust hand-feel and a slight luster, so tags will sit smoothly without irritating the wearer.

The disadvantages of woven labels

No label is 100% perfect, so what are the disadvantages of woven labels?

  • Limited colors: Compared to the unlimited color of digitally printed labels, the colors of woven labels are limited. A woven label can only have up to 12 colors including the background color. If your label has more than 12 colors or color gradients, you could either need to scale back on the number of colors to simplify the design or use digitally printed labels instead.
  • Fewer details: Woven labels work best for large texts, like a brand name. It can not catch too many details due to different production processes, so if you need small or close-up logos or texts, it’s better with making printed labels instead!
  • Longer production time: The production time is longer than for printed labels due to the method of creating a woven label.
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What are printed labels?

With printed labels, the design (logo or texts) is ‘printed’ onto the surface of a blank pre-made tape using ink.

Printed clothing labels have multiple pre-made materials as follows:

  • Satin
  • Cotton
  • Tyvek
  • grosgrain tape,
  • Poly cotton Blend,
  • chiffon,
  • TPU(Thermoplastic Polyurethane)

You’ll find printed labels on the inside of garments or other products, especially underwear. The printed label is often found in this area because it is the thinnest, lightest, and smooth.

The benefits of printed Labels

  • Perfectly design: With printed labels, you can be as precise and detailed with your designs. And since they’re an exact copy of the original design, no matter how complicated or simple, the design you create on your computer screen will be matched exactly when it’s printed onto the label.
  • Fast production times: Printed labels have a quick turnaround so custom orders can usually be produced fast, which is perfect for last-minute orders.
  • Unlimited colors: Printed labels are great for cramming lots of colors and high-definition detail onto a label, you only need to provide the Pantone code. Digitally printed labels are a great way of doing gradient color.

The disadvantages of printed labels

Of course, printed labels also have some unavoidable downfalls.

  • Fading: As all design features of a printed label are printed using ink, information on printed labels will inevitably fade away after numerous washes. But the polyester woven labels never fade.
  • Printed labels don’t look or feel high-quality as woven labels, but they’re usually better suited for items where the highest quality isn’t crucial—such as children’s wear and hidden within a product.

12 differences between woven and printed labels:

As mentioned above, woven and printed labels each have pros and cons, so choosing the most appropriate label for your brand is important. We have put together a concise list contrasting the two types of labels.

Woven Labels Factor Printed Labels
100 pieces Minimum Order Quantity 100 pieces
Long-lasting and continue to look great after years of wear. Polyester material will never fade. Durability / Fadeproof The ink does rub off over time.
Flexible, can be any size from 0.8cm to 20cm. Size Fixed height. Height of cotton tape: 1.0/1.5/2.0/2.5/3.0/3.5/4.0/4.5/5.0CM are available. Height of satin tape: 1.0/1.3/1.6/1.9/2.2/2.5/2.9/3.2/3.8/5.1cm are available.
Polyester or cotton yarns Material Pre-made tapes (Satin, cotton, poly-cotton, Tyvek, TPU(Thermoplastic Polyurethane), and so on)
Over 3,800 colors of polyester yarn, 4 colors of cotton yarns. Color options of materials 298 colors of satin tape, 4 colors of cotton tape.
8-10 business days Mass production time 6-8 business days
Flexible, can be changed up a bit just to make the design work and look good. Design suitability Can exactly like the design.
Only do solid colors. Design complexity Color gradients work great and tend to restore the design.
High-end fashion, soft and great for the brand names. Quality Basic, cheap, great choice for fast fashion because the garments will be replaced by another quickly.
Any type of folds, woven labels tend to have more chance to stitched in a garment. Folds Method Only end folds, straight cut, miter fold, and centerfolds
Sew-on; Iron-on; self-adhesive; Non-woven fabric; Velcro Additional Options Backing Only Sew-on; Iron-on, and self-adhesive
JPG, PNG, PSD, PDF, or any format Require Files Vector files only, ai, pdf, eps, SVG

We know how confusing it can be to decide which label type is right for your business. Luckily, we’ve come up with a quick checklist to help you decide!

Topics I care about Woven Labels Printed Labels
I want luxury-looking
I want a small quantity with tight budget
I want a double-sided design
I want labels that will never fade
I want the label to be ready in a short time
I want a very specific label size to fit my item
I have gradient color
My brand tends to be international
My design has lost details
I am selling fast fashion

Both labels have their own pros and cons, someone will care about the price, and someone gives attention to the quality and fade or not, starting from their uses and considering a number of comprehensive factors that will help you choose a more suitable label for your business.

If you are still struggling with which label to choose, trying different types of labels for your business will also be a great way to save costs in the future.

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