Did you hear about the Norse god who went through a shrink ray? He was a little Thor afterwards. 

Buh dum tss! Ouch. Okay, that joke was painful, but you know what doesn't have to be? Selecting and applying your shrink sleeves.

Shrink sleeves can be an easy and effective way of elevating your brand. From store shelves to online offerings and social media campaigns, shrink sleeves are 360 degrees in more than one way. If you're reading this, though, we're going to assume you're already sold on sleeves. You are, in fact, ready to select and purchase. (If you're not, and just looking to get the low don on sleeves, here's the blog for you! We'll see you when you're done.) 

Now you've decided to cross the final labelling frontier, start the journey by asking yourself the two following questions.

How many shrink-sleeved products am I planning to make?

The quantity question is always an essential one to ask as you start out on any packaging design adventure. Shrink sleeves are no different.

We know forecasting these numbers is never easy. (That's why we created Summit Plus after all!) Still, a rough idea of how many units you want can help you make a critical decision: how should you print your shrink sleeves?

High Quantity Runs

Higher quantity 'flagship' products or core brands that top 100k units a month are typically better suited for flexographic printed shrink sleeves. The benefit to these is the cost per sleeve is more minor in economy-of-scale situations (i.e. long production runs of unchanging designs).

Seasonal, Limited Edition, Promotional or Variety Runs

On the flip side, if this is a seasonal or promotional product with a new design idea you want to test out, a digital printer is the better choice, benefits include:
  • Lower minimums
  • Easily adjusted designs
  • Group run printing
  • Shorter lead times
  • More precise colour registration

For more information on the differences between flexo and digital print, check out our blog article here.

How will I be applying my shrink sleeves?

So, unlike regular PSL (pressure-sensitive labels), shrink sleeves can't really be applied to packaging by you, the buyer. That's because the equipment is expensive and complicated. To use consistently at full speed, you'd need a conveyor system, applicator, and a heat tunnel, all working in unison.
While some of you may be lucky enough to have this equipment available to you, the majority will need an application partner. We're talking to those folks now. Start looking for your applicator while you work on your artwork. The earlier you involve them, the better. That way, they can help you determine timelines and important dates. So your packaging day will be a breeze!

You'll want to take some time to evaluate your packaging supply as well. Determining if you will be responsible for sourcing the raw packaging materials or if you can leave that with your application partner is vital. BTW, a really great shrink sleeve partner can help you with all of this.

While there are definitely more questions you'll ask on your journey to 360 degrees of design, these are a great start!

Got more questions? Or just want to hear some more terrible jokes? Reach out. Our Label Solution Specialists are here to help!