Monthly Archives: July 2009

  • Lightning Labels Customer Organizes Project for Female Soldiers in Iraq

    Freedom-feet

     

    ‘Freedom Feet 2009’ Extended Through Aug. 15

     

    For the second year in a row, Lemongrass Spa has organized a project to provide female soldiers serving in Iraq with some much-needed attention from back home. The Lightning Labels customer hopes that “Freedom Feet 2009” provides 225 packages filled with Lemongrass Spa pedicure products and notes of encouragement to women soldiers stationed on the ground in Iraq.

    So far, some 90 kits have been purchased. In hopes of reaching their goal, Lemongrass Spa has extended the project deadline through August 15.

    Stefanie Van Ness, a Lemongrass Executive Director from Iowa, spearheaded Freedom Feet last year after realizing the need for it during her fives years as an Army wife.

    “Soldiers receive many care packages during their tours in Iraq, and that is amazing. But I know that most of those packages are geared towards men,” Ness said.

    The first year of Project Freedom Feet was a success, resulting in 125 foot pampering kits being sent to female soldiers who spend their time in Iraq in heavy combats in hot, dusty conditions that ravage their feet.

    “These women really deserve this pampering, and they really appreciate it,” said Lemongrass Spa Founder Heidi Leist.

    Bridget Keenan is one such example.

    “Thank you so much for the Lemongrass Spa Products. My feet were transformed in an instant! A perfect ending to yet another long day in heavy socks and combat boots,” Keenan wrote in a note to Lemongrass Spa after receiving one of their care packages. “It means so much to many of us to see such a great support to our troops. You truly made many female soldiers smile over here. Thank you.”

    Each Freedom Feet Foot Kit containers a Lemongrass Spa Foot Soak, Foot Scrub, Foot Crème, cotton towel, foot brush with pumice, travel bag, and message of appreciation which may be personalized with the sponsor’s personal or business name. This year, Lemongrass Spa is donating one Freedom Foot Kit for every six that are purchased. Each kit costs $43, including shipping and handling. Freedom Foot Kits may be ordered online or through a Lemongrass Spa consultant.

    We here at Lightning Labels are always interested in learning how our customers are helping to make the world a better place. To let us know what your company is doing, please contact Lightning Labels.

  • Finding Fonts With "What the Font"

    PhotoHave you ever looked at a product on the supermarket shelf and thought to yourself, "that is a cool font." No? Well, maybe you don't look at packaging as closely as I do. Anyway, fonts are an integral part of any product label and learning more about them will give you a better eye for good design.

    There is an easy way to find out what font is being used. The popular font site myfonts.com has a new tool called What the Font. The way it works is you upload an image or point the site to a URL and it will tell you the name of the font.

    But that doesn't help if you are away from your computer. Now, they have just released an iPhone application for What the Font. I downloaded it recently and have been playing around with it. It is pretty cool. When you launch the application it takes you to the iPhone's camera function where you take a photo of the type you want identified. You draw a box around the appropriate text with your finger and then it will search its database of fonts to come up with a match.

    The photo above shows you the application in action. It has just identified some test text I created with the Rockwell font. It was able to easily identify this font giving several different variations. After playing with this application for a while I need to warn you it is certainly not foolproof. A couple of times it identified fonts that were close but not the exact font. Still, it is a useful tool for anyone interested in learning more about fonts and design.

  • Pantone's Fall 2009 Fashion Color Report Useful for Designers Across All Industries

    Pantone-fashion-color-repor

    Color authority Pantone has released its quarterly Fashion Color Report for Fall 2009. While the report is aimed primarily at fashion designers and retailers, one would do well to keep its predictions for what colors will be hot this autumn in mind when choosing colors for any marketing materials, packaging designs, Websites and, of course, custom labels you are designing.

