What is the Roll (Unwind) Direction of a Label?

Published on February 28, 2014

Before you order your label, it is important to consider what position that label will come off on the roll.

The label roll direction or unwind direction as it is also referred to, is simply the way in which the label unwinds from a roll. It is a simple thing, although it can be confusing if you are not familiar with labels. Knowing exactly what roll direction you want comes in handy when ordering labels as it may affect the efficiency or the ease of machine application of your label being placed on your product.

Labels can be wound onto a roll in any of 8 roll directions, 4 of those directions are outside wound (labels are produced on the outside of the roll) and 4 of them are inside wound (labels are produced on the inside of the roll). 

Download Roll Direction Chart PDF

Out of the 8 directions, there are only 4 orientations which are possible, meaning there are 4 different directions on the inside and 4 on the outside.

The 4 directions are right edge first which means that the label will be dispensed with the right side of the label being shown first, left edge first means the left will be dispensed first, foot first refers to the bottom of the label being dispensed first and finally head first means the top of the label will be first dispensed.

These positions can vary from labelling Company to labelling company and usually each company has their own roll direction chart which may vary the positions of the 8 roll directions. It is vital to check that the company roll direction coincides with the roll direction you want.

Be sure that the initial roll direction is the right one, as it is often too late to change the roll direction once the production has begun.

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