Monthly Archives: October 2006

  • Boo! Here's a Halloween Label

     Halloween

    In keeping with today's theme we bring you a haunting Halloween label we did recently. Sweets by Denise is a small business that makes delicious homemade truffles, candies, lollipops and other decadent treats. It was founded by Denise Robbins, who after 15 years in the technology industry decided she wanted to pursue her dream and start her own business.

    As you can imagine Halloween is busy time at Sweets by Denise. These Halloween labels went on the wrappers of several different scary treats this Halloween. Her most popular treat was the Mummy Bear which is a chocolate bear lollipop "wrapped" in white chocolate bandages.

    Like many small businesses Sweets by Denise cannot afford to order large quantities of labels. Denise takes advantage of the digital label printing capabilities at Lightning Labels by gang running several different versions of the same sized label to reduce her unit price. This last job we did for her had custom labels for Christmas, Thanksgiving, Halloween and several other designs in the same run.

  • Choosing a Label Material

    Choosing the appropriate material for your labels is an important step in the label buying process. Here at Lightning Labels we provide a number of options. For most people our standard white BOPP material will work well. This is a great all purpose material, it is inexpensive, resistant to water and chemicals, quite durable, and has an attractive pearly shine to it. Unless you have specific needs, this is our recommended material.

    Here is a list of our other materials with a brief explanation of each one:

    Clear BOPP - this has the same qualities as our White BOPP but in a clear version. It can provide a "no label" look when applied to your product. We can also do reverse printing on clear BOPP which is suitable for window labels.

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

    White Vinyl - is our thickest and most durable material. It is 4 Mils thick and is suitable for applications where greater strength or durability is needed. It is our recommended material if the label is to be used outdoors.

    Estate #9 (Textured) - is a cream colored textured material. It is very popular for wine labels, and labels for gourmet foods or high-end beverages. It is a paper stock and therefore not as durable as our BOPP materials, but it does have a unique look and feel that can be striking.

    If you are still unsure what material you need then we suggest you request one of our free sample packs. This has actual label samples of all of our materials, so you can see for yourself which material would best suit your needs.

  • Labels and Labeling Profile

    The recent edition of Labels & Labeling magazine has a wonderful profile on Lightning Labels. My partner Steve Smith and I did an in depth interview with the magazine where we talked about how we have been able to build a label printing business so fast in a competitive industry. We don't give away all our secrets, just a general overview of the business.

    Labels & Labeling
    is one of the world's leading label industry publications and it is based in the UK.

  • Eye Catching Honey Labels

    Honey_1

    We printed these honey labels here last week and I thought they were very striking. They were for Pot of Gold Aparies, a small one person business in northern Colorado founded by Stephen Hack. Stephen has been a bee keeper for 6 years, but has only been selling his products for the last year and a half.

    Pot of Gold Aparies has two products - honey and a handcream made from beeswax. He sells his products at some local markets and also through word of mouth. Right now this is just a part time business for Stephen, but one day he would like to grow his business into a full time operation.

    Stephen has taken an important step by using professionally printed labels instead of just the home made variety. It is a simple but eye catching label design that will give his products a more professional look. It can only help Stephen sell more of his honey and handcream.

  • More Than Just Label Printing

    One of my tasks here is to follow up with everyone who requests one of our free label sample packs. I get a wide range of responses to my follow up email, but the most common response is an expression of interest with the understanding that there are many more steps involved before they are ready to order labels.

    We know a large number of our new customers are brand new startup businesses, where the owner is doing it all. Believe me, I know what it is like - I have started two businesses from scratch. There are so many details to take care of it can feel overwhelming. This is why my partner Steve Smith, president of Lightning Labels, developed the white paper, An Introduction to Product Labeling. This guides the new label buyer through all the steps in the product label process.

    Another common request I receive from my follow up emails is help with designing the labels. This is a critical step to consider when ordering product labels - one that can have a large influence on the success of your product. This is why we have an in-house graphic designer who spends most of her time designing attractive and eye-catching labels for our clients.