    What Will Be Hot

    Based on a survey of New York Fashion Week designers, Pantone has created a palette of the 10 most directional colors for Fall 2009 (pictured above). According to the report, subtle contrasts make up the diverse palette for Fall 2009. Like a painter's palette, Fall 2009 offers choice and diversity, but the unexpected integration of colors is what makes it so appealing, the report says. Here are the top 10 most fashionable colors for this autumn:

    • PANTONE 19-1759 American Beauty is a true red with connotations of patriotism and cohesiveness.
    • PANTONE 18-3520 Purple Heart is a refined and sensuous color that adds creativity and excitement to any design, especially when paired with American Beauty.
    • PANTONE 16-1143 Honey Yellow is a golden version of the Pantone 2009 Color of the Year, 14-0848 Mimosa. For contrast, pair it with Purple Heart, its color wheel opposite; or create a more subdued, earthy look by combining it with Burnt Sienna and Iron.
    • PANTONE 18-1306 Iron is Pantone’s “new black” for Autumn. Neither black nor brown, it is a true neutral.
    • PANTONE 13-1006 Crème Brûlée is a grayed-down beige. Like Iron, it goes with everything and is a true neutral.
    • PANTONE 16-1212 Nomad is somewhere between beige and light gray. Like Iron and Brulee, it is another timeless neutral.
    • PANTONE 17-1544 Burnt Sienna is a deep, earthy shade of orange that looks great with Nomad and Rapture Rose.
    • PANTONE 17-1929 Rapture Rose is a nurturing, feminine tone that captures both the vibrancy of fuchsia and the softness of pink.
    • PANTONE 15-0646 Warm Olive is a rich-green yellow. Use it when you need to add a touch of sophistication or make other colors in your design “pop.”
    • PANTONE 19-4125 Majolica Blue is a deep teal blue that looks like a black on its own and like a an exotic navy when paired with brighter colors such as Burnt Sienna or Purple Heart.

    Implications for Print and Web Designers

    These Pantone colors are a useful starting point for adding on-trend fall color to your design projects. When designing for the Web, you will probably want to work directly with RGB colors, and with CMYK or Pantone colors when designing for print applications. The colors pictured in the illustration above are actually RGB representations of the Pantone colors listed in the Fall 2009 Fashion Color Report. Pantone numbers are listed next to the name of each color, followed by corresponding CMYK and RGB color codes. Please note that when converting from one color format to another, there is always a shift in color. The RGB and CMYK colors listed in the illustration are therefore approximations (not true matches) of the corresponding Pantone colors.

    It is also worth noting that our digital printing presses here at Lightning Labels handle design files in CMYK mode only. Therefore, it is always best to send us your custom label design files in CMYK mode.

    About Pantone

    Pantone, Inc. is a subsidiary of X-Rite, Inc. and is best known for creating the Pantone Matching System (PMS), a proprietary color space used by designers in a variety of industries.

    Related Resources

    How to Convert Pantone to CMYK gives simple instructions for converting Pantone to CMYK in Adobe Illustrator, Adobe InDesign, and Quark Xpress Label Design Tips & Art Specs tells you what you need to know before submitting your label design files to Lightning Labels Color Psychology : What It Is, & How It Can Boost Your Sales is a related Lightning Labels Blog post

  • Personalize Your National Geographic Magazine Cover

    Ng-custom

    National Geographic magazine is renowned for showcasing some of best photography on the planet. Regular readers will know the "Your Shot" section where people send in their own digital photos and the editors choose some of the best photos to be published each issue.

    Recently National Geographic created a special collectors edition featuring an entire magazine of photos submitted for the Your Shot section. Best of all they have allowed people to upload their own photo to be on the cover. You will see in the picture above a photo I just uploaded of myself and my partner Steve in front of one of our wonderful HP-Indigo digital label presses. Speaking of HP-Indigo, National Geographic chose to print these covers on an HP-Indigo press, so you know the quality will be exceptional.

    While this has nothing directly to do with labels, I like to showcase some examples of personalization using digital printing. Any personalization that is done on a commercial printing press can also be done on a digital label press. The commercial print world has been taking advantage of the full capabilities of digital printing for many years, but image personalization like this is rarely used with labels.

    With the holiday season just a few months away, why not allow your customers to upload a photo and include it as a special holiday product label for your product. You can charge a premium for this service and at the same time enhance your brand in the eyes of your customers. You don't need a full blown web site like National Geographic has, you could create a simple customization page on your existing web site quite inexpensively. All the technology is in place to do this, and of course here at Lightning Labels we would be happy to print your personalized labels.

    Related Links

    The Opportunity of Variable Data Labels

  • Wal-Mart To Develop Universal Sustainability Product Labeling System

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    Yesterday the world’s largest retailer announced a plan to develop a universal sustainability product index.

    “Customers want products that are more efficient, that last longer and perform better,” Wal-Mart President and CEO Mike Duke said in a meeting with 1,500 of its supplies, associates and sustainability leaders at its home office outside of Little Rock, Arkansas. “And increasingly they want information about the entire lifecycle of a product so they can feel good about buying it. They want to know that the materials in the product are safe, that it was made well and that it was produced in a responsible way." Consumers also want to be able to access such information conveniently, which is why the final step of Wal-Mart’s plan is to produce a simple rating tool such as a numeric score or color code. The tool will allow consumers to compare the environmental and social sustainability of competing products simply by glancing at their product labels, similar to the way they are currently able to compare the healthiness of food products against each other using nutritional labels. Sustainability product labels would reflect how environmentally and socially sustainable products are over the course of their life cycles based on how close they come to meeting four broad goals:

    • Reducing energy cost and greenhouse gas emissions
    • Reducing waste
    • Producing high quality,responsibly sourced raw materials
    • Ensuring responsible and ethical production

    In October, Lightning Labels predicted that carbon footprint labeling would become standard fare on product labels within the decade, if not sooner, after UK supermarket giant Tesco launched a major trial of carbon footprint labeling on some of its private label brands in cooperation with the Carbon Trust. With major retailers Tesco and Wal-Mart leading the way on both sides of the pond now, it appears that consumers can expect to see carbon footprint labeling on most product labels sooner rather than later. Related Resources Wal-Mart Sustainability Meeting Webcast Carbon Footprint Labeling is Coming Carbon Footprint Labeling

  • Variable Data Parking Stickers for The Brickyard

    Race Day The Indianapolis Motor Speedway (also known as the Brickyard) is the largest capacity sporting facility in the world with seating for up to 400,000 people. It is famous for hosting the Indy 500 race every year, but as all NASCAR fans know, it also hosts a big NASCAR race - the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. This big race is next Sunday and here at Lightning Labels we are delighted to be a small part of this event. If you turn up at the Brickyard next Sunday and pay to park your car you will likely receive a parking sticker printed by Lightning Labels. We recently printed many thousands of these stickers, each with a unique serial number. The bright orange color came out beautifully on our digital label press. So, enjoy the race next Sunday and if you receive a parking sticker you now know where it came from.

  • Adding Color to Your Logo Design

    Adding-color-to-logo-design

    In my last post, I wrote about the benefits of creating your company logo in black and white before adding color to it. In this post, I am going to give you information that will help you effectively add color to your logo design. This information can also be used to help choose colors for your product labels, website, and print marketing materials.

    Let’s take a look at how some of the world’s most recognizable brands effectively utilize color in their logo designs.

    Red and Yellow

    The colors red and yellow are known to induce hunger; therefore, they are often used in the logos of fast food chains such as McDonald’s. Red is also known to elevate heart rate, which may explains why countless numbers of young children get overly excited at the thought of consuming a Happy Meal. The color red is also associated with energy, strength, aggressiveness, and adventure – making it a very appropriate color choice for the energy drink Red Bull – as well as love and passion. Yellow can represent positive elements such as sunshine and happiness, as well as negative ones such as danger, caution and cowardice. Yellow, like red, is a primary color, which makes it particularly appealing to young children.

    Orange

    Although orange has been a trendy design color for the last two years, the orange Nickelodeon logo has been around for more than two decades. This color is traditionally associated with fun, creativity, vibrancy and youthfulness making it an effective logo color choice for this children’s television channel. A combination of red and yellow, orange is also known for stimulating the appetite.

    Green

    Green is most closely associated with nature, which makes it a good logo color choice for natural grocer Whole Foods and British Petroleum Company (BP) alike. Although BP is best-known in the US for its automobile gasoline stations, it is a global energy company that markets itself as a pioneer in alternative energy exploration. Green also induces relaxation in many people.

    Blue

    Blue is an excellent color choice for IBM’s logo for many reasons. First of all, if you stop a North American on the street and ask them what their favorite color is, they are most likely to say blue. Secondly, this color is associated with authority, loyalty, security, dignity, confidence, success, and trustworthiness – qualities any business would like to be associated with. For these reasons, blue can be seen in the logos of all types of organization. It is especially popular, however, among Fortune 500 companies, government organizations, and medical establishments. A prominent color in nature, blue also has a calming effect.

    Purple

    Hallmark, which is best known for its greeting cards and gift collections, capitalizes on the color purple’s associations with sophistication and royalty in the design of its logo. This color is also commonly associated with spirituality, wealth, and mystery; and is most likely to be named as a favorite color by a North American teenaged girl.

