The Difference between Narrow and Wide Edge Leading (NEL vs WEL)

Published on February 28, 2014

It is essential to quote the correct direction and position so that your labels are produced and applied correctly.

An important and common term within the labelling industry is NEL and WEL, which stand for Narrow Edge Leading and Wide Edge Leading. This can be a confusing term for someone who isn’t familiar with the labelling industry, although it simply suggests which edge of the label comes off the roll first.

NEL (Narrow Edge Leading)

This means that the shortest edge of the label will come off the label roll first, meaning it is narrow edge leading. In the diagram above, it is a 60mm by 30mm label, so the shortest side is the 30mm side, so that means that the 30mm side will be leading.

WEL (Wide Edge Leading)

This means that the widest edge of the label will come off the label roll first, meaning it is wide edge leading. In the diagram above, it is a 60mm by 30mm label, so the widest side is the 60mm side, so that means that the 60mm side will be leading.

The diagram above demonstrates how the labels will come out on the roll. Normally, the label is quoted using the width first (60mm) followed by the length (30mm). 

NEL and WEL figures out which direction your label will be when produced, although that is not everything when it comes to the outcome of a label. There is also the roll direction itself, which is the detailed position/rotation a label can be put on a roll in any of 8 directions, depending on whether the label is wound inside the roll or exposed on the outside. You can read about roll direction here. If you are unsure about whether you need a narrow edge lead or a wide edge lead, give us a call and speak to one of our friendly and helpful staff here who will be happy to assist you.

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