Piggybacks Hold Their Ground
"Designers just aren't designing with them anymore," Salomon noted. This isn't, however, a death knell for the product. "We have a few accounts that have been around for a long time. We still do a large volume, although for a very select few."
Skuros supported this idea, noting that many companies will continue to use piggybacks simply because they aren't eager to change what has worked so well for so long. "A lot of people think conservatively—that what has worked well for the past 20 years will continue to work for 20 more," he said.
At Labels West in Woodinville, Wash., Owner John Shanley sees one more reason why piggybacks will live on. "There will always be a place for piggyback labels in promotional and packaging applications," said Shanley. "The FDA and other agencies are requiring that more and more information be placed on retail packaging labels. Companies don't want to increase the size of the packages, and the copy has to go somewhere."
To satisfy this demand, Labels West has developed the two-ply label, a piggyback construction that packs a lot of information into a very small space.
"This label allows copy to be printed on the top ply, the backside of the top ply and the bottom ply, essentially tripling the amount of space available for printing," Shanley explained, adding that he knows of no other product that can do the same.
Similar to a piggyback in design and functionality, linerless labels offer many of the same benefits—primarily the ability to create a label from a different material than the base, and print on both components at the same time.
"They basically provide the same function as a piggyback, but linerless is better and cheaper," said Skuros.
Better because the final product—now minus the midliner—is thinner and thus open to more printer options and fewer printer jams, because the label images more clearly and because the packaging is more stable and less prone to shifting. Cheaper because the throw-away liner has been eliminated and because the material is less expensive.