Security Labels 101


Security Labels 101

Manufacturers worldwide use security labels and packaging solutions as a safety measure to protect their products from counterfeiting, tampering, and diversion. Security labels not only ensure the authentication of products to consumers, but also help to protect and maintain the integrity of your customer’s brand.


Counterfeiting is a global issue that has damaging effects on brands, the economy, and society overall. It not only causes businesses to lose revenue but also tarnishes their brand reputation. Though there are measures in place to confiscate counterfeit products before their arrival in the U.S., counterfeit labels and products in general continue to grow, making it nearly impossible for government agencies to find all of them before the products make their way into American homes.


With advanced technology and varied functionality, security labels can battle counterfeiting, protect the end-user and safeguard your customer’s products and brand.


What are security labels?

Security labels are product labels uniquely designed to inform manufacturers and consumers, in an irreversible way, when a product is opened or altered from its original condition. Security labels help verify brand authenticity, as well as uphold the brand’s integrity, as the products make way through the supply chain.


Specially made security labels are used to protect high-value products, consumables or easily counterfeited items. Typical applications for security labels can include pharmaceuticals, price tags, chemical drums, luxury goods, wines and spirits and other consumer goods.


How do security labels work?

Today, there are many methods for tamper-proofing products and protecting your brand from counterfeiting. The method chosen depends on the level of security required and the cost of the method. At I.D. Images, brand security label solutions are 100% custom to ensure your customer’s products are properly protected.


Methods for security label construction

Ongoing advancements in security label technology have made available a variety of options and features to ensure product labels have not been altered from their original condition. Depending on the level of security required, a security label may incorporate several security features and layers.


Security labels may be overt and visible to the human eye, or covert and visible only when using special equipment. Varied combinations of security features in these labels make them nearly impossible to duplicate.


Face stock and adhesive features may include:


  • Die cuts

    – This type of label is constructed using a lightweight paper face-stock with an aggressive permanent adhesive. A special tamper-proof tool is used to create small slits (or a pattern) across the label as it’s applied to the product. Once the label is applied, any attempt at removing it would be apparent as the label would break apart at the slits and come off in small shreds, leaving an incomplete label on the product.

  • Void pattern

    – Security labels containing a void pattern are constructed with an adhesive that will leave a “VOID” mark on the product when the label is removed. Leaving behind evidence that the product was tampered with.

    Image by Mactac

  • Destructible vinyl

    – Destructible vinyl labels are constructed with materials that tear off in small pieces once applied to the product. These types of labels are constructed with materials that cause irreparable damage when attempted to be removed.

    Image by Mactac

  • Holographic images

    – Security labels with holographic images feature an embedded holographic design into a face stock. These labels can either overtly or covertly be used for product verification.

Ink brand protection features:

  • Thermochromic inks

    – Thermochromic Inks can be used in instances where products need to be kept in controlled environments, as with some pharmaceuticals that need to be kept cool. These inks change color based on temperature, which can indicate if a product has been exposed to potentially harmful temperatures. ­­

  • Metachromic inks

    – Metachromic inks change their appearance with different light sources. They may appear white until viewed under a neon light, in which they would appear pink, indicating the product has been tampered with.

  • Invisible Ink

    – Invisible Ink product labels are revealed with the use of an infrared light for anti-counterfeiting.

  • Taggants

    – Taggants are microscopic chemical markers that are detected with a special tool to determine if a product is authentic or counterfeit. Taggants can be added to the face stock or inks of a label.

  • Watermarks

    – Watermark labels can be added to a label design to show brand authenticity.

  • Machine readable

    – Machine readable features, including variable data and serial numbering, are additional options for further brand protection.


Label Shape

The shape of a label can be both a branding and a security device by using unique shapes that are easily recognized but not easily duplicated. This feature makes it more difficult to duplicate or counterfeit.


Help your customers protect their assets with I.D. Images custom security labels

To keep your brand safe, I.D. Images will help determine the correct solution for your customer’s security needs.


For more information on security labels or other label applications, call 866-516-7300 or email