Monthly Archives: March 2008

  • Considering the Product Container

    Containers_2

    When deciding how to make your product stand out on the retail shelf, the label is obviously very important, but your choice of container will also have a big impact on the visibility of your product. There are literally thousands of containers to choose from - where do you start?

    I would always start by looking at your competitors. You don't necessarily need to have a very different container. In fact if their packaging is very plain you could choose a similar container and use the product label as a way to really stand out. Alternatively, you could choose an innovative container shape that will become part of your brand. This is the route that Method has done with their product containers with significant success. Or you could use an unusual container with an eye-catching label to really stand out from the crowd.

    At the same time you are choosing your container you should also consider the kind of label you want. What size of label is best? Do you want a front and back label, a wraparound label, clear or white? These are the questions you need to ask. Another important factor is the shape of the container. If you have a really curved container you may be limited to the size of the label. Your label needs to be applied to a flat surface in order to avoid wrinkling. You also need to be aware of where your container starts to taper in as it rounds at the bottom - you will need to keep your label above the taper line.

    Most packaging companies will be happy to send you sample containers so feel free to experiment first. You could narrow it down to two or three containers and then request a hard copy proof with your label order and stick one of the label proofs on each container to see what looks best. If you need some inspiration and are looking for something new and innovative I would check out Web Packaging, they have a wealth of innovative containers on their site, and they even have an RSS feed so you can get daily updates of new containers that become available.

    In case you are wondering the photo above is from Stull Technologies - an example of one innovative packaging company. Lightning Labels has no affiliation with any packaging company - we focus all our attention on printing your custom product labels.

  • What Color is That?

    Explorerscreenshotfull_2

    Adam Dewitz, the managing editor over at the PrintCEO blog had an interesting post earlier this week. He reported on research done by Dolores Labs where they showed thousands of random color samples to people and asked them to describe the color they saw. They then mapped these colors on to a color wheel that you see above. 

    This research is most interesting when viewed through the little application they created. Here you can really get an insight into the different ways people describe color. For example, type in a color such as "turquoise" and look at all the different colors you get back. There is a large variety of colors that different people describe as turquoise.

    Now anyone in the printing business knows that people describe color in different ways. Your red might be someone else's maroon, but the research done here really hammered home to me the very different ways people will describe color. It is a good reminder for us all, both print buyers and printers. We can't assume when someone says turquoise that we all are on the same page.

    The great thing about digital printing is that we can produce a press proof, so our customers will see exactly what colors are going to print. This way we can deal with these different expectations before the job is run.

  • Label Applicators - a Huge Time Saver

    When you first call Lightning Labels to place a custom label order one of the questions you will be asked is whether your labels will be applied by hand or machine. The reason we ask this question is because an automatic label applicator will require the labels to come off the roll in a certain direction - known as unwind direction.

    Now, we know that many of you apply your labels by hand but as your business grows you will find that applying the labels to your products takes more and more time. You can be much more productive with a label applicator. There are a large variety of machines, from simple label dispensers that cost just a couple of hundred dollars to fully automated systems that cost tens of thousands of dollars. You can buy applicators for applying labels to bottles, jars, lip balm canisters, lids - just about any product container or surface you can imagine.

    Following is a short list of companies that offer label applicators. But first I should note that Lightning Labels does not have a relationship with any of these companies and does not endorse or recommend them. This list is just provided as a starting point for those considering purchasing a label applicator. Here is the list:

    • Dispensa-matic - simple and inexpensive label dispensers. Also has some low end applicators for bottles.
    • CTM Labeling Systems - a range of semi-automatic applicators to high speed, high accuracy custom labeling solutions. All machines are made in the USA.
    • Busch Machinery - a large selection of automatic label applicators for a variety of container shapes. They have an excellent buyers guide where you can learn all about label applicators.

    As your business grows you will find adding a label applicator will help make the task of product labeling more efficient and productive.

  • The Personalized Sharpie

    Sharpie

    More and more consumer products are coming out with personalized packaging, the latest I just recently stumbled across is the venerable Sharpie marker. The Sharpie people have created a very simple, easy to use web site that strikes the perfect balance between flexibility and simplicity. You can add two lines of text in a choice of 10 different fonts, and you can even add some simple clip art. You have the choice of eight different colors for your Sharpie but your personalization will be printed in black.

    There is some fancy animation where you can view your personalized Sharpie but overall this is a pretty simple web site. My guess is that you could create something similar for just a few thousand dollars. And it is a great way to connect with your customers and to leverage your brand.

    Any enterprising consumer products company could do the same thing. If your product has a label you could leverage the power of digital label printing and add personalization to your labels. You could do something similar to what Sharpie has done and just gather all the personalization in a spreadsheet that you can them send on to your digital printer.

    Personalization is becoming more popular but there are still very few companies offering it as an option for their customers. The technology is all in place to be able to do this easily and inexpensively. Here at Lightning Labels we will be happy to help with anyone considering a personalization project for their product labels.

  • HP Makes Major Product Announcements Today

    Earlier today, Steve Smith and I watched the webcast from Israel as HP announced some new digital printing presses they will be releasing soon. Of most interest to us was their new digital label printing press which will be called the HP Indigo WS6000. It will run at around 100 feet a minute, twice the speed of the current WS4500 which will mean larger jobs will now be able to be printed digitally.

    Worldwide the label market is growing at 4% a year, but according to HP digital label printing is growing at around 45% per year. When this new press becomes available that number will only increase as now it is estimated that 80% of all label print jobs will be most profitably run on their digital label press.

    Here at Lightning Labels we are excited to be working with a company like HP that continues to innovate and invest in research and development. I expect the WS6000 to quickly become the best selling digital label press, but I will go further here. I actually expect that it will become the best selling label press (of any kind) ever. Traditional label printers will simply not be able to ignore digital any longer. It is an exciting time right now in the world of digital label printing.

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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.