Monthly Archives: September 2014

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    Retail Product Labels Get a Makeover

    New Product Labels Carry More Information
    It has been decades since the universal product code (UPC) was introduced to product labels, and this has since changed the way many retailers operate. These label codes allow merchants to simply scan items to ring them up in the register and can also be used to aid other functions, such as inventory management and tracking.

    Now, product labels are slated to get a makeover. The National Retail Federation recently reported that digital watermarking allows manufacturers to include additional information on product labels that is completely invisible to the human eye. These watermarks are printed throughout the product labels, which can expedite scanning speed by as much as 40 percent. This also makes it easier for customers at self-checkout stations to quickly scan their items.

    Watermarks are Easily Printable
    As the news source noted, digital watermarks can be printed without special equipment, which means most label printers can easily reproduce them. If product manufacturers are looking to print a new batch of labels, they may want to consider leveraging watermarks to improve the scanability of their goods.

  • Spooktacular Ideas for Updating your Custom Halloween Candy Labels and Stickers

    Halloween-Candy-Labels-and-StickersHalloween Labels Help Brand Reach Candy Buyers

    Now is the time for candy manufacturers to start planning their Halloween labels! With the end of September quickly approaching, there is still plenty of time to come up with a spooky, festive product label for your various sugary treats. Halloween is to confectioners what Christmas is to retailers. Although Valentines Day and other holidays are particularly popular times to give out chocolates and candies, few can match Halloween. According to the National Retail Federation, more than 113 million people will hand out candy this year, with the average person spending $23 on such goods. One report from the National Confectioners Associations suggested that 72% of all candy spending tends to go toward chocolate. The major chocolate staples, such as Reese's and M&Ms, are likely at the top of most peoples' lists, but there is still room in the shopping cart for any candy manufacturer.

    What Makes for a Good Halloween-Inspired Candy Sticker?

    Product labels and candy stickers are critical to catching customers's attention as they walk down candy aisles. Because all the other candy manufacturers are pulling out the stops for Halloween, confectioners need to bring their A-game and design labels that will help consumers identify their products amid shelves crammed with other options. So, what makes for a good Halloween candy sticker? One look at what other confectioners are doing would suggest utilizing orange and black color schemes, along with imagery associated with Halloween, such as ghosts, bats and pumpkins. For example, Cool and Collected noted that M&M's features its brand characters wearing costumes on labels and packages. This adds a bit of festive cheer and may be just what confectioners need to give their labels and stickers a holiday boost. Additionally, it may even add a "collectible" feel to these products - people may want to see what all the different characters are wearing for Halloween.

    Bakery labels can Follow Suit

    Bakery labels should take note of what candy makers are doing with their stickers. Although baked goods are not quite as popular as candy, bakeries can still benefit from Halloween spirit by designing spooky labels. An orange and black color theme combined with iconic Halloween imagery lets customers know these are the perfect baked goods for their parties or whatever other events they may be holding.

  • Jerky Manufacturer Forced to Recall Products Due to Labels

    Recalls Are Often Caused by Inaccurate Product Labels
    Product recalls can be costly, both in the sense that it requires brands to redesign their product labels and because it can lead to public relations issues if goods are improperly used. However, companies still print inaccurate labels all the time, which presents a huge problem for their end goals.

    Jerky by Art, a New Mexico-based jerky producer, is one of the latest companies forced to recall products. The U.S. department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service found Jerky by Art's jerky contained wheat and anchovies, which are known allergens that were not noted on its product labels. The recall affects various product lines, ranging from small snack-sized bags to bigger containers.

    Because the Jerky by Art products contain no identifying dates or codes on packaging, all products produced before September 12 are being recalled.

    Save Money by Printing Accurate Custom Labels the First Time
    Whether it is an established company or a startup, custom labels should be printed correctly and accurately before items ship to market. This can save organizations a lot of money in the long haul.

  • Show School Spirit With a Window Sticker

    Window StickersWindow Stickers Let Students and Parents Show off School Spirit

    School is now in session, meaning students such as kindergartners and college seniors are hitting the books. With everyone just returning to school, that likely means school spirit is at its highest, and window stickers may be the perfect solution to help people celebrate. Window stickers can be affixed to car or dorm windows and allow people to show their school pride, whether they are supporting a sports team, an extracurricular club or simply the institution itself. These stickers can be sold at school stores or fundraising events, and can be a great way to get some extra funding for clubs and teams. Modern sticker technology has evolved to the point where they can be placed on windows with a special adhesive that allows people to remove them as they please without leaving any residue. This is perfect for students who want to change team logos as new seasons start or if they transfer schools or graduate. It allows them to show their school pride, without fear of damaging their property.

