top of page

Crown Labels Blog

  • Alex - Marketing & Design

Can Label Printing - Custom Can Labels

Custom printed beer can labels

While many drinks cans feature pre-printed designs that are produced directly onto the aluminium material, there are a variety of situations in which labelling a can with a pre-printed custom label can be a cost effective solution.

What are can labels made from?

Custom can labels are typically made from polypropylene (PP). This is because this durable synthetic material is suitable for use on items which may be exposed to liquids and condensation. Paper labels can be suitable for cans but they could go soggy and damp when put into a fridge or used in varying temperatures.

In some situations, plastic labels such as polypropylene can become slippery. One way to avoid this potential problem is by using a laminate such as matt laminate or sandy sandpaper-like laminate, with the latter in particular providing lots of additional grip thanks to its rough texture.

Sandy-laminate custom can labels
Sandy laminate for beer can labels helps to provide extra grip to slippery and damp cans

What colours can custom can labels be printed in?

One significant benefit of using labels rather than directly printing onto a drinks can is that there are a wider range of colours available due to not having to worry about the raw silver colour of the can showing through your design. As a brushed metallic surface, the can material can often be distracting for a printed design. In contrast, labels provide a literal blank canvas for any design, ensuring better colour accuracy for a high quality brand experience. And even better, you can still get metallic effects by using foil colours and metallic silver backgrounds with white ink back-up.

At Crown Labels, we print most custom can labels using our 6-colour digital label press. This prints standard Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black, plus vibrant Orange and Violet inks for better colour and Pantone accuracy.

What is the normal size for a drinks can label?

The exact size of a label for a can will vary a bit depending on the actual can being used, but a common size for 330ml cans is 85mm x 205mm. This typically ensures that the label does not overlap itself, or the tapered edges of the can. However, it's always best to double check your specific can by measuring the dimensions and using a piece of paper to test.

Bright Coloured Custom Drinks Can Labels
Bright colours help your custom drinks can labels to stand out

Are custom printed can labels cheaper than custom printed cans?

The most cost effective packaging solution will depend on your exact requirements and use-case, but you'll typically find that printing labels is a quicker and lower cost option compared to sourcing customised pre-printed cans. This is because setting up pre-printed physical packaging, whether its cans or boxes, often has more expensive tooling and print plates, which in turn take time to source. In addition, minimum order quantities often result in excess supply of cans for lower selling product lines. In contrast, you could get custom printed can labels in only a few days, and have much greater flexibility on order quantities and design splits.

One hybrid solution is for a standardised pre-printed design that is the same for all of your products to be printed directly onto the can, and then the product-specific name and information is over-labelled on top.

How are can labels applied?

Due to their length, it's best to stick custom drinks can labels onto the can using a label applicator. These are designed to apply the label evenly to the surface, avoiding bubbles and creases. The labels will need to be supplied narrow edge leading, and will need to be rolled onto a specific core size as stipulated by the applicator. The exact specification, including the maximum outer diameter, will depend on the specific applicator. We're able to match your label presentation to the exact specification your applicator requires.

How should a drinks can label be designed?

There are a range of common elements which you'll probably want to include on your label design. These include the can capacity, product ingredients, a barcode (if applicable), any health warnings - essential for alcoholic drinks, plus contact details for your company.

There's also the obvious elements to include, such as the flavour, and your branding!

Custom Can Label Printing
Labels enable you to get creative with your custom can label designs

Where can I get custom printed can labels?

We're here to help with your custom can label requirements. Crown Labels are expert providers of a wide variety of custom self-adhesive labels, including custom printed can labels that are supplied either for hand application or automatic application.


Other pages you might be interested in:


bottom of page