We Make and Sell Labeling, Filling and Packaging Systems to Help Small Businesses Grow

When speaking with label printing companies, they’ll often ask you if you will be using ‘hand applied’ or ‘machine applied’. There really is no difference. What they’re actually looking for is how you want the label to come off of the label roll.

Labeling machines require the labels to come off in a certain way for them to be applied to different kinds of containers.  For Zap Labeler to work correctly, your labels should be in one of the four orientations shown to the right.   The labels should be on the outside of the roll and the direction should be figured out depending on how your container orients on the label machine and what direction your label applies to the container.

We are happy to walk you through the steps in order to select the correct label orientation for your application.

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label roll anatomy

Bottle Anatomy

bottle anatomy for labeling

Label Orientation describes exactly how the label is situated on the label roll. It's usually described in one of two ways; by a number or a direction. The direction of the labels on the roll is super important. It will determine whether or not your labels can be applied to your container with the label applicator you're using.

In our experience, it's best to confer with the label printers as well as the labeling machine company.  The label printers might not have the labeling process in mind when they're telling you which orientation you'll need.  They might ask if your labels need to be machine or hand applied. This question doesn't really take into account each individuals end goal. The important questions are about what container you'll be using, how you want that label to look on your container and lastly how are you applying the labels. Not all label applicators are the same and each has specific requirements about how it needs the label rolls to be.

We tried to ensure that our labeling machines are built to use common, industry standard labels on a roll. Whether you're using one of our manual labeling machines or our semi-automatic bottle labeler we can help ensure you've got the correct label orientation.

If you're still looking for a good printing company, we've found a few gems.  We have been working for years and they have proven to have great pricing and excellent customer service.

Wizard Labels and Consolidated Label Co. are two of our favorites right now. Be sure to let them know we sent you! Also be sure to check out our other Recommended Companies!

Application Example:

If you have a round bottle that you want a label to wrap all the way around, you'll have to use either orientation # 3 or orientation #4 as shown in the chart above.  When the label comes off of the applicator, the right or left edge is what is presented first, enabling the label to continue wrapping around the circumference of the bottle.  

If the label was coming off in the #1 or #2 copy position, the top or bottom edge of the label would touch the bottle first. The label would be going in the wrong direction.

Label Roll Anatomy

Label Orientation

What is Label Orientation or Label Copy Position?