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Tags and Labels - What Makes them Different

Updated: Jun 10

tags and labels with barcodes

Tags and Labels are our specialty here, but what exactly makes them different? Some people use the terms 'tag' and 'label' interchangeably, leading to some confusion. To help ensure you get exactly what you need, here is some helpful definitions to help you differentiate between tags and labels!



tag options illustration

A tag hangs freely by its hole or can be taped/stapled to a surface if there is no hole. A tag can also be used and repositioned infinitely for displaying info or a logo!

There are several hole types for a tag to hang from (or no hole at all!). Look at the edge of the tag to see what kind of die-cut was used to make the hole. Some tags even have multiple holes!

The corners of a tag are a key feature as well. One of two main styles are used in order to be read by a printer to print information onto a tag and for the printer to match up the art to the size and shape of the tag. This is called 'media sensing'.



label options illustration

Backed with adhesive, a label can be peeled away from its liner and stuck on to a surface to display info or a logo.

Labels come in two different styles. The most common being die-cut labels which have rounded-corners and a visible liner. There are also labels that appear to be liner-less and look like a tag, instead they have a liner with a back-slit.

Media sensing is a little bit different for labels. For die-cut labels, the printer should be set to read the gap-space between 2 labels on a roll or in a stack. On labels with a back-slit, there may be a sensor mark printed on the liner.

There may also be labels that have no definite start or stop point and are continuous.


Finishing and Other Features

various finishing techniques illustration

Another feature that can be found on both tags and labels is perforations. Perfs separate the tags/labels on a roll or in a stack, to be torn off and used. There can even be multiple different perfs in a tag depending on the intended use, these are referred to as internal perfs.

Different ways of finishing your tags or labels is either left on a roll, fan-folded with perfs, or sheeted into a stack of individual sheets. Some styles of finishing work better for different printers, so keep this in mind when ordering your tags!


Overall, tags and labels are very similar (we certainly don't blame anyone for getting the terms mixed up!). Think of what you need your tag or label to do before ordering. If you are printing on your tags or labels, then is there any requirements your printer has in order to print? If you are not sure what will work best for you, then please contact us! We will be more than happy to help you find the best solution that works for you!


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