    This post is written for those people who feel overwhelmed at the myriad of tasks that are required to produce a professionally labeled product. Read the white paper, read this blog (the most popular category is Labeling Basics), and ask questions. There are plenty of free resources available to you here, be sure to take advantage of them.

  • Wacky Warning Labels

    The ninth annual Wacky Warning Label contest conducted by the Michigan Lawsuit Abuse Watch (M-LAW) has recently been awarded. The contest celebrates the wierd and wacky warning labels that appear on some products these days.

    Here are this year's winners:

    1st Place - A heat gun and paint remover that produces temperatures of 1,000 degrees and warns users, "Do not use this tool as a hair dryer" (see the pictures below).

    2nd Place - A kitchen knife that warns: "Never try to catch a falling knife."

    3rd Place - A cocktail napkin that has a map of the waterways around Hilton Head, South Carolina printed on it along with this: "Caution: Not to be used for navigation."

    Honorable mentions this year also go to these two warning labels:

    A bottle of dried bobcat urine made to keep rodents and other pests away from garden plants. It says: "Not for human consumption."

    On a baking pan: "Ovenware will get hot when used in oven."

    This contest was started by M-LAW in response to the many frivilous lawsuits that are brought by individuals these days. In response companies have had to assume that people using their products have very little intelligence or common sense, and so they need to warn consumers against every conceivable possibility. The good news is that it does make for some amusing labels. Here is a list of the best labels of the previous contests.

    Heatgunweb_2

    Heatgunlabelweb_1

  • Electronic Paper is Advancing

    Last week Sony released the Sony Reader, a new electronic book reader that features some ground breaking new technology. It is the first electronic reader that can be read from any angle and it can be read equally well in bright sunshine or inside just like a newspaper. But what is most revolutionary is that it only uses power when the display changes for when you are "turning the page". Displaying the page itself consumes no power at all. Sony claims you can read 7,500 pages, roughly 20 good sized novels before needing a recharge.

    The size of the reader is just right. It has a 6" screen, it is 0.5" thick and weighs about 9 ounces, less than your average paperback. It can hold up to 80 average sized books at any one time, and with additional memory cards it can hold thousands more. The reviews have been mixed, with many people complaining about the software that runs the reader - but these are problems that are not difficult to fix.

    So how is this relevant to the label industry? Well at first glance it may not appear to have a link. But the world is going digital, the music and movie industry have already been transformed, and technology will start impacting other industries soon. The Sony Reader may or may not be a success but one thing is certain, the technology used to create this will be used for other products. Developments are also being made with rollable electronic paper, screens that we will be able to roll up and put in our pocket. Rollable electronic paper that requires very little power - these are developments that will have a future impact on the label printing industry.

    One day in the not too distant future product labels will be made from this electronic paper. Today, you could say that product labels have evolved only slightly in the past 100 years, they still contain printed text and graphics that is static. With electronic paper on products, we could have "labels" that are constantly changing. I discussed the efforts that Siemens are making in a post a few months back.

    I am convinced that electronic paper is going to revolutionize the printing industry in a similar way that downloadable music has changed the music industry. We may be several years off from electronic product labels, but I for one will be keeping a close eye on all these developments.

  • The Advantage of a Hard Copy Proof

    There was an interesting post on the Brioprint Commercial Printing Blog yesterday. They recounted the story of a customer of theirs who spent several days haggling over the price of the printing of his magazine and then demanded a three day turnaround on his job. There was no time to do a hard copy proof so he just received a PDF proof of his job and in his haste neglected to notice that one of the ads in his magazine did not appear. So he saved a few hundred dollars on the printing, but lost much more than that on his missed revenue from the ad.

    Here at Lightning Labels we offer a hard copy proof free of charge with every label order. The reason we do this is that we want you to see how your labels will look before you order. The advantage of digital label printing is that your hard copy proof will look EXACTLY the same as your finished order, we even print the proof on the same material as your finished labels. So you can check the color, type and printing quality before you approve the order.

    We also encourage every customer to study their proof carefully. There are many occasions when a small mistake is spotted, and we are able to correct it before printing your labels. A bit more care taken before the printing process begins can make sure that everyone is happy with the finished product.

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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.