Monthly Archives: September 2009

  • The World's Biggest Label Printing Show

    Logo_LabelExpoEurope

    LabelExpo is the largest trade show for the label printing industry. Every September it alternates between Chicago and Brussels, this year was the European edition (which is far bigger than the US version) that ended a couple of days ago. Unfortunately I wasn't able to make it over to the show but I followed updates from Label & Narrow Web magazine, Converting Magazine and live on Twitter.

    Fellow label industry blogger, Adrian Steele of Mercian Labels in the UK, has an excellent roundup of the show posted on his blog today. It sounds like it was a good show with several new developments in digital label printing but nothing that looks like it would threaten the dominance of the HP-Indigo technology. Although to be fair, as Adrian points out on his blog, the Xeikon 3300 that was released last year is an excellent competitor to the HP. None of the new would be competitors that launched at LabelExpo can match the quality of either machine.

  • Vitaminwater Launches Label Design Contest on Facebook Oct. 15

    Vitamin_water_bottles

    Vitaminwater is asking Facebook users to submit label designs and packaging copy for its newest flavor starting October 15 through the company's flavorcreator app. According to the Big Fat Marketing Blog!, Vitaminwater spokespeople country pop star Carrie Underwood and rapper 50 Cent will select the winning label design in December. The new product is expected to go to market by March 2010. The contest winner will not only get to see their design featured on Vitaminwater bottles around the world, but will be awarded a $5,000 prize as well. Vitaminwater is currently inviting Facebook users to use the flavorcreator app to vote for a new flavor and vitamin formula for the new product release. The label design contest will be the final step in the creation of Vitaminwater's user-designed product. According to Fast Company, the list of flavors currently up for vote on flavorcreator was compiled from online conversations Vitaminwater listened in on at sites such as Twitter, Flickr, and Google News. The more a particular flavor was discussed in these online communities, the more likely it was to make the list.

  • Video Ad Running in Entertainment Weekly Magazine

    Video-magazine-ad

    Yes, you read that right. There is a video ad running in the current edition of Entertainment Weekly magazine. This is not an ad on their web site it is actually in the print edition of the magazine.

    This is a world first. A paper thin video player is being embedded in the magazine that will begin running when a reader opens the magazine to the ad pages. Unfortunately, you can't go out and just buy this magazine, it is only being sent to some Entertainment Weekly subscribers in the Los Angeles and New York City areas. The advertisers are CBS and Pepsi, with CBS featuring video of its upcoming fall TV shows and Pepsi promoting its Pepsi Max diet cola.

    This is highly significant news in many ways. It means that video technology has advanced enough for screens to be paper thin. It means that a suitable power source to run these video screens has been developed that is also paper thin. So, it is only a matter of time now before we see these video screens on a product label. Sure, in reality we are probably many years or even decades away from seeing video ads on the shampoo bottles in your local grocery store. But I can see a day when high-end cosmetics, pharmaceuticals or wine carry a video ad on their label. I expect it will become common place in this coming decade.

    One of the big obstacles to overcome will be environmental. I presume this magazine can no longer be included in the recycling stream. But this is not an insurmountable problem. Recyclers often have to allow for new materials. There will be a public backlash if the recycling stream is not able to handle this kind of electronics. Before video ads in magazines or on product labels become common place I expect this challenge will have been overcome.

    Related Articles

    Esquire Magazine Makes Printing History

    Print CEO blog - Video Ad to Run in Print

    Advertising Age - Details of the CBS and Pepsi Ad

    YouTube Video Showing Ad in Action

  • Baldwin's Bill Paves Way for Product Carbon Disclosure, Labeling in US

    Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) has proposed legislation that would pave the way for product carbon disclosure and labeling in the US. "Nutrition labels have changed the way we think about food - giving us the measurements we need to make fully-informed, healthy choices," Baldwin said in a press release issued by her office Sept. 11. "Carbon disclosure will tell us how much energy is used to bring a product to market - allowing us to make smart, energy-saving, and environmentally-friendly choices." Bill H.R. 3543 would require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to initially conduct a study to establish a national program for measuring, reporting, and labeling the carbon content of products in the US. The agency would then be required to set up a national product carbon disclosure and labeling program based on the results of the study. Participation in the program would be voluntary, similar to other voluntary labeling programs such as ENERGY STAR. The ultimate goal of carbon labeling is to empower consumers to help reduce carbon emissions by choosing products with smaller carbon footprints over competing ones that use up more of our natural resources. The full text of H.R. 3543 can be read at THOMAS, the Library of Congress' website; or through the independent research websites GovTrack.us and Open Congress. This is the first piece of legislation introduced in the US to promote product carbon disclosure and labeling. However, the concepts themselves are not new. 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. And in July, Wal-Mart announced plans to develop a universal sustainability product labeling sytem. Related Posts Wal-Mart to Develop Universal Sustainability Labeling System Carbon Footprint Labeling is Coming Carbon Footprint Labeling

  • Stickerman Creates Art from Produce Labels

    1958-hedsel1 Barry Snyder is the Stickerman. He takes used produce stickers, the kind that you see on apples, oranges, pears and the like, and creates works of art from them. He has become a bit of a local celebrity appearing in the Denver Post, on the local TV news, and on the Food Network. He has a unique hobby that is not only very creative but also eco-friendly. He receives thousands of used produce labels from people all over the world who support him in his work. He has a beautiful portfolio of artwork with each piece having been painstakingly created in his home studio. If you want to help the Stickerman he gladly accepts donations of produce labels. You can send them to: Stickerman, P.O. Box 301 Erie, CO 80516.

  • Designer Fonts for Every Budget

    Colorful_cutout_letters Using one or more custom designed fonts in your label designs is a great way to define your brand. There are many fine design firms such as Chank! that will design you a truly one-of-a-kind font. If you want to get really personal, you can even have a design shop such as Font Garden create a high quality font based on a sample of your handwriting. However, I realize that many brands lack the time and money needed to have a copyrighted font created for them. If you find yourself in this situation, you might want to consider purchasing one or more designer fonts. Purchasing a designer font instead of having one created for you is kind of like purchasing an Armani off the rack instead of having Giorgio design a dress or suit just for you. The font may not fit your brand like a glove and a few other companies may use it in their label designs as well, but the quality will be excellent and you won't see your designer font on every other competitor's labels ... unlike the fonts that ship with your design software. Here are just two of many fine websites selling designer fonts that could help set your label designs apart from the Arial and Times New Roman crowd. MyFonts - Self-described as the "largest collection of fonts ever assembled for on-line delivery," MyFonts offers 62,528 designer fonts for both Mac and PC platforms. Purchase fonts a la carte or in packages - the choice is yours. MyFonts also happens to be the creator of WhatTheFont, a free online resource for identifying mystery fonts. Fonts.com - 164,405 designer fonts to choose from, with value packages of font families available for as little as $75. All fonts are available for both Mac and PC platforms, and advanced searching capabilities make it easy to hunt down the perfect fonts for your label and sticker designs. If you have more more time than money and are willing to do some digging, you might be able to find a designer font that fits your style without paying a penny. Many of the online font shops mentioned above have a "free" section of downloadable. You may also want to browse free font sites such as dafont.com where font designers upload fonts they wish to popularize via free distribution. When considering using any free font for branding purposes, you should find out if that font is licensed for commercial use.

  • Choosing Fonts for Print & Web

    Newspaper_as_laptop When the new Ikea catalog arrived in mailboxes around the world last week, many customers of the Swedish furniture company known for good design at low prices were surprised to see a new typeface throughout the catalog. People were actually quite upset that the company had switched from the elegant Futura, the font it had used in its catalogs for half a century, to the more humble and common font Verdana. In fact, when Romanian design consultant Marius Ursache started an online petition to get Ikea to change its mind on August 26, he spurred a global backlash against Ikea. That night, there were more tweets decrying the font change than there were about recently deceased US Senator Ted Kennedy on the popular microblogging service Twitter. Why, after all these years, did Ikea drop the beloved Futura font? According to BusinessWeek, an Ikea representative told Swedish design magazine Cap & Design the switch to Verdana will allow the company to use a uniform font in all countries and to use the same font for both print and Web applications. There are actually very few standard fonts that look as good on a paper as they do on a computer screen. In fact, some experts maintain that there is no such thing and that different fonts should always be used for print than those used for the Web. That said, if you must use the same font for both print and Web, Verdana is not a bad choice. Despite the outcry against Ikea's adoption of it, Verdana is one of two fonts Microsoft designed especially for both print and Web use. (Georgia is the other font, a good replacement for Times New Roman that is legible as small as 9 points.) Both fonts are widely distributed free of charge. If you are going to choose seperate fonts for Web and print applications, then you have a much greater choice of fonts to choose from when selecting one or two for your company branded designs than just Verdana and Georgia. To get you started, here is a list of Web-safe font families that will display properly across most Internet browsers:

    • Impact
    • Palatino Linotype
    • Tahoma
    • Century Gothic
    • Lucinda Sans Unicode
    • Arial Black
    • Times New Roman
    • Arial narrow
    • Verdana
    • Copperplate Gothic Light
    • Lucinda Console
    • Gill Sans
    • Trebuchet MS
    • Courier New
    • Arial
    • Georgia

    Still having trouble choosing a Web-safe font? Try Font Tester, a free online tool that lets you preview and compare fonts side-by-side with various CSS font styles applied to them. When it comes to choosing a font for print applications, your choice is a bit harder as the variety is so much greater. Here are some beautiful fonts to consider using in print applications only, including your label designs:

    And if you need help identifying fonts, try one or more of these resources:

  • test for css paragraph font styles

    Web safe fonts:

    Tahoma

    Arial

    Georgia

  • Creating a Label Design Toolbox

    IStock_000009151694XSmall Any good handyman knows he is only as good as his toolbox. So if you want to design product labels you won't do much good without the right tools. So here are some ideas for items to include in your label design toolbox. Software If you are serious about design then you need the latest Adobe tools: Photoshop and Illustrator. Now, these are expensive tools running over $1,000 total for new versions of both products. While it is true you do get what you pay for you, there are less expensive alternatives. Photoshop Elements is a good entry level product or you can try these free tools: the open source products gimp and inkscape, or Aviary, an online graphic design tool. With all these different tools, just be sure to keep in mind the difference between raster and vector files. Inspiration There are plenty of places you can go to online for inspiration in label design. Blogs such as The Dieline and Lovely Package should be a part of any label designers toolbox. Every day these blogs showcase some of the most beautiful packaging you will ever see. Other places to go for inspiration are Packaging of the World, Pentawards, and TLMI Label Awards. Learning Learning is the key ingredient for every good handyman. You always need to be improving your skills and trying new things. One of the huge benefits of being a product label designer today is that there is a huge pool of learning tools available for free online. You can learn how to use Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator, package design, or all about packaging. Observation When learning a new skill nothing beats watching an expert in action. While getting an internship at a package design house may be of incredible value it is not realistic for most people. However, you have an opportunity to view successful finished labels every time you go to the store. Take a look at the grocery store shelves and see which labels and packages capture your eye. Why? The best place to observe great packaging is at the liquor store. Wine labels tend to have the most creative labels of any product, so you can get some great ideas just observing the labels at your local liquor store. Become a student of label design when you shop and you will become a better label designer.

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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.