Monthly Archives: October 2008

  • Carbon Footprint Labeling is Coming

    Large_tesco_orange_juice The large UK retailer Tesco has become the world's first supermarket chain to launch a major trial of carbon footprint labeling on some of its private label brands. But first a definition - what exactly is carbon footprint labeling? It is an attempt to measure the total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions during the life of a product including production, use and disposal. Right now there are no regulations anywhere in the world demanding companies include this information with their product labels. But many companies aren't waiting.Tesco, in partnership with the Carbon Trust (a UK government funded organization dedicated to reducing carbon emissions), developed this pilot carbon footprint labeling system. The GHG emissions are given as carbon dioxide equivalents in order to provide a comparison of the total environmental impact of a product. Tesco included their store brand orange juice, light bulbs, potatoes, and laundry detergent in this initial trial. They have recently announced plans to label all products on their shelves with these carbon footprint labels, although no timetable has been set. If Tesco really follows through with this it will be huge. It means that every company supplying products to Tesco will have to measure the carbon footprint of its products. I can't even begin to imagine the complications and expense this will cause many companies. It reminds me of Wal-Mart's Sustainable Packaging Scorecard which began earlier this year and is really driving sustainable packaging forward. There will be challenges along the way but companies like Wal-Mart and Tesco are so big they can dictate rules in this area that can really create permanent change. I expect that some form of carbon footprint labeling will become standard fare on product labels within a decade and probably sooner. Once a formula is agreed upon all companies will just measure their carbon footprint in a similar way to how they measure profits today, and it will become second nature. Then consumers will be able to make truly informed choices. Do I want this expensive laundry detergent with a low carbon footprint or the cheap one that has a high carbon footprint? Of course, this will mean valuable product label real estate will need to be devoted to this carbon footprint information. But we will all adapt. Food manufacturers adapted to the mandatory nutritional information on food products and consumers now find this information invaluable. With carbon footprint labeling we will not only be able to make choices for the benefit of our own health, but for the health of the entire planet.

  • Weird and Wacky Wine Labels

    CatsPee Earlier this month over at Trend Hunter they featured 10 different wines with some of the wackiest names you have ever heard. These all appear to be legitimate wines available for sale from wineries around the world. Here is the list: 1. Cat's Pee on a Gooseberry Bush 2. Vampire 3. Goats do Roam in Villages 4. Ten Minutes by Tractor 5. Rocket Science 6. Seven Deadly Sins 7. Fat Bastard 8. Marilyn Merlot 9. Mad Housewife 10. Cleavage Creek Wine is often on the cutting edge when it comes to label design and this list goes to show they can also be very innovative when it comes to product names. Some wineries aren't afraid to laugh at themselves if it will help them stand out on the retail shelf. No word on how good these wines are, although I have had a Fat Bastard Shiraz before and it was excellent. Most of these wines do feature interesting labels that tie together well with the wacky names.

  • Five Ways to Save Money When Buying Labels

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    These are not the best of times. With some $2 trillion of stock market wealth wiped out in recent weeks and with most economic pundits saying it is not a case of if but when a recession will happen, many of us turn our thoughts to how best to save money. If you have products to sell you need to buy labels, so below are five ways you can save money when buying custom labels.

    1. Choose the smallest sized label

    The smallest sized label uses less material and less ink so is always going to be less expensive. However, to get the most bang for your buck you need to understand how label printing presses work. Here at Lightning Labels we use 12" wide label material on our HP-Indigo WS4500 label presses. So if you have a 4" x 5" label, you might consider going to a 3.5" x 5" label, because a 3.5" x 5" label will fit better on our press (3 across versus 2 across for the 4" x 5") and the savings will be substantial for choosing a label just 0.5" smaller. I invite you to play around with our Instant Online Label Quoter and choose various different sizes to find out the best value size you can work with.

    2. Gang all label orders on same size

    If you can gang all your label orders on the same size with the same material, your order is treated as one job. This point, above all else, will save you the most money. For example, you may need labels for a 4oz container and an 8oz container, the obvious thing to do here is to have two different label sizes. But if you can make do with one common label size you will save yourself possibly hundreds of dollars in label printing charges. Of course, in some circumstances it may not be possible, but the fewer label sizes you use the more money you will save.

    3. Order on the least expensive material

    Our standard material is white BOPP - it is also our least expensive material. This combined with the high gloss laminate will provide you with the least expensive option for your labels. Even though this is the least expensive option you are not compromising on quality in any way. Your custom labels will look fantastic, be waterproof and oilproof, and be highly resistant to normal wear and tear.

    4. Make sure your label is correct

    One sure fire way to waste money when ordering labels is to make a mistake and then have to reorder the very same labels. We encourage every customer to check your artwork thoroughly before placing an order so errors can be corrected before they even get to us. As a further backup, we are happy to provide press proofs free of charge to you so you can see exactly what your labels will look like when printed. Always check your proof very carefully for any errors and make sure you are happy with the result before giving us the go ahead.

    5. Don't be in a hurry

    Here at Lightning Labels we treat every job as a rush job, so there are no additional fees for rush charges. However, unless you are local here in the Denver area, you will have to get your labels shipped. The difference in ground rates and overnight rates for UPS is substantial, so you will always save money if you are not in a hurry so your labels can be shipped ground.

    Related Articles

    Save Money When Buying Printed Labels

  • Personalize Your Can of Pringles

    PringlesI have written before about personalized consumer products such as Heinz Ketchup, Sharpie and Kleenex. Now, you can personalize your can of Pringles.  I spent five minutes uploading our logo and creating the simple can displayed here. The designers of this Pringles web site have been quite creative. You can upload photos, choose background colors (including the gradient you see displayed here) and several lines of text. Then they have created this cool 3D display of a Pringles can where you can scroll the can to see an entire 360 degree view. You can then print your design on your local printer and tape it on a Pringles can. More and more companies are using the internet to allow their customers to create truly personal packaging for their products. Now, obviously you may not have the online marketing budget that Proctor & Gamble has (the makers of Pringles), but that doesn't mean you shouldn't offer personalization options to your customers. It could be as simple as gathering some names on your web site, putting them in a spreadsheet and printing some personalized labels with your next custom label order. With today's advanced digital label printing technology creating personalized labels is not that difficult or expensive. The new generation of consumers are drawn to personalized products and those companies that offer this as an option will have an advantage with these young consumers.

  • Hundreds of Product Labels on Flickr

    Productlabels Earlier this year we ran a product photo contest featuring products with labels printed by Lightning Labels and we received hundreds of entries. All the entries have been uploaded to Flickr and tagged with the appropriate descriptions. You can see dozens of bath and body labels, food labels, candle labels, lip balm labels and many more. If you want to see all the entries in the contest type "llcontest" into the Flickr search box or just go here. If you are looking to create a new product label design or in need of inspiration and you want to browse hundreds of product labels from the comfort of your computer then this is the place to be. We have gathered one of the largest collection of product labels you will see anywhere online and we know it can be a useful resource for anyone interested in label and package design.

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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.