When it comes to custom label rewind directions for product labels, knowing the correct roll direction (rewind direction) will save you many ordering headaches. Fortunately, it doesn’t require a degree to figure it out. Follow these steps to ensure your label rolls are printed in the right direction.

Note: Wind is pronounced like “wind a toy.”

How Important is Roll Direction?

This process is often called the rewind direction of a roll of labels. It indicates the direction in which you unwind the labels off a roll. 

Applying your label by machine requires particular attention to the position of the label. Whenever labels are fed into your machine, they should be rolled off and fed in a specific position. Otherwise, your label will appear upside down or reversed on your products.  

Fortunately, the instruction manual that came with your label applicator will tell you which roll direction to use. If a manufacturer is going to apply the labels for you, give them a call and they will tell you the roll direction you need. 

When applying labels by hand, roll direction is usually not an issue. Nevertheless, hand application can be a tedious process, and a specific roll direction may be helpful in removing the labels and applying them by hand faster.

How to Choose Your Roll Direction

It has been established by the label industry that roll directions should be referenced according to a standard. There are 8 different roll directions to choose from. Directions 1-4 are the most common. 

In roll directions 1-4, the labels are wound on the outside of the roll. The directions 5-8 are wound inside the roll. This helps protect the labels from the environments like dust and dirt. 

Roll Directions:

Here you can choose how the label will feed into the label applicator.

1: Top first OUTSIDE

2: Bottom first OUTSIDE

3: Right side first OUTSIDE

4: Left side first OUTSIDE

5: Top first INSIDE

6: Bottom first INSIDE

7: Right side first INSIDE

8: Left side first INSIDE

Label Rewind Directions

Depending on your artwork, the die you need to select when ordering is determined by the roll direction number. Label artwork determines how the roll directions will be applied (based on your logo, for example) or the text on the label’s artwork. Choose your roll direction by looking at your artwork.

Your label’s size or shape is known as a die. Simply put, a die is the tool used to cut out label shapes. Since each die cutter is unique, you will need to select one that corresponds with the direction in which you want your label to roll.

The following example shows how Roll Direction #4 refers to the left side of the design element or text appearing first on the roll. A label applicator feeds this side first. This might also be referred to as Unwind Direction #4 or Left-Leading Direction. Different words for the same concept!

The Width, Length, and Direction of the Roll

It is important to match the direction of your roll with your die size.   

For custom labels, the width of the roll is listed as the first dimension. Label width refers to how wide the label is, and label length refers to the length of the label around the roll.

As an example, a 2” x 4” die size is different from a 4” x 2” die size. The following example illustrates how artwork, width, and length line up with roll direction 3. 

Label Roll Width Rewind Direction 3

It can be challenging to determine the custom label rewind directions for your product. Remember to break each factor down and compare how they interact!

Ample can make everything easier for you!
Give us a call if you have any questions about roll direction! Count on us for all your label printing needs.


Custom Label Rewind Directions

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Give us a call for more label tips and tricks!

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