Branding

  • Demand For Nutrition Transparency Fuels New Alcohol Labeling

    Liquor Labeling TrendsDiageo Move Drives Industry-Wide Rethink of Packaging Content, Branding

    Consumers want transparency in their alcohol consumption, and we’re not talking about see-through bottles. Responding to growing demands to know nutritional content of both food and beverage, the world’s largest distiller, Diageo, will begin showing nutritional information on Guinness stout, Smirnoff vodka and Tanqueray gin packaging, according to a Bloomberg News article published on washingtonpost.com in March. That trend is likely to grow, putting beer, wine and hard liquor makers large and small on notice to ready themselves for packaging and labeling changes that will include nutritional content. Those that move quickly may capture a competitive edge, while companies lagging behind could start to see consumer support lag as well. Niche brands such as beer microbrewers can use smaller scale to their advantage. Notes a March 2015 fortune.com article, “…it will likely take some time before labels will feature such information as it is a costly endeavor for such big brands to change the labels on their packaging.” In contrast, once they receive TTB label and packaging approval, small brands can print digital labels and packaging in as few as 1-2 days and be ready to roll out very quickly. Branding and relabeling changes, however, may not all be about adopting the new standard. Until or unless regulatory authorities mandate such nutritional disclosures, some liquor producers may opt for the “counter-culture” approach with messaging and graphics proclaiming adherence to the basics (e.g., “our smoothness and taste speak for themselves-that’s all you need to know”). While this sorts itself out, London-based Diageo, active in 180 countries, already has received US approval for product labels from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), which regulates alcohol. The Bloomberg article notes, “‘Consumers are increasingly discerning about what’s in their glass,’ the distiller’s chief executive, Ivan Menezes, said in an e-mailed statement. ‘We are committed to ensuring our consumers have the best possible information from which to make informed choices.’” At this point, the TTB is making inclusion of nutritional information voluntary except for some existing narrowly defined requirements--unlike the Food and Drug Administration, which mandated nutritional listings decades ago. No matter how liquor makers view it, change is afoot and companies need to be responsive and agile in every area from creative brainstorming and desirable messaging to new label and packaging printing. Many companies may experiment to see where the right messaging lies. For example, baby boomers on up will tend to be less motivated by nutritional disclosures, perhaps following the “ignorance is bliss” philosophy, while millennials generally will prefer more transparency and clarity. Obviously, Diageo is betting that the latter mindset will prevail. The Fortune article notes, “Diageo, the world’s largest liquor company, has led the charge to change misconceptions about what exactly can be found in alcoholic beverages…it will begin adding nutritional information — including protein, fats, calories, and carbohydrates — to labels in the U.S., Diageo…has fought for such approval for more than a decade.” No doubt, much of the rationale for Diageo’s strong support lies in health issues. According to a March vox.com report, “‘Many adults take in a tremendous amount of calories from alcohol, and they have no idea,’ says Sara Bleich, a public-health researcher at Johns Hopkins. She has found that the average American who drinks regularly takes in 400 calories daily from alcohol — not a huge surprise, given that average beer or glass of wine has about 150 calories.” The Vox article adds, “[Bleich] and colleagues have previously found that the particular information on nutrition labels can have a dramatic impact when it comes to consumption of soda and other sugary drinks. Though she hasn't yet looked at the potential impact of labeling alcohol specifically, she imagines the effect would be similar. Regardless of how and when all this plays out, there’s no doubt that liquor labeling and packaging change is on its way. This well may be a dramatic case of early adopters gaining major competitive advantage in the marketplace.

  • A World Without Full Color Labels

    We tend to take the full spectrum of colors for granted. Let’s take a look at some of the companies whose products or brands would suffer without the benefit of a full color label. Popsicle Popsicle Brand - Color LabelPopsicle - Grayscale label Before, we have a box of glisteningly sweet, cold, refreshing, fruit-flavored frozen delicacies. After, we have… what? A McCarthy-era warning about the feared superiority of Soviet nuclear missiles? Turn-of-the-century, retro-futuristic depictions of 21st century buildings (named after fruits, for some reason)? Whatever it is, on first glance, I certainly don’t want my children sucking on them. Full color labels help make subtle promises to the consumer like the relief of an impossibly-colored frozen treat on a hot summer day. It appears that sweet things are especially dependent on vibrant colors to sell. Google Google - Color LogoGoogle - Grayscale Logo The world’s most popular search engine has undergone many changes over the years. Google’s full color logo features primary colors, softening their tech-y image to be more friendly and familiar to its users. Looking at the logo after we drain out its friendly colors, Google’s eye looks more like an Orwellian horror—the all-seeing eye of the Internet, copying your every keystroke and compiling your profile to more efficiently target you. Actually, now that you put it that way… Toy R’ Us Toys 'R' Us - Color logoToys 'R' Us - Grayscale logo Toys R’ Us, the toy superstore whose star rose, fell, and rose again over the period of 20-odd years, has undergone a number of redesigns during its rollercoaster of a life. Like Google, we see the friendly use of primary colors. The Toys R’ Us logo takes its softening efforts even further with its logo with rounded edges and a friendly, bouncy text. While the effect isn’t completely lost when you suck out its colors, it’s safe to say the Toys R’ Us doesn’t appear quite as kid-friendly as before. American Flag American Flag - ColorAmerican flag - Grayscale Even with the colors drained, the flag’s too iconic to lose its meaning. It’s almost as if my eyes are filling in the colors where they ought to be. Still, I wouldn’t want to go slapping an American flag on my products without the bright red, white and blue. Just doesn’t seem right. Strawberry Shortcake Strawberry Shortcake label - ColorStrawberry shortcake label - Grayscale Once again, we have a “sweet” logo drained of its sweetness without color, only this time, it’s a doll. Strawberry Shortcake doesn’t look quite as friendly without her ginger locks, and her strawberries look more like shrunken heads from a cheap 80’s voodoo horror film. Our minds are tuned to expect color in some situations; blacks and grays in the place of pinks and reds can feel “wrong,” “off,” “off-putting,” or plain “scary.” Is that a glint of malice I see in the B&W Shortcake doll’s eyes? I suppose the point of all of this is to demonstrate the importance of full color labels in many situations. While it’s true that some products’ labels don’t require color, many of our favorite brands and products would have a hard time coming off the shelf if they chose black and white labels.

  • The Importance of Telling a Story With Your Label

    Product label critique by Seth Godin Seth Godin is at it again. Earlier this month I wrote about his critique of some chocolate packaging, and now he has provided a detailed critique of the new Ahava Mineral Botanic line of soaps and cremes. Godin recognizes the importance of the packaging to the success of any product. It is even more important when you are launching a new premium product that is several times more expensive than many competitors. I have always stressed the importance of telling a story with your product labels. Godin points out that whatever you include on your product labels does in fact tell a story about your product and company. Not necessarily an explicit story but a story nonetheless. Continue reading

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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.