    Car Decals Offer Another Way to Promote School Spirit

    If window stickers are not what students want, car decals may fit the bill. Car decals can be sold to students much like team or university logos and also typically feature adhesives that can do not leave any residue behind when removed. Of course, the most famous car decal is the one seen on parents' cars, boasting about how their kids are enrolled in honors programs or attend a specific high-profile school. These decals can be sold in between semesters when grades are given out or could even be given to honors students as a promotional piece designed to increase exposure for the educational institution.

    School Window Stickers and Car Decals for Any Situation

    Whether sports teams want school window stickers to hype the upcoming season or universities want car decals for parking permits, there are several ways in which they can be used. The start of the school year is the perfect time to start planning these initiatives for the rest of the year, so institution leaders should start thinking about their window sticker and car decal projects now.

  • Starting a Memorable Brand, One Label at a Time

    Brand LabelsMaking Optimal First Impressions with Printed Labels

    It is easy to forget about printed labels when delivering a new product to the market. Companies may spend thousands, or even millions, of dollars on comprehensive research and design, advertising campaigns, engineers and other costs just to come up with an innovative new product. It is easy to think that customers should already be familiar with a brand before the product even hits shelves. Yet, the product label is often the first impression brands get to make on consumers. If people are casually shopping in stores and come across an item they have never heard of, it is up to the label to seize their attention and make them look twice. A recent info-graphic released by The Paper Worker, noted just how quickly first impressions are formed - it often takes no more than seven seconds. That puts the onus on the product manufacturer to come up with a label that will speak to potential buyers.

    Custom Labels Represent the Brand

    As The Paper Worker noted, every customer-facing element of a company represents the brand. Sales associates in a store, website designs, product packaging - these often comprise the first line of contact people have with a company product. As such, it is crucial that packaging represents a brand's promise to deliver a quality product and experience. Although the "do not judge a book by its cover" mentality has been ingrained into the heads of many customers, the fact of the matter is that people do so instinctively and subconsciously. Effective product packaging helps customers pick one item out of many. Additionally, it can help them identify different variants more quickly - even though Coca-Cola and root beer are both brown beverages, it is not difficult to quickly identify a Coke from a root beer at the grocery store because of the way they are packaged and labeled. At the end of the day, effective labeling is not only about standing out among the competition, but also making the burden of picking and choosing products for customers that much easier. Getting customers to take notice initially is crucial because once they look at a product, then brands can rely on their claims and other promotional copy to do the rest of the work.

    Sticker Printing to Augment Labels

    If companies are looking for more ways to stand out in the crowd, sticker printing can also be a significant boon. Stickers can be used to augment labels, adding additional information that may help inform customers before making a purchase. For example, a sticker could be used to add an extra note that was not covered on the label or simply to send an additional message to customers. Because product packaging is often the first thing customers see, it is crucial that companies spend an adequate amount of time in this area, or else they may find their labels are not aligned with the quality of their products.

  • Lip Balm Labels for Startups

    Lip Balm LabelsLip Balm Labels Set the Tone

    Lip balm is a very versatile product, and it is crucial that lip balm labels match the occasion. Many enterprises produce chap stick because it is so easy to make. The product is perfect for personal use, commercial distribution or as a promotional item or gift. Anyone can make lip balm at little cost, and much like brewing beer or other home projects, creating lip balm has become a favorite hobby for many. Whether people want to sell their lip balm commercially, up the ante with a hobby or give their lip balm products away as a gift, the label is a key part of the packaging. Not only is the label a crucial part of the package in terms of capturing the interest of prospective customers, it also must convey specific points of information to comply with federal regulations.

    What Needs to Be Featured on Lip Balm Packaging

    If companies want to sell their products commercially, lip balm packaging needs to feature some crucial information. As the Soap Queen noted, three basics are needed:

    • Ingredient list: What was used to make the lip balm? This list must be organized from the ingredients most used down to the least prevalent. However, makers do not need to add on colorants in this order - they can simply be tagged on to the end. All ingredients must comply with the International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients rules.
    • Quantity: How much product is in a given container? If companies make numerous sizes, it is crucial they list by weight how much of a product on the actual label.
    • Origin: If people have comments or questions, or they simply want to know more about the person who made the lip balm, an address or website on the label can be just what the doctor ordered. A physical address and company name is a must, but a website can help people get to know a brand further.

    Watch Out for Product Label Claims

    If people are trying to promote their lip balm, it is often easy to feature claims on product labels to pique the interest of customers. It is not uncommon to see statements such as "heals cracked lips," as Soap Queen pointed out. If lip balm makers want to include these claims, they need to be careful they follow all the regulations surrounding them. Product manufacturers are not allowed to exaggerate facts on their product labels and will run into trouble with the Food & Drug Administration if they make outlandish claims with no medical research to support them. Companies have had to completely redo their labels in the past once the FDA got wind of misrepresentations. Although label printing is not prohibitively expensive, that is still an extra unnecessary expense that companies should strive to avoid by just being honest about their products on labels in the first place.

