Battle of the Labels: Off the Shelf VS Bespoke Manufactured


Here at ADC we are a leading label manufacturer and supplier. We also stock and sell a really large selection of off the shelf labels.

The manufacturing and supply of barcode labels is such a large portion of our core business and as such we know how crucial they can be to many operations. And as such we understand how necessary it is that a client gets the right product for their solution.

There are two ways to procure labels: through bespoke manufacturing, or from off the shelf. Both have their pro’s and con’s so have a read before deciding which option is for you.

Bespoke Manufactured Labels

Bespoke labels are manufactured to your exact specifications. You decide the size, material, adhesive, core size, quantity per roll, print and  finish.

If you need a product that can withstand challenging environments, such as high or low temperatures, adverse weather conditions or contact with oil, dirt and chemicals, but you also want your them to be visually appealing, the a bespoke solution is the best option.

Labels shouldn’t just be considered as merely a functional means to an end.  They also serve as a great marketing tool. Although many of the labels we supply are used to communicate vital information, they can also be custom printed to take advantage of the opportunity to build your brand awareness.

Add your company logo to your labels, so that they’re instantly recognisable as belonging to your business. Choose your corporate colours for your labels, so that they reinforce your brand identity wherever they go in their journey through your supply chain.


Manufacturing a label to your exact specification is the biggest pro. The quality also tends to be better as they are designed specifically to work with your products.


Designing and manufacturing a bespoke label is more labour intensive. There can be additional costs for artwork and tooling and the lead time can be longer. Also, there are minimum order quantities.

Off The Shelf Labels

There is a range of labels that are available to purchase off the shelves. They tend to be white in  olour and available in two core sizes, 1″ and 3″. They can come in a variety of sizes and materials. There is no lead time and typically you can buy by the box.


There are some pro’s in purchasing off the shelf labels. They are typically available to dispatch same day so there is no lead times.You also save on the costs of origination or tooling.

There is also a significantly smaller minimum order quantity (usually just one box) than there would be for a bespoke labels. This reduces the need for you to hold large stock.


Limited label choices is the biggest con of off the shelf. Stock labels tend to only be available in standard sizes, adhesives, and finishes.

So Which Solution Is Better?

I don’t think there either solution is necessarily better. For something quick, cheap and basic off the shelf works great. But if you need something specific and the budget allows we would also recommend bespoke labels. If you are still unsure of what solution you need why not give our sales team a call and they can point you in the right direction.

Over the last 30 years we have established a reputation for quality and excellence. Our highly qualified team are on hand to assist at all stages of the design and printing process, from producing artwork to delivering your order on time, within budget and in perfect condition. At ADC we understand that there is no one size fits all so we have multiple printing processes, materials, adhesives, and finished available.

ADC Barcode is involved in the supply of  barcode scannersbarcode label printersbarcode verifiers and label applicators. We also provide custom softwareEPOS systems & hardwareRFID and wireless networking technology amongst other professional services. Get in touch now and obtain more information.

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