BTL_Label School_headingLabel making applications will be more specialized to your label-making needs than generic graphics programs.  These programs offer features such as sequenced batch generation and tracking, precise placement of a label on a specified form, and access to a database of graphics and domain specific content.  In other words, if you have several product flavors, need to add a special graphic to each, need to serialize or date stamp these products, and want to maintain batch control, a label making application would be very useful. Of particular importance for most labeling programs is the ability to create and manage barcodes.

BarTender by Seagull Scientific is one of the most popular Label authoring systems and is used for creating and automating the printing and control of labels, barcodes, RFID tags, plastic cards and such.  Bartender can connect to a database and use scripts to control label production.  It is commonly used when barcodes need to be placed on labels.  A trail version is available for download.  BarTender is available only through resellers and can be purchased from NeuraLabel Printing Solutions.

NiceLabel is another very popular label authoring and management system used for the development of barcode and RFID label designs.  NiceLabel also offers free trails available for download. The NiceLabel Desktop Suite includes Designer Pro (for label design), NiceForm (for printing), and Automation Easy, which extracts the label data, merges it with a label design template, and prints to a selected printer.

Adobe Livecycle is a Label authoring system that outputs a specially formatted PDF file.  The PDF file can be run like a program, accept user input such as date and batch number, and auto generate sequenced labels.  Livecycle is more of a development tool and requires a knowledgeable developer to create label templates.  Like Bartender and NiceLabel, Livecycle will connect to a database to pull critical label information from your company stores.

For the more industrial scenario Loftware is a popular label choice for client and server based barcode labeling and printing solutions and is a leading Enterprise Labeling Solution.  Its integration with SAP and Oracle to produce barcode labels, documents, and RFID Smart tags make it a good choice for larger companies with more sophisticated commercial needs.  Large companies that use systems built on SAP where label making is directly integrated with many other aspects of the company’s product production might choose Loftware for their label making.

Note that these label making programs are not necessarily graphics applications.  Many do not size or scale artwork well.  It is usually best to scale any label artwork in the original graphics application, rather than the labeling software.  If multiple graphics sizes are needed, create multiple sizes in your graphics application.  Following this rule-of-thumb will result in the best possible quality label graphics. (Bartender)