Monthly Archives: April 2007

  • Use Variable Images for Your Products

    Stroll the aisles of any liquor store, supermarket or drug store and you will see hundreds of products with labels vying for your attention. But if you look closely at any one particular product you will also notice that every one of the product labels are identical. Of course, you think, it has to be that way. Well, with today's digital label printing technology that is no longer the case.

    You could use "variable imaging" technology on your product labels, to really make your products stand out. With variable imaging every label could be completely unique, you could have a different image on every label. Now. keeping in mind that you probably want to maintain a consistent brand across your labels, you wouldn't want to make every component of the label different, but you could take a portion of your label and use this powerful technology to your advantage.

    Let's take a hypothetical example to illustrate this point. Say you sell bottled water under the "Lightning Spring Water" brand, and you have a picture of some lightning featured on the label. What you could do is take 100 or more photographs (photos are very inexpensive to buy now at places like iStockPhoto or BigStockPhoto) and print a random assortment of these on your labels. So on the shelf in the store every bottle of water will have a different photograph.

    There are many other products where variable imaging would work very well. In the wine industry, a high percentage of wine sales come from people perusing labels in the liquor store. A wine that had a different image on every label would really stand out from the crowd and you might find people wanting to buy more than one bottle and use it as a talking point.

    Children's products provide an even more compelling argument for variable imaging. Picture this situation in the store. You are buying juice for your child, and you want the orange mango flavor. Every label features a different animal, and your child can't choose between the one with the cat, the koala and the penguin. Inevitably you buy a bottle of all three, even though you were really intending on just buying one.

    Any company selling products in a retail store can take advantage of variable imaging. The fact is there are virtually no companies doing this right now and if you are the first in your category you will be able to create a buzz. The potential for word of mouth marketing here is huge - the different labels could become a compelling reason to buy your product. I predict this will become common place within 5 years so the first companies to take advantage of variable imaging will have a head start on everyone else.

  • The 2007 Wacky Warning Labels Contest

    Washingmachinelabel
    The tenth annual Wacky Warning Label Contest has recently announced their winners. This a contest that is held every year by the Michigan Lawsuit Abuse Watch to highlight the ridiculous lengths that product manufacturers go to protect themselves from frivolous lawsuits.

    The winning entry this year was the warning label above which was adhered to a washing machine at a laundromat. The label reads: "DO NOT put any person in this washer."

    There were several runner-up entries. Here they are for your enjoyment:

    • In the manual for a personal watercraft describing the removal of the fuel tank cap: "Never use a lit match or open flame to check fuel level."
    • On the back of a Super Lotto ticket: "Do not iron."
    • On a cell phone: "Don't try to dry your cell phone in a microwave oven."
    • On a local Yellow Pages phone book: "Please do not use this directory while operating a moving vehicle."
  • Personalize Your Cover of Wired Magazine

    Nr_wired_cover_mockup_340x335_2

    In the July issue of Wired magazine, Xerox and Wired are teaming up to create personalized covers for Wired subscribers. This is how it will work. The first 5,000 subscribers to upload a 4x6 inch photo will receive their July issue in the mail with their own photo on the cover. The covers will be printed on Xerox digital presses and combined with the regular magazine content.

    As a proponent of digital printing I love this idea. Now it has nothing directly to do with labels but this concept could just as easily be applied to product labels (see my article about Leveraging Digital Label Printing). I am talking about mass personalization with digital printing. Anyone selling a product online could add this personalization capability to their label. You would just need a relatively simple web site and a partnership with a digital label printer such as Lightning Labels. You could charge a premium for this personalization because a personalized label has a much higher perceived value than just a regular label.

    We are moving into a world where this mass personalization is going to become common place. But right now we are at the very beginning of this new trend. The technology is all in place, but it is only the forward thinking companies that are jumping in. You can certainly add value and loyalty in the eyes of your customers by being the first in your industry to adopt this mass personalization.

  • Multiple Label Versions Key for Best Pricing

    One of the major advantages of digital label printing is the ability to gang-run multiple label versions together. With traditional flexographic printing, every different label would be a separate job and would work its way through the printing workflow as a standalone job. With digital label printing it is quite common to have dozens of different label versions printed together on the same job.

    If you want to order short runs of multiple label versions, then you really have no option but to have them printed digitally, particularly if they are full color labels. With plates running anywhere from $40 - $70 for each color, multiple label versions can quickly become very expensive.

    Here at Lightning Labels we charge just $5 for every additional label version of the same sized label using the same material. To take an example, say you have 10 different label versions and you just want to order 100 of each for a total of 1,000 labels. You would pay just $45 more (9 times $5 - the first version is free) than if you ordered just one version of 1,000. These prices are calculated automatically for you on our Instant Online Label Quoter.

    Gang-running multiple label versions together will ensure you get the best price for your labels. We regularly do label jobs where there are more than 100 label versions on the one job. These customers know the pricing benefits of running multiple label versions together.

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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.