Monthly Archives: June 2008

  • Easily Readable Serial Numbers

    Serialnumber_2

    I was catching up on my blog reading over this past weekend and came across another interesting post from Seth Godin from a couple of weeks ago. This one was about serial numbers. Here at Lightning Labels we print a lot of serial number labels, and in most cases you can see that little thought has gone in to the creation of these serial numbers. Godin provides a list of several things to consider when creating serial numbers.

    The keys points I believe are these:

    1. Break up long numbers with dashes.
    2. Never run a string of more than three identical numbers in a row. 89355555232 is bound to be a problem.
    3. Don't use 0 or 1 or O or I in serial numbers that combine letters and numbers. 0O1I42 is asking for trouble.
    4. Print your serial number (much) larger than you need to.

    If someone is calling a technical support line and they have to read a serial number there is already most likely some level of frustration. If you can make the serial number very easy to read then at least that won't make the situation worse. It is simple to do, costs almost nothing and can only help your business.

  • Your Packaging Should Sell Your Product

    I think we would all agree that one of the primary purposes of product packaging, including the product label, is to sell your product. You can have a wonderful new product but if it has inferior packaging most likely few people will try it. The Packaging Diva, JoAnn Hines, tackles the question "How to Tell if Your Packaging Will Sell Your Product" in her latest blog post. If you are involved in the design of your current packaging this article is a must read. Hines presents five questions you need to answer that will help determine whether your packaging will sell your product.

    1. Who is your core consumer?
    2. What is the competitive environment for your product packaging?
    3. How does your consumer shop?
    4. What is your packaging’s USP - Unique Selling Proposition?
    5. What are the consumer hot buttons that your packaging must reflect?

    Thinking about these questions will help you analyze your product's packaging. Whether you are just getting started with your packaging, or have an established product, it is always useful to consider the impact your packaging is having on your current and potential customers.

  • Judging a Wine by its Label

    WinelabelA couple of weeks ago, Mike Carter reported on his Serious About Wine blog about a new study that was published last month in the Journal of Marketing.  Titled "Holistic Package Design and Consumer Brand Impressions", the main finding of the study is that yes, we do in fact judge a wine (and many other products) by its label. Many studies have been done that have emphasized the importance of the label and packaging in wine and any other retail products, but this study went a step further. It tried to get answers to exactly how we are judging the packaging, and what factors are influencing our judgments. The authors of the study, two marketing professors (one from Oregon and one from Germany), photographed 160 wine bottles. Then they showed these photos to 125 graphic designers to analyze the aesthetic attributes of each bottle. They sorted the designs into five primary design types: massive (or bold), contrasting, natural, delicate and nondescript. Then they showed the bottles to 268 consumers in Oregon, asking 15 questions about each bottle's brand personality. Not limiting the study to just wine, the researchers repeated the analysis with photos of 120 fragrance bottles. The results of the study will assist brand managers in selecting or modifying package and label design for achieving desired consumer responses to their products. For example, the label pictured here for Wine by Joe is categorized as a massive design, and people found these designs eye-catching but they expected the product to be lacking in sophistication and to be less expensive. If you are interested in learning more about this study you can read the full report here.

  • Custom Labels for Frozen Products

    Icecreamcarton_2 We get many calls from people who want to put labels on their ice cream or some other kind of frozen product. What kind of material can stand up to the harsh conditions inside a freezer? Well the good news is that our standard White BOPP material is up to the task. The adhesive on this material is good down to -20 degrees which means it should be fine inside most commercial freezers. The minimum temperature that you can safely apply this label is 23 degrees, so unless you have a labeling machine deep inside your freezer, it will work fine. This material is also designed to withstand the water and ice condensation that could occur on the container. With the standard adhesives available today you simply don't have to worry about your labels sticking whatever kind of frozen product you have. Here at Lightning Labels we have plenty of customers who apply their labels to ice cream, frozen yogurt, meat, bread and many other products that spend most of their life in the freezer.

  • Thinking More Deeply About Type

    This morning, Seth Godin wrote this provocative post on his blog. It is about type and typestyle, and it is mainly geared at people designing brochures, presentations and other type heavy pursuits. But this certainly got me thinking about type and product labels. Virtually ever product label we print here at Lightning Labels has some type. Many labels have a lot of type: ingredient lists, nutrition facts and other product information, and I wonder how much thought goes into the design of this type. Spend two minutes to read the PDF tips Godin created and you will achieve better looking labels. We work with many professional designers, but the vast majority of the label artwork we see here is the do-it-yourself kind. Sometimes the difference is obvious. So heed tip #1 - if you want professional results hire a professional. We have an in-house designer here, but we are just as happy to work with any professional graphic designer. The bottom line is you only have to pay for the design once, and you can use the same design for months or years worth of product labels. Of course, you may have some talent for graphic design and be able to produce excellent looking artwork. Either way, I encourage you to take a look at the type on your labels and make it an integral part of your label design, not just an afterthought.

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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.