Monthly Archives: January 2007

  • Looking for Love with Stickers

    Milk_stickers_1
    I came across this amusing article recently from our friends across the pond. Just in time for Valentine's Day, a Welsh dating site has teamed up with a milk producer to put "dating stickers" on milk bottles. All five people (three men and two women) featured on the stickers are farmers in rural Wales who are also part of an online dating service.

    Apparently the stickers were applied by hand on the milk production line, although there is no word on the size of the print run. Now, this is a novel way to look for a date, but I am hoping this catches on here. This could become a new niche for Lightning Labels. And you don't have to stop at milk, I could see orange juice, bottled water, soda bottles, the sky is limit. Seriously though, this was a novel idea that produced some good publicity for the farmers, the dating web site, and the milk co-op.

  • Government Labeling Requirements

    In the past week we have had two potential customers ask us about government labeling requirements. We don't pretend to be experts in the myriad of government regulations that control the labeling in some industries such as food and pharmaceuticals, but we can point you in the right direction.

    Some of the most detailed regulations are for labeling food. For a start most food items need a nutrition facts box on the label. While we can certainly create one for you, it is up to you to make sure the content of your nutrition facts box adheres to the law. A good place to start is the Food Labeling section of the FDA web site. Here you can read about the up to date requirements for food labeling. Of course there are plenty of companies out there willing to help you get your nutrition facts right, just do a Google search.

    Here is a short list of different industries and the government required labeling regulations:
    Wine labels
    Organic food labels
    Cosmetic labels
    Dietary Supplement Labeling

    You should also make sure that your label adheres to the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act that basically states you need to properly identify your product, your business, and the quantity of the contents. Of course, you don't have to do all this yourself. There are plenty of companies out there that help with labeling requirements. If you need more help than this list provides, I would start with your industry association.

  • New Label Press Up and Running

    Today we ran our first production job on our new digital label printing press, the HP-Indigo WS4500. The colors were vibrant and crisp, the press speed was fast and it was a joy for us to watch. We even shot a video as this first job was printing (see below).

    We still have a lot to learn before we get up to full production, but when you spend a small fortune on a new piece of equipment, it is always nice to see it working as it is supposed to do.

  • More Resources for Soap and Candle Makers

    We have many customers who buy custom soap labels and candle labels, so last year I wrote about some candle and soapmaking resources. In my research and in talking with our customers I have discovered a few more resources, so I thought I would share them with you:

    Soap Wire - a newswire for the natural personal care products industry (Lightning Labels is a sponsor of this web site)
    Saponifier - a bimonthly online magazine dedicated to makers of handcrafted soap, toiletries and candles.
    Candle Making Survival - this is a Yahoo Group with almost 5,000 members, making them one of the largest online groups of candlemakers in the world.

    Of course, as with anything these days a Google search will provide a wealth of information. But I know several Lightning Labels customers who use these soap and candle making resources on a regular basis. We also have a dedicated candle labels page on our web site.

  • The New Label Press Arrives

     100_0969_edited1_1

    Today was an exciting day here at Lightning Labels. We took delivery of our new state of the art digital label press, the HP-Indigo WS4500. Weighing in at just over 10,000 lbs you can see this is quite a beast. We are excited because we know this is the best digital label press that money can buy, and we will be able to produce higher quality labels than ever before.

    100_0971_edited1
    HP flew out a technician from the west coast to install the machine, and above was where we stood at the end of the day. It is going to take all week to get this puppy up and running, and several more weeks before we can ramp up to full production.

    We have expanded our space into the unit next door that was vacant, so we now take up four full units in the building for a total of 12,600 square feet. So we are able to dedicate a special room for the new press, a clean room that we will keep climate controlled to ensure the highest quality printing.

  • Anatomy of a Brand Identity

    The current issue of Inc. magazine has a fascinating cover story on branding. It gives an in depth case study of a brand makeover for Dave's Gourmet, the maker of the famous Dave's Insanity Sauce. Dave definitely has a problem. He has 136 different products, many with completely different label design, and no common branding theme at all. His one main product accounts for 68% of his sales, but because people use it in such small quantities, they only buy one bottle every three years. So it is understandable he would want to broaded his product offerings.

    The article explains in detail the steps taken by Deskey, the independent branding agency that convinced Dave he needed some help. There is an excellent slide show that provides images of the different label designs that were created. What I found most interesting was the insight into the creative process that these people went through in order to come up with the new ideas. Anyone trying to come up with a brand identity for their products could learn a great deal here.

    In the end, Dave rejected all the ideas and a quick check of his web site confirms that none of his labels contain the new ideas put forward. In my opinion, Dave is making a mistake. The labels for his products are all over the place, there is no consistent theme, so he is not taking advantage of the brand identity he already has. While I wasn't crazy about Deskey's final designs, I think they provided a consistent look that would have served Dave's Gourmet in the long run.

    Anyway, if you are struggling with your product label designs and want some new ideas, check out the January issue of Inc. If nothing else, you will come away with some insight into the thought that goes into creating a brand identity.

  • Delicious Looking Ice Cream Labels

    Mangopassionsorbet
    Gaby's Farm is a small family run farm in South Florida that grows exotic tropical fruit plants and makes ice cream from the fruit. Their ice cream is all natural and they have complete control of their production process because they grow their own trees and harvest their own fruit. I chose to feature this label because these are my two favorite fruits - mango and passionfruit. I would love to taste this sorbet, but right now it is only available to South Florida residents.

    Their ice cream labels are beautifully designed in rich color, and they really show off the capabilities of our digital label printing press. The labels were printed on our standard White BOPP material with permanent adhesive. The adhesive is guaranteed down to -20 degrees, and the labels can be applied down to 23 degrees. It is also very durable, so it is the perfect label material to use for ice cream. Gaby's Farm also took advantage of digital label printing by doing small quantities of 13 different label versions.

  • Packaging Innovations

    If you are interested in the latest innovations in the packaging industry you should check out Web Packaging. Anything new in the world of packaging makes it on to their web site. They breakdown their site into useful industry categories - beauty & cosmetics, food, beverage, healthcare and many more.

    I subscribe to their RSS feed, so I get notified of anything new that appears on their web site. They also have an e-Newsletter you can subscribe to. They don't have much information about custom labels, their main focus is on bottle and containers. But it is one of the best resources available if you are looking for something innovative for your packaging.

  • Another Banner Year at Lightning Labels

    Now regular readers will know that I don't like to toot our own horn here very much on this blog - I believe the blog is mainly about educating our customers and prospects about custom labels. But allow me this one indulgence.

    We have just wrapped up another great year here at Lightning Labels. We had record sales of over $2.3 million, a 55% increase over the year before. But what was most gratifying to me is that our repeat business increased even faster - 62% over 2005. I certainly appreciate your continued business and the confidence you all have in our ability to meet your label needs.

    This year I am more excited than at any time since I started this business back in 2002. With the delivery of the new digital label press later this month, we will be entering a new era. The new HP -Indigo WS4500 is simply the best digital label printing press money can buy and it will allow us to serve our customers even better. I will be reporting here when the new press is installed.

    This year marks our 5th anniversary in business, we took delivery of our first press in March 2002. It has been a challenging and enjoyable journey, but the Lightning Labels story is only just beginning.

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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.