Lightfastness is critical for high quality labels. It is a measure of how well a printed image resists discoloration or fading as a result of exposure to light over time. Products sitting on a store shelf or in a warehouse are often exposed to direct sunlight for hours on end. The UV affects the color pigments, causing the image to lose its brightness over time. It is a natural process which can be slowed down by adding protective UV layers on top of the label (varnish or laminate).
However, the most sensible – and most efficient – way to go forward, is by using quality inks or toners. Varnishes and laminates can only do so much – it really is the quality of the toner or ink that determines whether or not a label stands the test of time and keeps on shining on the shelf even after months.
Drum labels, chemical labels, house hold labels, pharmaceutical labels and BS 5609 certified labels all have specific requirements in terms of lightfastness. The latter are labels which are transported oversea. These need to remain legible even after weeks or months of damp conditions at sea.