Monthly Archives: August 2006

  • The Personal Touch

    There was an interesting post yesterday over at the Church of the Customer blog. The blog author made a purchase at a retail J. Crew store last year and she just recently received a handwritten card from the clerk who served her nearly a year ago. The card referenced the upcoming football season and noted that she remembered the author was a Pittsburgh Steelers fan. A $10 gift card was included.

    This is pretty impressive customer service from an $800 million company. It always amazes me that more companies don't do this sort of thing - it really isn't that difficult. And in today's high tech world a hand written thank you card has more impact than ever before. The irony is that with today's computer systems we know more about our customers than ever before, but rarely do companies get truly personal with their customers.

    We have been using thank you cards for some time here at Lightning Labels. Even though we have some of the most advanced label printing equipment money can buy, we still like to keep a personal touch with our customers. After all, business is really about relationships between people.

  • Innovative Packaging Ideas

    I recently wrote an article for an industry publication titled Innovative Packaging Ideas. There are 10 new ideas that anyone involved in package design can use. Here is a brief summary of the ideas:

    1. Create a Reusable Package
    2. Add a Little Extra
    3. Make Design the Focus
    4. Create Fun Packaging
    5. Let Your True Colors Shine Through
    6. Extend Your Labels with Sandwich Printing
    7. Try the Metallic Look
    8. Focus Your Packaging on a Specific Target
    9. Merge Two Packaging Concepts
    10 Look to Nature for Inspiration

    The main purpose here is to get you to think more about your packaging. An innovative package can get your product noticed in the competitive retail marketplace. Take some of the ideas here and see if you can improve your own packaging. Remember, your packaging not only has to contain your product, it is your final marketing message to your customers. Look at what your competition is doing and make sure you deliver a strong message with your packaging.

    Here is a link to the complete article.

  • Cool Hot Sauce Labels

    Salsa_61_1

    Danny Cash started making hot sauce in his own kitchen about four and a half years ago. Everyone loved his creations so he decided to do it professionally. Now he creates large batches of hot sauce in a commercial kitchen and sells his products all over the world.

    Private label hot sauce is their specialty. I know that for a fact because just in the last few months I have seen his hot sauce in several restaurants throughout Colorado. These days he has eight products and over 300 different labels. That is one of the advantages of using the digital label printing of Lightning Labels - he can combine many of these small private label orders into one job and get a great price - you can't do that with traditional label printing.

    Pictured above are three of his products under his own Colorado Gourmet label. I like the contrast of the cool Colorado mountains with the fiery hot sauce. If you feel like trying out his products you can order it by the bottle on their web site.

    The Lightning Labels Blog will be taking a summer vacation - I am heading to California for 10 days. Be back later in the month.

  • Fonts Important on Packaging Label

    I came across this interesting post from last week about the importance of type in package design. The article gives some examples of excellent design that use plain graphics and an appealing font as the main design element. Examples given are Izze beverages and Kettle chips.

    This is a good reminder that it is not just great graphics that will ensure a beautifully designed label. Think carefully about the fonts you choose when designing your labels and make sure they fit the image you are trying to create. A well chosen font combined with pleasing graphics can only enhance the impact of your labels.

  • Learning About Label Laminates

    Labels, particularly those printed by a digital label printer, look better and are more durable with a laminate. A laminate can give your label a gloss or matte finish and it provides a protective layer between the ink on your label and the outside world, so your label will look good longer.

    Here at Lightning Labels, we almost always laminate the labels we print. It costs very little extra and it ensures that light scuffing will not damage the label in any way. What you may not realize is that we offer a number of laminates:

    1. High Gloss - our most popular laminate. It is the least expensive option and provides protection for the label and a high gloss shiny finish. 2. Matte (Imprintable) - provides your label with a quality matte finish. This is also the best laminate to choose if you want to handwrite information on your labels. 3. Thermal Transfer - a gloss laminate that is designed to work with most over-printing thermal transfer printers. We do recommend you get samples first to test through your own printer before placing an order with this laminate. 4. UV Outdoor Gloss - best used for labels that will be used outdoors. It has a high gloss finish with excellent UV resistance. It is best paired with our vinyl material for the most durable outdoor label.

    The price for these laminates are all slightly different. You can now use our Instant Online Label Quoter to find a price for your labels with any of these different laminates.

    Now, as I said most of our labels are laminated - but we do have one exception. We offer a textured material (called Estate #9) that looks great without a laminate. It is not recommended for applications that involve any wear and tear, but it works very well for wine labels or gourmet foods where you want the textured look and feel.

  • Heinz Now Offering Custom Labels

    Ketchup_1 Last week after 130 years Heinz announced something completely new in the world of ketchup. No, the recipe hasn't changed, but you can now customize the label on their ketchup bottles. In celebration of the famous ketchup brand's 130th birthday Heinz is offering everyone the ability to create their very own ketchup label at www.myheinz.com.

    The good news is that the minimum quantity is just one bottle and the cost starts as low as $4.50. The bad news is it takes 3-4 weeks and there is a pretty steep shipping & handling fee. Regardless, what Heinz is doing is a breakthrough. This is the first time a mass market consumer product like this is being offered with the ability to create your own label. I say it is about time.

    The technology to be able to do this has been around for several years, but Heinz is the first company to attempt this on a large scale. The way they are doing it is most likely printing a large number of blank shells of their labels and then overprinting the personalized messages on these shells on a high speed digital printer. They are probably waiting to run a large batch all at once, which is why you have to wait 3-4 weeks.

    Here at Lightning Labels we also have the capability to do labels like this. Because we only use digital label printing every label we produce can be different. We obviously hope this move by Heinz will be the first step in a continuing trend of personalized labels for consumer products. We are ready for it.

  • The French Go for Funny Wine Labels

    In an article in last Sunday's London Times there was an interesting story about French wine labels. It seems that competition is forcing French wine makers to desperate measures - they are trying to use humor to sell their beloved wine.

    In a previous post, I discussed the popularity of "critter labels" in this country. Critter labels are simply wine labels with animals on them; they have become a whole new wine "category" where sales are being tracked by ACNielsen. It looks like the French have started embracing this new category. There are wine labels now with fun names and pictures of animals. We have Elephant on a Tightrope wines featuring a cartoon elephant sipping a glass of wine while sitting on a tightrope. There is also Arrogant Frog Ribet Red and Ribet White wines featuring a well dressed frog (with a beret and cane!) holding a glass of wine.

    Now, these wines might not make it on to the table of serious oenophiles, but there is a very large market for fun and inexpensive wines. At this end of the market the best way a winery can set themselves apart from the competition is with their wine label. Here at Lightning Labels, we notice many of the wine labels we print are in step with this fun and whimsical trend.

  • Unique Candle Labels

    Candle_12

    Jay Johnson and his son Ross founded My Town Scents back in 2003. Nothing unusual there except that Jay's son Ross was only 12 at the time, and the concept was actually his idea. Ross suggested that they make a candle that smelled like a beach and they put the name of their town, Duxbury Beach on the candle label.

    Jay made up a plain white candle label with Duxbury Beach and put it on their high quality candles. When it sold like hot cakes, he realized his son was on to something. It was also then that Ross decided he wanted a piece of the action. So, the 12-year-old entrepreneur negotiated a royalty payment for each candle sold, with the understanding that this money go directly in to his college fund.

    My Town Scents' candles are made only with the highest quality materials. The candle label is always a beautiful watercolor painting of a scene from the town featured. Here at Lightning Labels, we love doing labels like this because it really shows off the quality of our digital label printing. The labels featured above were printed on our white polypropylene material with a matte laminate.

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Material Descriptions

Materials

BIOSTONE

One of our eco-friendly options that is actually made of stone—no trees are used. This material should not laminated.

CAST GLOSS

This is another material specially designed for the wine industry. It is paper-based with a high-gloss white finish. Same adhesive and liner as Estate #9.

CHROME (SILVER) BOPP

This material has the same water and oil-resistant properties as our White BOPP and Clear BOPP, but has the "mirror-like" look of shiny chrome.

CLASSIC CREST

Best suited for wine labels, this is a white paper stock with a dull matte finish. It is not suitable for lamination and is therefore not waterproof. Same adhesive and liner as Estate #9.

CLEAR BOPP

This is the clear version of the Polypropylene (BOPP) material. It has the same waterproof qualities as the White BOPP. It provides more of a "no label" look and is also suitable for window stickers (where reverse printing of the image allows the label to be applied to the inside of a glass window and be viewed from the outside).

ESTATE #9

This is a great option for wine labels, gourmet foods or applications where a textured finish is desired. Being a paper stock, it's not as water-resistant or durable as BOPP, but its light cream color and textured feel add a touch of the "unusual" to the right product. It features a special adhesive (removable in 100+ degree hot water) and a stronger liner particularly suited to machine application. Not suitable for lamination.

GOLD POLYESTER (METALIZED)

This material will make your labels shine! Suitable for most labeling applications, it has a strong adhesive backing and must be laminated. Choose glossy laminate to make your label designs pop, or matte for a unique, elegant look.

KRAFT (RECYCLED)

This is a recycled 100% post consumer waste material. It is a 55# paper material that is a wonderful option if an “earthy” appearance is desired. The stronger liner is well suited for machine application. Depending upon face, substrate, water temperature and dwell time, label may be removed in hot water. It is not suitable for lamination; therefore, it is not water or oil resistant.

REMOVABLE WHITE BOPP

This material is the same as our standard BOPP, but has a special, "less aggressive" adhesive designed to allow the label to be removed or re-positioned after application. Depending on the surface it will be applied to, customer testing is strongly recommended. We can provide samples for this purpose.

SATIN CLOTH

Quite the unique material! Yes, it is woven satin acetate cloth. Think wine or spirit labels! This material will make your product packaging POP. The stronger liner is well suited for machine application. Depending upon face, substrate, water temperature and dwell time, label may be removed in hot water.

SQUEEZABLE

A white, 3mil film that is better suited for squeezable applications. This material has proven to work well in a variety of applications, so you can be confident it will perform well for you.

VELLUM (RECYCLED)

A great “green” choice, this 60# vellum is 100% recycled with 100% post consumer waste material. Cannot be laminated. Is neither water nor oil-resistant. The stronger liner is well suited for machine application. Depending upon face, substrate, water temperature and dwell time, label may be removed in hot water.

WHITE BOPP

This is our most commonly used material and is suitable for most applications. It's a polypropylene material with a permanent adhesive. It is impervious to water and oils, and is particularly suitable for bath and body products, as well as food containers.

WHITE EARTHFIRST PLA

A more environmentally friendly alternative to White BOPP. The PLA stands for Polylactic Acid (a biopolymer made from corn rather than petrochemicals). Similar look and feel to BOPP and suitable for most applications, but should not be used directly on candle containers.

WHITE FLEXIBLE VINYL

This is our most substantial material. The vinyl is thicker than BOPP, and is most suitable for outdoor applications where greater strength and durability are needed, or where lengthy exposure to the elements is an issue.

WINDOW DECAL (CLEAR/ULTRA-REMOVABLE)

We offer this window decal option as an alternative to static cling. The face stock is clear with excellent clarity. The adhesive is an ultra-removable featuring excellent weatherability and UV resistance. It removes cleanly from a wide variety of substrates without staining or ghosting. Why worry about static clings staying on when you can have removable adhesive there to hold it in place?

CAST GLOSS

This is another material specially designed for the wine industry. It is paper-based with a high-gloss white finish. Same adhesive and liner as Estate #9.

CHROME (SILVER) BOPP

This material has the same water and oil-resistant properties as our White BOPP and Clear BOPP, but has the "mirror-like" look of shiny chrome.

