What Makes a Label Durable?

Apr 24, 2024

There is no universal definition of durable label. We can, however, answer the question; “what makes a label durable?” Simply put, the combination of topcoat, face stock and adhesive, 3 basic components in a pressure-sensitive label construction, form the key ingredients that make a label durable.

A topcoat layer helps anchor the ink or toner to the face stock so that the ink or toner won’t fade or rub off easily. A topcoat also protects the printed label from degradation due to moisture, chemical exposure, abrasion and UV radiation from sunlight.

The face stock is another key facet of durability. Paper is less durable than film and films vary in durability due to their differing characteristics. A durable film doesn’t tear or crack easily, nor does it degrade easily. It is designed to last a long time and is optimized together with the top coating for differing print technologies.

The adhesive is another critical component in a durable label. A durable label is made with a permanent adhesive that can adhere to a range of surface substrates without peeling off. The adhesive must perform well in a variety of environmental conditions. This includes the application temperature range, the service temperature range, external conditions such as rain, heat and cold, humidity, and even seawater submersion.

A standard of durability

The BS5609 standard establishes measurable and certifiable durability standards for printed pressure sensitive labels. For example, labels applied to chemical packaging such as drums, barrels and totes being shipped via ocean transport must utilize BS5609 certified materials.

What is BS5609?

British Standard BS5609 is “a specification for printed pressure-sensitive, adhesive-coated labels for marine use, including requirements for label base material. It sets out various durability criteria including adhesive performance, print permanence and abrasion resistance, stipulating minimum standards for labels to be used in “‘Marine Environments’” ¹. The Brandywine Label Printing durable industrial label product line is BS5609 Section 2 certified for base materials and Section 3 certified on selected print platforms. Because of the rigor associated with certification testing, BS5609 is the gold standard of durability for labels utilized in harsh conditions.

Brandywine Label Printing offers an extensive line of durable industrial pressure sensitive labels engineered to run on a variety of print platforms designed to support digital on-demand, on-premise label printing. We continue to expand our digital product offerings and work closely with OEM’s (Original Equipment Manufacturers) to ensure that our products will consistently perform to your expectations.

Contact us for more information about our durable labels – we look forward to helping you print your own labels your way!


  1. “Marine Immersion Label Testing | BS5609”, 2024, https://www.smithers.com/industries/packaging/manufacturers-and-users/packaging-materials-testing/adhesives-and-labels/marine-immersion-label-testing-bs5609