I was looking through the selection of TZe tapes available and thought to myself, “I wonder what the fluorescent tapes look like under an ultra violet light”, so I searched the web. Much to my disappointment I couldn’t find a single image of what any of the TZe tapes looked like under a UV light. A few days later the UV torch we ordered turned up in the post.
Below I have setup five tapes with their respective part numbers printed on them. The first one is the flexible version of the ever-so-popular 12mm black on white. I was curious to see what the white tape looks like under UV as some whites react to the light, but most do not. The second tape is the matte lime green which I thought looked like it might react well. The third label is the matte pink that once again, I thought this might glow beautifully. Label number four is the first of the two fluorescent tapes; orange. And lastly we have the fluorescent yellow.
The labels are setup under a white light and then the UV light. Click anywhere on the image to see the comparison of the white and UV light.
The first three labels don’t have anything to them. The pink becomes less legible than the white and green. The orange becomes a brighter orange and the yellow seems to go green. The digital camera doesn’t give these labels justice at all as some image sensors won’t see ultra violet like we do (UV can appear to contaminate all the colours in a photo, but that’s another matter). To the eyes of you or me, the yellow is bright yellow but under the UV exposure, it is more of a slightly washed-out lime green.
It’s nice to see that Brother even went to the effort of making the labels on the cassettes fluorescent too. (Image 2)
So what are the advantages to using fluorescent tapes and when/where would be they be most useful?
My first thought is in the theatre industry. When the curtain’s up and the lights are down. When I worked at a local theatre and did a technical theatre course, we used dark blues and reds backstage to move around and prepare what was needed next. I see no reason not to use UV lamps in conjunction with other colours so the labels stand out and can’t be misread.
Night clubs / Bars
I don’t go to many clubs or bars but the few I’ve been to use UV lights. At the bar or in the DJ’s booth they could benefit from fluorescent tapes to help see the correct buttons when they need them most.
All I can say is taking the above samples outside (the weather was overcast), the fluorescent ones kept their bold, contrasting brightness. The natural UV from the sun made them a lot more vibrant than the other three normal tapes.
Equipment in warehouses and similar environments might benefit from these labels. They are still more bold than normal tapes, stick really well and they’re laminated. They’ll resist liquids, chemicals, abrasion, hot and cold temperatures so they’ll fit right in anywhere.
After some discussion in the office is seems a UV print might have been a good alternative to a UV background. Having an invisible ink (to the naked eye in white light) that becomes vibrantly readable under UV exposure would make a fantastic security label. We’ll see what we can come up with later this year.
Got any more examples where would you think would be best for fluorescent labels. Let us know!