Monthly Archives: February 2007

  • Another Example of Personalized Packaging

    Last year, I wrote about the Heinz custom ketchup labels when they introduced the My Heinz web site. Now another major consumer product company is offering personalized packaging for their products. A few days ago Kimberly-Clark launched MyKleenexTissue, and I have to say even though they are not using labels it is very cool.

    The Kleenex people have done a great job in recent years making their packaging more appealing by having artwork and attractive designs on the boxes. Now, they have gone one step further by allowing you complete customization of your box of Kleenex. The web site allows you to choose a background design, upload your own photo and put in a "frame". You can also add text in your choice of several different typestyles and colors. It is a very slick web site, the best that I have seen for customized packaging.

    I placed an order over the weekend for my own personalized Kleenex. It was very simple - the whole process including uploading the photo only took five minutes even with some of the fine tuning I did. They claim that you will receive your order in 5-7 days which implies they will ship it out in just 2-3 days. The minimum order is just 1 box of Kleenex, and that costs just $4.99.

    As a keen observer of customized packaging and labels, I am thrilled that Kimberly-Clark has made this move. They have executed it well and they are leveraging the power of digital printing to enhance their brand. Let's face it, Kleenex is pretty generic - all they have to differentiate themselves is their packaging. So they have introduced a way for their customers to have their very own unique box of tissues - they will probably keep the packaging long after the tissues are gone.

    I firmly believe this is the start of a new trend - personalized product packaging. It has only just begun, but I predict you will see dozens of major consumer product companies with customizable packaging by the end of this year. And within 2-3 years it will be an option for most major retail products. Obviously the simplest way to do this is to create a personalized label - and for that you need digital label printing. So Lightning Labels intends to be at the forefront of this new trend.

  • A Striking Hot Sauce Label

    _066370 We printed this label a few days ago and I really like the colors here so I thought we should feature it on the blog. This hot sauce label was created by Mike Shultz of Shultz's Gourmet where they make a delicious range of sauces and seasonings. We have a bottle of this hot sauce sitting in our office that I am anxious to try but the label looks so good on the bottle we have decided to keep it on display in our reception area.

    The hot sauce label is printed on our White BOPP material with a gloss laminate that really shows off the quality of our digital label printer. The vibrant colors we can produce is perfect for the hot colors required on a hot sauce label. The white BOPP is an excellent material because it is very durable and will hold up well even after months sitting in the fridge. And we always put a protective laminate on the label to protect the inks, so the label will look just as vibrant a year from now as it is today.

  • Top 10 Label Artwork Mistakes

    A few months ago I wrote a post about the mistakes that many people make with their label artwork. Well, I have expanded on that list to make a Top 10 Label Artwork Mistakes list. For those of you who receive the Lightning Flash newsletter you will have already seen this list - here is a summary:

    1. Missing Fonts
    2. Missing Bleed
    3. RGB vs CMYK files
    4. Improper File Resolution
    5. Tight Borders
    6. Spelling and Typing Mistakes
    7. Missing Graphics/Links
    8. Unsupported Software Format
    9. Color Expectations
    10. Incorrectly Sized Artwork

    Here is the complete article. By paying close attention to this list and avoiding these mistakes you will make the whole custom label ordering process much quicker and easier.

  • What is the Best Size for my Label?

    It always surprises me but this is a question that we get asked regularly. The size of the label is completely up to the individual customer, and it is somewhat dependent on the size of the container that the label is going on. I usually tell people to get the smallest label that will look good. Obviously the smaller the label the less expensive it is going to be.

    Having said all that there are some guidelines for label size that we can give you. We use 12" wide material on our digital label printing presses here at Lightning Labels, and the maximum printable area on this material is 10.75". We need to use some of the material for marks that assist in the die-cutting process. As far as length goes we can print up to 17" long. So that leaves a 10.75" x 17" print area that you have to work with. Keep in mind that we do need a gap between labels, and the standard gap is 0.125".

    For smaller sized labels you will not notice much difference in pricing with slightly different sizes, but for the larger labels the difference can be significant. Let's take an example that will demonstrate this. A 5" circle fits nicely 2 across and 3 down on what we call a frame (the 10.75" x 17" print area). The cost for 500 5" circles on our standard white BOPP with a gloss laminate is $362.86. Now, let's consider a 6" circle. We can only fit one across and two down - this does not fit very well on our press at all. This is reflected in the pricing - 500 labels cost $528.23 - this is almost 50% more than the 5" circle.

    So the answer to the original question is twofold - the best size is the size that will work best on your product and fits well on our press. When you play around with our Online Instant Quoter, you will often notice big jumps in price for similar sized labels. This is always because certain sizes fit well on our press and others do not. If you want to get the best value for your labels always choose a size that fits well within the 10.75" x 17" frame.

  • 10 Packaging To-Do's

    Over at the Packaging Diva's blog there is an excellent post detailing 10 packaging to-do's for this year. These 10 points are all fairly simple and inexpensive, but provide an excellent plan for a review of your labels and packaging. If you sell products in a retail store then you need to be reviewing your packaging on a regular basis, and this list provides a detailed but uncomplicated framework to assist you.

  • "Limited Edition" Food and Beverage Labels

    In a previous post I introduced you to an article I wrote about digital label printing. We have these amazing digital printing capabilities now with high tech label presses, but few businesses are taking advantage of them.

    Here is an idea that came out of the recent DSCOOP conference. In the art industry the concept of a limited edition is widely practiced. An artist will authorize a small number of copies of their artwork and each piece will be numbered. With today's digital label printing technology this could easily be expanded to retail products. You could imagine a micro-brewery printing "limited edition" beer labels for a small run of holiday beer. They could have each bottle numbered - saying "Bottle 1 of 1200" for example.

    This same concept could play out even better in the wine industry. There are hundreds of boutique wineries in this country, and they could play on their exclusivity by giving every bottle they sell a unique number. It could be the same idea as with the beer labels, or they could just display the number by itself. It could create some buzz for the wines in the retail stores.

    Of course, there are hundreds of different products where you could do this, but beer and wine seem to me to be the most obvious. These are products that generate a great deal of passion among their customers, where exclusivity can be a real advantage.

  • The 2007 DSCOOP Conference

    Steve and I are just back from the annual DSCOOP conference in Tampa. DSCOOP stands for Digital Solutions Cooperative, and it is the user group for HP Indigo digital presses. So it was a weekend dedicated to digital printing.

    There were some excellent sessions dedicated to us digital label printers. Senior HP executives presented the state of the market now and where they think it is going. One interesting fact HP shared was that worldwide digital printing accounts for 8% of the approximately 48 trillion pages that are printed annually. But in the label industry, digital printing accounts for less than 1% of all labels printed. There is certainly room for growth here.

    There were several interesting sessions. One of the themes was the inherent lean manufacturing capabilities that digital label printing provides. Lean manufacturing is about analyzing all the steps in the production process and eliminating those that don't add value for the customer. Digital label printing eliminates several steps from the traditional printing process, which is why turnaround times can be quicker.

    We left with a number of ideas that we want to implement, and we met with many of the senior management from HP Indigo. It was definitely worth the trip.

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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.