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By Wunderlabel on 07/04/2024

custom labels

History of Custom Labels

The history of custom labels began in antiquity and evolved through the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and the Industrial Revolution. Today, they are central to a strong brand strategy. The following article examines the development of custom labels in detail and shows their importance over time. 

Origins and Early History

The history of labels dates back to ancient times. In ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, marks and stamps were used to identify property and facilitate trade. Potters and craftsmen used symbols and stamps to sign their work. These early forms of labeling served as a mark of quality, allowing buyers to recognize the origin and authenticity of a product. 

Middle Ages and Renaissance

In the Middle Ages, artisans increasingly used labels to identify their products. They usually stamped these labels by hand and provided them with basic information such as "cotton" or "flannel". The rise of printing in the Renaissance revolutionized the production of labels. With the invention of the printing press by Johannes Gutenberg in the 15th century, it became possible to produce printed labels in large quantities. 

Industrial Revolution

Rapid industrial development in the 18th and 19th centuries revolutionized manufacturing technology. The mass production of consumer goods also created the need for standardized labels to identify and differentiate products. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, metal stamps, ink pads, and paper labels made marking faster and more accurate. This period also saw the rise of label companies, which produced labels not only for textiles, but also for food, clothing, and medical products. 

The Era of Fashion Branding: 1920s to 1950s

The label industry was transformed by numerous other technological innovations, particularly in the 20th century. The development of plastic labels, self-adhesive labels, and advanced printing techniques such as digital printing made it possible to produce high-quality labels in a variety of shapes and sizes. The Roaring Twenties also saw a rise in fashion consciousness, with designers such as Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli gaining international recognition. With the emergence of fashion labels, individual clothing brands became more important than ever. Brands such as Brooks Brothers, Calvin Klein, and Ralph Lauren began using distinctive labels to establish their identity and stand out from the competition.

Post-War Period 1950s to 1980s

The post-war period saw an increase in the production of consumer goods, including clothing. This led to an increase in labeling requirements as manufacturers sought to ensure quality control and product authentication. Iconic labels emerged in the 1950s and 1960s, such as the Levi's label on jeans, which remains largely unchanged to this day. Other brands such as Tommy Hilfiger and Gap also introduced their own distinctive labels during this period.

21st Century: Sustainability and Innovation

In recent years, the fashion industry has come under increasing pressure to adopt sustainable practices. This has led to a shift towards environmentally friendly label materials such as recycled plastic or organic cotton. At the same time, technological advances have enabled the development of more sophisticated labeling systems for the production of custom labels, including RFID labels and DTF, as well as digital printing. 

Today, there are many different types of custom labels and it is impossible to imagine the apparel industry without them. Not only are they used for information and advertising, they are also an important part of brand strategy. Digital platforms and online services such as Wunderlabel have simplified access to personalized labels. They also make it possible for small businesses and individuals to design and order professional labels.