Shrink sleeves are a relatively new type of label and are quickly gaining use for product packaging in a variety of markets. Manufacturers print sleeves on a digital or flexographic press, with text on the inside of the shrink sleeves. The sleeve is then slipped over a container and tightened around the container using heat (heat-shrunk). The label then conforms to the surface of the container.
Shrink sleeves provide some of the most standout design possibilities and often reduce costs and turnaround times. They’re full-body labels that wrap around the entirety of a container, offering 360-degree branding and messaging on your product.
Many brands turn to shrink sleeve manufacturers to enhance the vibrancy of their designs and achieve one-of-a-kind labels. Shrink sleeves can be printed digitally, eliminating the need for printing plates and making them economical for short runs while ensuring the finest printing quality.
They offer a range of additional benefits, including:
Generally speaking, shrink sleeves give you a 150% increase in label real estate for a mere 25% price increase over traditional pressure-sensitive labels. This additional space can be used for a myriad of purposes: Telling your brand story, including regulatory information or adding imagery of your product.
Beyond branding, sleeves are an attractive option because they allow you to add functionality to your product packaging, while saving money on total label and container costs. By extending the sleeve over the cap of a bottle, you can save money by eliminating the need for a drop-band closure or other more expensive tamper-evident options on the container itself. And incorporating a sleeve allows you to use a lighter bottle — reducing the cost and weight of your total packaging system.
These innovative labels are used on plastic, glass or metal containers and are common in a wide variety of markets. That’s because packaging buyers know the upfront cost of shrink sleeves is easily justified by the value they provide to their product’s packaging. Here are a couple potential applications for shrink sleeve packaging:
Sleeves are especially popular for food and beverage labels, particularly juices, energy drinks and alcoholic beverages, because they offer tamper-evident seals. They’re common on pharmaceutical and nutraceutical labels for the same reason.
Shrink sleeves also make it easy to comply with regulations or maximize shelf impact, as text and graphics can be updated on the shrink sleeves, which are easy to remove from containers without wasting the containers themselves.
They’re common on household cleaning products now too (detergents, soaps, cleaning agents), as they can use highly durable materials that withstand moisture, friction and high temperatures.
Although shrink sleeves packaging might cost more initially, the value of the uplift in brand and brand share far outweighs any marginal or incremental cost of the sleeve itself.