  • EPA Looks to Redesign Product Labels

    A New Design May Help Customers Make More Informed Decisions
    People rely heavily on product labels to make knowledgeable purchases, referencing the information on packages to receive information. Thus, it is crucial that labels present all the necessary data to ensure people can buy the right products for themselves.

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Design for the Environment Safer Product Label is a common emblem that product manufacturers incorporate onto their labels to show potential buyers that all ingredients have been evaluated to ensure goods are safe to use or consume. However, the EPA has grown concerned that customers do not understand the significance of the emblem, and is looking to redesign the logo moving forward, Government Security News reported.

    "We want consumers to be able to easily find safer products that work well," Jim Jones, assistant administrator for Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, told the news source. "The agency wants to hear from the American people on which designs will help people identify household cleaning and other products that are safer for families and the environment."

    Transparency is Critical for Better Product Labels
    Product manufacturers typically include many claims on their custom labels, but it is crucial people understand what these different claims mean.

  • Grocer Rethinks Food Labels and Product Packaging

    Current Product Labels Look 'Cheap,' Says Grocer
    Grocery company Tops will be retooling the product labels and packaging for its own brand-name food items in response to criticisms that suggested its existing labels make the products appear "cheap," Buffalo News reports.

    The end goal is to create packaging and labels that appear attractive to customers and portray the Tops food brand as a high-quality alternative to more popular food brands.The current labels are not living up to that standard, according to Tops spokeswoman Katie McKenna. The grocer worked with private label partners to assess customers' perception of the products, and the results came up negative.

    "The way it was packaged didn't match the product's quality," McKenna told the news source. "The perception was that it was lower quality and cheap. And something being a good value and being 'cheap' are two very different things."

    Product Labels Matter for Reaching Customers
    If companies want customers to buy their products, labels are important. A cheap or inexpensive looking label may convey the same about the quality of Tops' practices.

  • Transparency in Personal Care Labels

    Some Chemicals Not Listed on Product Labels
    Should personal care product manufacturers mention the presence of parabens and phthalates on product labels? Washington Post contributor Jill Adams thinks so, if only for transparency's sake.

    According to Adams, chemicals such as phthalates and parabens can interfere with reproductive hormones in the body, which could lead to chronic diseases and cancers. These chemicals are often used in personal care products such as hairspray and makeup to improve the consistency of the solution. Because the Food and Drug Administration has found no evidence that exposure to these chemicals is hazardous to one's health, personal care brands are legally obligated to mention these chemicals on product labels.

    Promoting Transparency on Product Labels
    Although many people have been trained to read product labels, personal care products do not help people determine whether they contain phthalates or parabens. Speaking with the Washington Post, environmental professor John Meeker explained many product makers simply allude to these chemicals by grouping them as "fragrances."

    At the end of the day, product makers need to consider how much they value transparency. While they do not have to disclose this information, they may want to consider doing so just to be transparent to customers.

  • Feature Your Micro-Brew's Local or Natural Ingredients with Custom Labels

    Custom Beer Labels_NaturalTell Customers About Local Grown Ingredients Through Beer Labels

    People are actively looking to support local companies, so one of the best ways brewers can attract regional customers is by flaunting their origins on beer labels. Buying local has grown more popular over the years as people grow more cognizant of the fact that nearby businesses actively contribute to domestic economies. As Sustainable Connections noted, there are a few reasons why people like to buy local, including:

    • Reduced environmental impact: Local products require less transportation, which means there is less sprawl, habitat loss and pollution.
    • Better community support: Purchases made with local companies often stay within that ecosystem, going to more business with nearby firms.
    • Encourage local prosperity: Entrepreneurs are more likely to open up shop in communities that support local businesses than anywhere else.

    If beer manufacturers are local or use ingredients from nearby sources, they may want to consider indicating these facts on their product labels. For example, Sam Adams makes beer using filtered Boston city tap water, which creates a sense of hometown pride for some beer aficionados. Other beer manufacturers may use local hops or name their beers after nearby landmarks, all of which can be noted on the label via ingredient lists or through graphic depictions.

    Custom Labels Allow Beer Bottles to Stand Apart

    Many brewers put a lot of time and effort into developing an appealing custom label that will capture the attention of customers. There are multiple ways in which companies can accomplish this goal, both through the use of eye-catching colors and graphics to using specific label claims. As breweries design their labels, it is important they consider who their target audiences are. If they are trying to reach customers at a regional level, place-of-origin claims should feature more prominently on the liner. Conversely, they may want to focus on other design elements if they are going for a broader appeal.

    Picking the Right Printing Company for Custom Beer Labels

    After breweries decide on their final design, it is time for them to get their custom beer labels printed and attached to beer bottles. Brewers need to consider the importance of their label as a signature part of the overall package of the product they are selling and choose an experienced label printing company. This reduces the chances of any printing mistakes from occurring.

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