5 Types of Museum Labels Available with Custom Dry Transfers

Museum wall labels using dry transfers. A landscape painting by Meindert Hobberma in the deYoung gallery showing the artwork label

Museum exhibit labels look crisp and precise when you use rub-on transfer decals – and they are fast and convenient to apply when you’re under deadline pressure.

Image Transfers is a leading supplier of high-quality custom dry transfer art gallery labels for museums, exhibit spaces, and art installations. Because we work from digital files you supply, the museum labels you receive will be exactly according to your layout, and they can be applied to any flat, smooth, dry surface. We’ve worked with some of the most prestigious institutions and galleries to produce outstanding results. In a world where nothing escapes the critic’s online reviews, let us help you make sure your art gallery labels are flawless and easy to apply.

#1 – Museum Wall Labels

A closeup of a musuem wall label and an art gallery label for an art installation. The clear transparent rub on decal is crisper and cleaner than vinyl lettering. Custom dry transfer is applied directly to the art gallery wall beside the painting.

If you’ve spent months or years curating a high-visibility exhibition, let us help you with crisp, concise museum wall labels to make it perfect. No matter what type of font or layout you’ve designed, dry-transfers will apply quickly to the wall and leave behind nothing but the lettering. With no edges, dry transfer wall labels can look like they’ve been painted on. We supply a unique burnishing tool with every order to complete the rub-on application. Compared to other methods, rub-down transfers produce not only a superior appearance but also a finished, semi-permanent look. If your installation is permanent, your wall labels also can be made permanent with a light topcoat of varnish once they are applied. Black type on white walls will be crisp, clear, and perfect.

#2 – Object Exhibit Cards

Custom museum object exhibit placard made with custom transfers. Vintage trunks with custom white decals for exhibit labels and artwork description.

There’s no comparison between a museum exhibit card created with a custom dry transfer versus one from a laser printer. The transfer decal achieves a perfected appearance with absolute clarity in a way even high-quality digital printing cannot achieve. The decal media is different from printer ink and is attached to the surface perfectly as opposed to becoming a part of the exhibit card as the ink does. When viewed up close under bright museum or gallery lighting, you’ll be pleased with the results produced by the rub-on Even those most prone to scrutiny and criticism likely will agree you’ve found the best solution for a polished, professional look.

#3 – Museum Exhibit Plaques

Museum exhibit label on a plaque. The vintage luggage exhibit in Lower Manhattan

Permanent exhibitions distinguished by high-caliber museum plaques benefit from the clarity and precision of dry transfer lettering. As the decals are rubbed-on, they are semi-permanent – and as noted earlier, a light topcoat of varnish makes them permanent applications. The slightly raised appearance of the decals has a more finished look than any sort of printed-on lettering. In addition to black and any Pantone color, metallic looks also are available in rub-on decals. No matter what size plaque, larger or smaller, the transfers will produce a clean and concise appearance that is suitable for even the most formal applications. Even with small, slim-type fonts, you’ll have clear easy-to-read lettering.

#4 Under Glass Labels for Display Cases

An under glass label that is reversed and transpaent for under glass display cases. Dry transfers can be used as art gallery labels for glass display cases. example for Prada Perfume flagship store in Soho NYC with white custom rub down transfers adhered to the surface.

Custom dry transfer labels look elegant on glass display cases that are focal points of your exhibition. In addition to a fine-quality appearance, one of the other significant advantages of rub-on transfers is their versatility. For museums and galleries, they work in reverse underneath glass as they do on walls and cards. Because display cases tend to be viewed at especially close distances, the precise and neat look of a transparent label for glass is an asset. Even with focused lighting, you’ll be pleased with the readability and clarity. If your label content is longer and has expanded information, rub-on letters apply easily and maintain even spacing and structure. They apply effortlessly underneath any clean glass surface and are semi-permanent.

#5 Object Labels

Museum object labels using dry transfers. Vintage trunks with custom white decals for exbibit labels and artwork description.

For certain contemporary objects, you may wish to display information on the piece itself. In these cases, dry rub-on transfers offer advantages that are second to none. As long as you’re applying to a smooth, flat surface such as glass, wood, metal, wallboard, or plastic, you’ll be able to have a polished looking exhibit object label with a minimum of effort.

Any typeface font and accompanying design elements will reproduce exactly as intended in the digital files you submit. Image Transfers excels at higher-end and innovative applications – and we will work closely with you throughout the process. We’re always available to discuss any request and happily offer advice and ideas whenever we can.

Image Transfers are custom dry rub-on transfer specialists. We make only one thing: custom rub down transfers for graphic designers, artists, and model-makers. A dry transfer (or rubdown) is an image printed on a translucent sheet. The image has a coating of adhesive on its back. The image is transferred from the translucent sheet onto another surface by applying light pressure in a rubbing motion. The dry transfer can be applied to any surface that is free of dust, grease or oil. Dry transfers are referred to as DRY because they are applied dry, without the use of water or solvents. A dry transfer is not a slip-off label or a water decal, instead, the transferred image appears as if it was printed directly onto the item. Our dry transfers are opaque because we back the colors with white, so our rubdowns can be applied to a surface of any color without changing the color of the rub-on transfer. We consider dry transfers a semi-permanent application. A top coat of clear lacquer can make them more permanent. Our production artists can match all Pantone Matching System (PMS) colors including Metallic. Standard transfers are semi-gloss but we also offer matte and uncoated finishes. We deliver within as little as 24 hours. -- Specialties: Custom Rub Down Dry Transfers, Art Gallery Signage & Museum Labels, Custom Transfers for Product Prototypes, Comps & Mock-ups, Dry Transfers for Scale Models. Decals for Glass and reversed transfer decals for inside glass cases.

Posted in Display Cases, Museum Exhibits Tagged with: , , ,
4 comments on “5 Types of Museum Labels Available with Custom Dry Transfers
  1. T Shahrum T Onn says:

    How do you remove the transfers from the walls (eg. for exhibition de-installation) ?

    • Luann says:

      There are a few ways to remove our transfers on walls. First we would recommend tacking off the transfer with painters tape. Next would be to use Bestine Solution or Lacquer Solvent. Of course we recommend testing all of these processes in an inconspicuous spot. Last thing you can do would be to paint over the transfers. They are only the thickness of lacquer ink. And using transfers for this purpose will certainly add a professional look to the exhibit.

  2. Ulisses Santiago says:


    How much will it cost for 10 short two sentences and paragraphs placed on a museum or exhibition gallery walls? Black typed letter only against a white wall occupying approximately 2 feet by 4 feet blank space beside a small sculpture on a pedestal.

    • Luann says:

      Ulisses, We have prices published on our website. Costs go by artboard size area. The largest we do is 11″x17″ tabloid size. Usually when clients need larger text/captions they resort to vinyl lettering. Yes we know it isn’t as beautiful as our custom dry transfers but our process is one production artist working on one transfer until it is completed and we are limited to what size slicks work for our process. We hope you can find the right solution for your project. Thanks for your inquiry. Luann

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *