Monthly Archives: November 2009

  • Lightning Labels Office Closed for Thanksgiving Nov 26-27

    Our office will be closed for the Thanksgiving holiday this Thursday, Nov. 26 and Friday, Nov. 27.

    We will reopen for business as usual at 8 am on Monday, Nov. 30.

    Happy Thanksgiving!!

  • Holiday Gift Ideas for Graphic Designers & Other Creative Types

    Even though many stores have been selling Christmas decorations for a month now, the holiday shopping season officially kicks off with Black Friday - just a week from now. If you are wondering what to get your graphic designer - or anyone with a flair for creativity and passion for technology - here are some great ideas to inspire you. Happy Shopping Season, Ya'll!

    Fun Yet Practical USB Drives

    C-3po-usb-flash-drive

    Mimobot sells USB flash drives that mimic almost any pop character one could think of, from Darth Vader and C-3CPO to Hello Kitty and characters from that Halo video game I've never played but hear is STILL popular.

    Ipod-shuffle-3rd-generation Did you realize you can download not only tunes but all kinds of data to an iPod Shuffle? Barely bigger than a postage stamp,the clip on this tiny iPod isn't good for workouts - it also lessens the possibility of losing it in a laptop bag or purse. As a bonus, it also comes in a rainbow of colors. The 3rd Generation 2G iPod Shuffle is on sale now for $55 at Target online.

    And now USB Aromatherapy Oil Burner : ThinkGeekI have seen everything. The Scent 2.0 USB not only totes data from computer to computer, but provides aromatherapy right at your desk. The designer on your gift list just needs to add a little of the lav ender oil that comes with it, plug it into any USB drive, and enjoy the therapeutic benefits of aromatherapy right in their office(or home or coffee shop). Currently available from ThinkGeek for $5.99.

    If the USB jump drives I've recommended so far sound too impersonal for your gift-giving style, take a little time to customize a plain one yourself. Need inspiration? The DIY blog Instructables has step-by-step directions on how to hide a USB flash drive inside a classic pink eraser or a Lego block.

    Books & Magazines (The Paper Kind)

    The new Zen of CSS Design Book by Dave Shea and Molly E. Holzschlag. Based on the popular website CSS Zen Garden, this book Illustrates the range and potential of Web sites afforded by CSS-based Web design. Currently on sale at Amazon.com for $29.69.

    Encyclopedia-of-fontsThe Encyclopedia of Fonts by Gwyn Headley. $18.21 at Amazon.com.

    Communication-arts-subscriptionA one-year subscription to Communication Arts Magazine includes the Design, Advertising, Illustration, Photography and Interactive annuals plus access to premium online content. $53 when purchased online (63% off the newsstand price).

    Tee Shirts - Because You Can't Have Too Many ...

    And because many creative types work in casual environments. Pick up a tee with a witty saying or an unusual design at Threadless. Threadless is a community-driven online tee shirt store where graphic designers can submit tee shirt designs and earn cash for those that are picked, get paid up to $2500 plus $500 per reprint. New tee shirt designs are released each Monday; with sales prices starting at $9.

    Or if you are feeling creative yourself, turn the tables and create a personalized tee for the designer on your shopping list for as little as $12.95 per tee at Zazzle.com. More Ideas

    Credits to purchase vector artwork at istockphoto.com

    Membership to the professional design association AIGA

    Go Media Vector Packs

    New Pantone Swatchbooks

    Moleskine Notebooks

  • Xerox Develops a Breakthrough Silver Ink

    Xerox Xerox recently announced a breakthrough that could have wide ranging implications for a number of industries. The researchers at Xerox have invented a new ink that can be printed on paper or plastic like normal inks, but this silver ink has a special property - it can conduct electricity. This is a huge development for the new field of printed electronics. In the future, many electrical components such as simple screens, sensors, solar cells, and radio antennae will not be manufactured by traditional fabrication plants, they will be printed. What this means for the label industry is that a product label may have a regular printed component as well as some kind of electrical device built into the label itself. This electrical device could replace the barcode for identification, or it could be something much more sophisticated such as a video screen. We are not there yet, but when this technology becomes mainstream it will transform many industries. I predict we will start to see some of this become mainstream in the next three to five years. We have already seen some interesting developments that I have written about recently that gives an idea of what we can expect. Related Articles PrintedElectronicsNow.com - New Silver Ink Developed by Xerox Digital Beat - Xerox develops silver ink for wearable or throwaway electronics

  • New Book on Digital Label Printing

    Digtal-label-printingMichael Fairley, known the world over as one of the most knowledgeable people in the label industry, has just written a new book about digital label printing. Wow. I wish I had this information when I started Lightning Labels back in 2002. Of course, back then most of the information and products mentioned in this book didn't exist. The book is called Digital Label Printing - A 'How to' guide to technology, materials and performance for the label converter. It is jam packed full of useful content. If you are considering buying a digital label press, you have to read Chapter 2 which contains probably the most comprehensive review of digital label presses ever written. Even though I follow developments in digital label printing closely, there were presses that Fairley reviewed that I had never heard of. It is very up to date, including new developments that occured just earlier this year. Like most of Fairley's books, the text is combined with many photos, charts and graphics that make the content easier to read. He even provides screen shots of software packages as well as plenty of label samples. Now, in the interests of full disclosure, my partner Steve Smith has chatted with Mike Fairley several times about Lightning Labels at industry conferences and some information from their conversations has made it into his book. Check out Chapter 8 (page 74) for a brief description of our business model that Fairley used as an example of a label company using the internet in innovative ways. Regardless of that, I would still give this book a glowing review. It is the most thorough review ever undertaken of this narrow niche of the business world we call digital label printing.

  • Low Resolution Gets Thumbs Up for Halloween Costume, Thumbs Down for Digital Printing

    Low-resolution-lady KindaCarsick's blogger dressed up as "Low Resolution Lady" for Halloween this year. Her costume is pure genius; it's been a long time since I have seen a costume this creative! When it comes to digital printing, however, low resolution is nothing to be admired. A low resolution image that is sharp and clear on your computer screen will likely be pixelated in print ... compromising the aesthetic appeal of your labels, and sometimes the legibility of text images as well. Along with image color mode, having the correct image resolution for any digital files to be printed is EXTREMELY important to ensuring your labels are printed with the correct colors and clarity. The good news is, preventing your labels from turning out like Low Resolution Lady's face isn't a guessing game. To ensure that your label designs look as beautiful in print as they do on your computer screen, I recommend that you review our art specifications before sending us any design files to be printed. Here at Lightning Labels, we require all raster (image-based) files to have a resolution of 300 d.p.i. at actual size. And in case you are wondering about our image mode requirements, we only print in CMYK. If you happen to send us a file in RGB mode, we will convert it ... and that might not produce the exact colors you had in mind. And if there is any doubt about how your labels will look in print, you might consider taking advantage of our free press proof offer, which lets you preview exactly what your labels will look like before placing your final order. Related Posts Top 5 Artwork Mistakes What Does "Four Color Process" Mean?

  • Product Labels: Still the Best Technology

    IMG_2490 I was brushing my teeth this morning and looking at all the products on our bathroom countertop. My wife had been cleaning out our cabinets so everything was on the counter. I was struck by how many product labels I could see. When I counted them all there were 56 different products with product labels - above is a photo of about half of them. Now, not every product has a physical label on it - several products such as toothpaste are screen printed with all the product details printed directly on to the container. But the vast majority of products use physical labels adhered to bottles. Even major consumer products like Listerine that probably print millions of labels at a time have decided that a paper label is the best way to identify their product. Despite all the technological advances of the last few years, the best way to identify and market your product at the point of sale is with a colorful product label. And with today''s high quality digital label printing, that is perfect for short runs, tiny companies can compete with the likes of Johnson & Johnson. You might not have the marketing clout of the big companies but your product can have a label that is every bit as good.

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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.