Monthly Archives: September 2006

  • Another Retail Product With Custom Labels

    In a previous post I talked about the new custom label program from Heinz. You can order Heinz ketchup with your own message on it, and they will deliver your custom labeled ketchup to you in 4-6 weeks. I just received my bottle this week, after about a five week wait. Why it takes that long is anyone's guess, but we all know that big bureaucracies tend to move slowly.

    Johnnie Walker scotch have a different twist on the same idea. When you register on the Johnnie Walker web site you can order a custom label with your own message (up to 3 lines). But instead of sending you a bottle of their product like Heinz do, Johnnie Walker will send you just the label, so you can apply it to a bottle you have purchased at the liquor store. Best of all, they are giving these labels away free of charge, up to 5 labels per person.

    I think this is a smart move. With all the regulatory information regarding sales of hard alcohol, they couldn't really do what Heinz has done. But they are enhancing their brand by allowing people to create their own personalized labels to use as gifts. And we all know the Holiday Season is just around the corner.

  • Old Style Packaging Designs

    Bandaid

    I stumbled across this fascinating web site recently featuring over 100 packages from the early decades of the 20th Century. The American Packaging Museum displays the private collection of retail products from yesteryear of Ian House, the museum's curator and founder.

    There are so many iconic packages from the 20th century. You have old examples of Coke, Pepsi, Wrigley's Gum, Kleenex, Tootsie Rolls, and many more. What was fascinating to me is to see the many products whose packaging has evolved only slightly in more than 50 years. Tide Detergent and Heinz Ketchup are examples of products that have kept a very similar look and feel for decades. Others such as Wheaties and Dr. Pepper are barely recognizeable.

    If you are having trouble coming up with a unique custom label or package design for your products, you can take a look here for some completely different ideas. By taking some of the elements of these retro designs, you could create a very unique look for your product.

  • What Does "Full Bleed" Mean?

    Fullbleedexample Understanding the concept of a "full bleed" is important if you want the color on your labels to go right up to the very edge. This is best explained by an example. Look closely at the label above - this is a 3" x 5" label from our custom label sample pack. To create a 3" x 5" full color label like this, we actually use artwork that is slightly bigger than our finished label. For most instances the size of the finished art that we use to print the label is 1/16" larger on all sides. So, the box that we created in this instance is actually 3.125" x 5.125". ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** Click to get our Introduction to Product Labeling white paper free for a Tweet! ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** Why do we need this extra space? It has to do with the way a label is created. When labels are created they are first printed on the label material and then they are cut into the shape you want. This cutting is a mechanical process and the material can drift ever so slightly (up to 1/32") during the die cutting. If you just had color without a full bleed then when the material shifted slightly you would notice a white area at the edge of your label. By adding 1/16" of color to all sides of your label you will ensure you will get a finished product that looks good and has color all the way to the very edge of your label. Order your own custom label sample pack today to see our label materials.

  • New Blogsmith Column Launched

    I am delighted to be a new columnist for Label and Narrow Web magazine, a leading trade publication for the label industry. My new column is titled The Blogsmith, and with a title like that not surprisingly I will be writing about blogs. My main focus will be blogs that are of interest to people in the label industry - from a technical and management perspective.

    In my first column I introduce the readers to blogs, featuring a couple of excellent blogs where you can learn about this new media tool. There is also a feature on the excellent RFID Weblog. You can read the first column here.

  • Learning About Labels at LabelExpo

    The biannual show, LabelExpo, happened this week in Chicago. Steve Smith (president of Lightning Labels) and I went along to see what was new in the world of labels. Here is a summary of what I consider to be the most interesting parts of the show:

    1. The famous designer Karim Rashid gave the Tuesday keynote on the importance of good packaging design in today's marketplace. With his designs he is moving towards more simple branding, with lots of blank space on the label. So many labels today on retail shelves are packed with information that a well-designed minimalist approach works very well.

    2. We attended a seminar on digital label printing where HP presented information showing the growth of digital printing in the label industry. There are now 450 digital label presses installed worldwide (Lightning Labels has two of these), and that number has grown 67% in the last two years. What was more interesting is that the volume of labels printed with these digital presses has risen 185% in the last two years, as more people see the benefits of digital label printing.

    3. There was a seminar on sustainable packaging - there have been a number of new developments in this area. Just in the last 12 months, Plastic Suppliers has developed their EarthFirst PLA label material which is made from corn instead of petroleum products. Here at Lightning Labels we are going to begin testing this material shortly and hope to have it available in the coming months. 

    4. There is a push towards the use of Environmentally Benign Adhesive (EBA) on paper labels. The main reason is that when labels with regular adhesive enter the paper recycling stream the adhesive builds up on the pulping machines and cause expensive breakdowns. All postage stamps now come with EBA, so they can enter the recycling stream and be processed easily like regular paper.

    5. There were several examples of the latest in label printing and die cutting technology. We saw the new press from HP (the WS4500) as well as a couple of laser die cutting machines. While we decided there was no new technology compelling enough for us to purchase at the show, we will certainly be keeping an eye on these new developments.

  • A Variety of Wine Labels

    Wine_5
    Deerfield Ranch is an award winning winery located in the heart of Sonoma Valley in California. They specialize in small lots of handmade wine - currently they work with 17 vineyards and make as many as 40 separate lots of wine for these vineyards. They also do some private label wine for clients who want wine with their own label design.

    We have done a variety of labels for Deerfield Ranch, above is a photo of four different wine labels we have recently printed. The two wine labels on the left use our Estate #9 material, a material that was created specifically for the wine industry. It features a textured look and feel on a cream colored paper, and a permanent adhesive that allows for the label to be easily removed in hot water. The two labels on the right are printed on our standard white BOPP material.

    The designs on these wine labels are all unique and striking. I particularly like how they perfectly matched up the color of the foil seal with the labels. It makes for an impressive looking wine bottle.

  • Lightning Labels Blog Featured

    Wendy Maynard, the marketing maven and author of the Kinetic Ideas blog featured us on her blog yesterday. I answer some questions about blogging - why I do it and how it helps business.

    Kinetic Ideas is an excellent blog for anyone interested in small business marketing. Wendy provides lots of practical ideas that are often easy to implement and inexpensive, and can take you beyond traditional marketing.

  • Using Variable Data Labels

    One of the biggest advantages of digital label printing is the ability for every label to be unique. Whether you are printing serial number labels, barcode tracking labels, parking decals or product labels with lot and date coding - all these applications can be handled with ease with a digital label printer. Best of all with the advanced technology these days, all components of your variable data label can be printed in full color.

    There are two ways to create your variable data labels. First, you can have a digital label printer print the entire project - this is the easiest and simplest way to go. You provide the label printer with your art and details of the variable component of the job and the label printer will take care of the rest. The other alternative is to overprint label shells yourself with a thermal transfer printer - these days thermal transfer printers are inexpensive (less than $1,000) and you can overprint the variable data component of your labels as you need them.

    There are some things to keep in mind when considering variable data labels:
    1. Be sure to get a physical label proof from your label printer with your variable information so you can see exactly what you labels will look like when printed.
    2. If you are printing your variable data on your own thermal transfer printer make sure you get a sample of the material first and ask your printer to print your label shells with a thermal transfer varnish or laminate.
    3. Find out how your label printer handles mistakes on a variable data print run. If there is an issue halfway through the run that shouldn't be your problem. Because each label is unique you want to make sure your printer provides you with exactly what you are requesting.

    With today's digital label printing technology variable data labels are relatively easy to produce if you know what you are doing. Here at Lightning Labels we are experts in variable data - digital labels are all that we do. We would be happy to give you advice on any variable data label project.

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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.