The world of packaging is pretty big. And whether you’re a veteran of the industry or a complete newbie, it seems like there’s always plenty to learn. So, whether you’re looking for buying advice or just a quick refresher, you’ve certainly come to the right place.

We’ve got this fun ongoing series we like to call Words Worth Knowing. It gathers up just enough of the basics on a certain packaging topic so you can either refresh your knowledge on it or start making some smart buying decisions. Best of all, it’ll take you no more than five minutes to get through it.

When it comes to buying labels, here’s five major types you should know about.

Inventory Labels

Running a warehouse or fulfillment center—or even just a supply closet—can be a tremendous amount of work. Depending on the products you’re manufacturing, shipping or storing, you’re going to need some way to track everything.

Inventory labels help you do that. You can create organization systems based off color coding, geometric shapes, letters and numbers, months and days and years, and pre-printed labels.

Shipping & Handling Labels

Once a shipment leaves your warehouse, its treatment (and potential fate) is no longer in your hands. That’s why shipping and handling labels are a vital addition to your packaging strategy. They give other shippers and receivers a quick summary of what’s inside your shipments, along with any requirements or instructions they need for handling them properly.

Prime examples of shipping labels include fragile, this side up, refrigerate upon arrival, and rush labels. They’re, of course, no guarantee that someone will follow these instructions. But they’re a sign that you not only know what you’re doing, but that you expect professionalism and respect from people all along the delivery chain.

Production Labels

As the name implies, these labels are largely used during the production process. They’re also kind of a hybrid between inventory and shipping labels. They’re used to organize and keep track of processes inside (and sometimes outside) a warehouse, while also providing information to those who aren’t immediately involved in a project.

Common examples of production labels include inspection, no forklift, ready to ship and rejected labels. To make them even easier to recognize, production labels are color-coded: green for approvals, red for warnings, yellow for special notices, and white for counting or grouping purposes.

Blank Labels

Inventory, shipping and production labels cover a big chunk of your warehousing and fulfillment needs. But there are still times when you may need to create your own system, and blank labels let you do that.

They’re available in multiple sizes, shapes, colors and even printer options. Somewhere in all these options, you’ll be able to develop the labels you need for you projects. Whether that’s naming products, numbering multi-part shipments, assigning barcodes or simply labeling mass mailings.

Custom Labels

So far, we’ve covered pre-printed and blank labels designed for most warehousing and shipping needs. But what about labels for entirely different uses, like promotional marketing or printed shipping packaging? Custom labels let you do that.

Found in our Custom Shop, you can choose from several sizes, shapes, and corner styles to create labels that fit whatever branding need you have. Our free, easy-to-use online packaging design tools will help you add whatever colors, logos, images and text you want. No design experience needed.

Your labels will be printed, cut and shipped as custom label rolls. Simply peel them off one at a time to label shipping packaging or secure folded pieces of custom tissue paper. You can even make it easier for you by using a label dispenser—a gadget that holds the roll and peels labels from the backing for you.

There’s plenty to learn about the packaging industry, that’s for sure. But you’re now five minutes more in the know about buying labels for whatever project awaits you. And if you’re looking to read more about packaging (or just want a quick refresher), be sure to stop by our knowledge center blog.

What are some words worth knowing that you’d like to see? Drop us a line or comment below.