CLASSIC CREST

Best suited for wine labels, this is a white paper stock with a dull matte finish. It is not suitable for lamination and is therefore not waterproof. Same adhesive and liner as Estate #9.

CLEAR BOPP

This is the clear version of the Polypropylene (BOPP) material. It has the same waterproof qualities as the White BOPP. It provides more of a "no label" look and is also suitable for window stickers (where reverse printing of the image allows the label to be applied to the inside of a glass window and be viewed from the outside).

ESTATE #9

This is a great option for wine labels, gourmet foods or applications where a textured finish is desired. Being a paper stock, it's not as water-resistant or durable as BOPP, but its light cream color and textured feel add a touch of the "unusual" to the right product. It features a special adhesive (removable in 100+ degree hot water) and a stronger liner particularly suited to machine application. Not suitable for lamination.

GOLD POLYESTER (METALIZED)

This material will make your labels shine! Suitable for most labeling applications, it has a strong adhesive backing and must be laminated. Choose glossy laminate to make your label designs pop, or matte for a unique, elegant look.

KRAFT (RECYCLED)

This is a recycled 100% post consumer waste material. It is a 55# paper material that is a wonderful option if an “earthy” appearance is desired. The stronger liner is well suited for machine application. Depending upon face, substrate, water temperature and dwell time, label may be removed in hot water. It is not suitable for lamination; therefore, it is not water or oil resistant.

REMOVABLE WHITE BOPP

This material is the same as our standard BOPP, but has a special, "less aggressive" adhesive designed to allow the label to be removed or re-positioned after application. Depending on the surface it will be applied to, customer testing is strongly recommended. We can provide samples for this purpose.

SATIN CLOTH

Quite the unique material! Yes, it is woven satin acetate cloth. Think wine or spirit labels! This material will make your product packaging POP. The stronger liner is well suited for machine application. Depending upon face, substrate, water temperature and dwell time, label may be removed in hot water.

SQUEEZABLE

A white, 3mil film that is better suited for squeezable applications. This material has proven to work well in a variety of applications, so you can be confident it will perform well for you.

VELLUM (RECYCLED)

A great “green” choice, this 60# vellum is 100% recycled with 100% post consumer waste material. Cannot be laminated. Is neither water nor oil-resistant. The stronger liner is well suited for machine application. Depending upon face, substrate, water temperature and dwell time, label may be removed in hot water.

WHITE BOPP

This is our most commonly used material and is suitable for most applications. It's a polypropylene material with a permanent adhesive. It is impervious to water and oils, and is particularly suitable for bath and body products, as well as food containers.

WHITE EARTHFIRST PLA

A more environmentally friendly alternative to White BOPP. The PLA stands for Polylactic Acid (a biopolymer made from corn rather than petrochemicals). Similar look and feel to BOPP and suitable for most applications, but should not be used directly on candle containers.

WHITE FLEXIBLE VINYL

This is our most substantial material. The vinyl is thicker than BOPP, and is most suitable for outdoor applications where greater strength and durability are needed, or where lengthy exposure to the elements is an issue.

WINDOW DECAL (CLEAR/ULTRA-REMOVABLE)

We offer this window decal option as an alternative to static cling. The face stock is clear with excellent clarity. The adhesive is an ultra-removable featuring excellent weatherability and UV resistance. It removes cleanly from a wide variety of substrates without staining or ghosting. Why worry about static clings staying on when you can have removable adhesive there to hold it in place?

Artwork Specifications

Laminates

High Gloss

High gloss is our most popular laminate. It is the least expensive option and provides protection for the label and a high gloss shiny finish.

Matte

The Matte Laminate provides your label with a dull, non-glossy finish. Some customers consider this achieves a more "natural" look.

Thermal Transfer

This is a gloss laminate that is designed to work with most over-printing thermal transfer printers. We do recommend you get samples first to test through your own printer before placing an order with this laminate.

UV Outdoor Gloss

As the name implies this is best used for labels that will be used outdoors. It has a high gloss finish with excellent UV resistance. It is best paired with our vinyl material for the most durable outdoor label.