    Pink

    Pink is often used in logos to give them a feminine touch, appropriate for entities whose target audience is women such as the Susan G. Komen Foundation, Mary Kay, and Barbie. Pink is associated with the feminine qualities of gentleness, innocence, romance, softness, and fragility. This color can also represent gratitude, appreciation, and tranquility.

    Brown

    Brown’s association with reliability and conservatism makes it appropriate for the National Park Service and UPS logos. Brown’s associations with the earth and comfort make it an ideal color choice for the herbal tea company Celestial Seasonings. Brown can also be perceived as being utilitarian or boring, so use this color with caution.

    Black & White

    Black, the absence of color, brings to mind boldness, distinction and determination. It also has connotations of elegance, tradition, formality, and mystery. For many, the simplicity of black gives it a sophisticated quality.

    If you do not currently have a logo, you might want to keep the information I have presented in this post in mind when designing one. If you already have a logo, I’d love to hear what colors you use, why you chose them, and what you feel they communicate about your company and its products.

    Color Psychology Resources

    Color Psychology in Logo Design

    How to Use Colour in Logo Design

  • Design Your Logo in Black & White Now, Save Yourself a Headache Later

    IStock_black pencils_XSmall

    The logo is one of the most important design elements of your product labels. It immediately and clearly associates your products with your company’s brand. Perhaps you are thinking about designing or redesigning a new logo for your company or one of its product lines. If so, I highly recommend that you create your logo in black and white before adding color to it. And if you are hiring a graphic designer to create a logo for you, make sure that they provide you with a black and white version.

    Now you may be asking yourself why I would recommend such a thing, being as I work for Lightning Labels. If you are familiar with our company, you probably know that our state-of-the-art digital printing technology enables us to produce custom labels with as many different colors as you can think of for the same price as a single color (or black and white). So why am I recommending that you create a black and white version of your logo upfront?

    Because although you will most likely use a color logo for your product label designs, website, and printed marketing materials, there is going to come a time when your logo will be reproduced in black and white or a single color, whether or not you want it to be:

    • A potential customer will open your email on their mobile phone in black and white, or look up your website on a monochrome screen.
    • Your company will be bestowed a great honor, and the awards committee will present you with a huge trophy engraved with the company logo.
    • You will realize that printing in-house documents in color is waste of money.
    • You will need to send a fax. (Yes, they still exist.)
    • You will want to advertise in a publication that only offers black and white.
    • You will want to advertise in a publication that offers color ads but purchase black and white ones to save money.

    I could go on, but I’m sure you get the idea by now.

    If you, like many of our customers, do your own graphic design work, creating your logo in black and white first will allow you focus on the “bones” of the design, especially its typography. This will ensure that your logo will work with a greater number of different colors when you do add color to it or tweak its graphic elements. And a logo that works equally well in black and white is the mark of a quality logo. Think Apple. IBM. Volkswagen. Google.

    So they next time your company designs a new logo or revamps an existing one, consider creating a black and white version first, and adding color at the end of the design process. It will at least save you a major headache down the road, and might end up saving you a lot of money as well.

  • Carbon Footprint Labels Come to Australia

    Image-469-crl-whc Last year I wrote about the new carbon footprint labels that have begun appearing on products in the UK. Well now the same organization, Carbon Trust, is partnering with the Australian environmental organization, Planet Ark, to introduce carbon footprint labels into Australia.

    So why is this significant? It shows a growing interest that consumers have in knowing the total environmental impact of their product choices. In the UK, there are more than 2,500 individual product lines carrying these carbon footprint labels as companies see the advantages of sharing this information with their customers. It will only be a matter of time before such a program gets some traction in this country.

    I expect within the next two years we will see a major initiative like this undertaken in the US. The most challenging hurdles will be in creating standards to measure each component of a product and its packaging. I wrote about Fat Tire Beer and their complete carbon footprint measurement project - the report ran to 37 pages.

    Regardless of the complexity, this movement is inevitable and the companies that become the first to share the environmental impact of their products will be seen as the leaders. Of course, this information will have to take up valuable label real estate which will create another challenge for designers of product labels.

    Related Links

    Carbon Trust

    Planet Ark

    Carbon Reduction Label Australia

    Carbon Footprint of Fat Tire Beer

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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.