Labeling Trends

  • Quick and Simple Guide for Choosing a Label Material

    The Importance of Quality in Labeling Adhesives

    When it comes to designing a custom label for product packaging, there are many different factors to take into consideration. Of course, you want to make sure that is it visually appealing and attention-grabbing. But it is also crucial to ensure that the right material and adhesives are used. Failing to do so could result in premature cracking, peeling and deterioration and, ultimately, impact how consumers perceive your item.

    Not all labels are created equal. What looks and performs well on one container may not be the greatest choice for another. But unless you are familiar with the various options available to you, how they are made and what environments they work best in, it can be quite difficult to ensure you have selected the appropriate one for your specific product. Most sellers aren't specialists in this area, which is why we want to provide you with a short yet informative guide on the top label adhesives to use for certain applications.

    Factors to Consider

    Before deciding on which label application is right for your product, there are a few factors you'll want to take into consideration, such as:

    •  Container shape and size: The shape of the package will affect which label makes the most sense. For example, if you are selling round bottles, you may want a wraparound label. The measurements of the container are also important because knowing this information ahead of time can help ensure you design an appropriate fitting label.
    • Application method: A label can be applied in one of two ways - automatically (machine) or manually (hand). It should be noted that, generally, you can have either permanent or removable adhesives. Permanent labels can be used in a wide range of applications and, therefore, are a common and affordable choice. But since a permanent label's removal can damage the package or surface to which its applied, removable adhesives should be used by, for example, those creating sticker labels or window decals.
    • Adhesive properties: The bond of a label adhesive is affected by things like temperature levels and exposure to water or humidity. Therefore, it is essential that you take into account where, how and when your products will be used in to ensure you choose a material that is designed to withstand the intended environment. The type of pressure-sensitive adhesive that is best to use will depend, in large part, on the material of the surface it is being applied to.

    To break it down even further, it might be helpful to learn some of the technical terms and jargon used in the labeling process. Gaining even a broad understanding of common label-related terminology can strengthen the communication between you and your printing company, thereby enhancing the overall experience. Below are the three main layers that make up a label:

    1. Substrate: Also referred to as the stock, this is the external, outermost part that words and images are printed on. It is what shoppers see and comes in a variety of materials, including paper and film.
    2. Adhesive: The next layer is the adhesive, which is the sticky agent that bonds the label to the container or package. The strength of adhesives varies and will affect whether or not a label can easily be removed, etc.
    3. Liner: The liner is the base material that you peel the label from, commonly made from Kraft paper.

    Best Types of Labels Based on Surface Material

    The kind of label adhesive you should use depends on the material of the product container. Generally speaking, if you are selling household, cosmetic or personal care items, you will probably be working with plastic, whereas if you are using the labels for beverage or wine bottles, you might use glass - although this is not always the case. Either way, below are some of the best label options to consider depending on its intended use.

    Plastic

    If you need a label that is water and oil resistant, white BOPP labels are one of the top choices for permanent adhesives. They are a commonly used material that is suitable for most types of applications - including beverages and personal care products. A clear label version is also available that will make it look like it is not even there. For containers that need to be abrasion and water resistant, such as the tubes or bottles commonly used for lotions or cleaning products, squeezable label materials work best because they include a layer of flexible yet durable film.

    Glass

    When a removable label is needed, for example for window decals and stickers, clear and/or removable BOPP labels offer a suitable product. However, if you're looking to use a paper stock for, say, a wine bottle, classic crest or Estate #9 labels may be the better choice. Both of these options provide a more textured appearance. But, because neither can be laminated, they are not water resistant.

    By taking the guesswork out of the labeling process, you can more carefully plan the design and creation of your product labels. The more information you have, the better the decisions you will make.

  • Head to Lightning Labels for Back-to-School Stickers and Labels

    Don't Forget Back-to-School Labels This Shopping Season Don't Forget Back-to-School Labels This Shopping Season

    This time of year seemed so far away at the beginning of the summer, but for many families, school is already right around the corner. According to research by the National Retail Federation, back-to-school spending has increased by 42 percent over the past decade, and consumers' willingness to spend at this time of year has the potential to affect purchases of small things, such as back-to-school labels and stickers, to laptops, tablets and other big-ticket items. In fact, according to the NRF's Back-to-School Spending Survey, the average family with kids in grades K-12 will spend $630.36 over the course of the back-to-school shopping season, investing in supplies such as folders and writing implements as well as apparel, shoes and electronics. The NRF went on to note that many families who splurged last year are tightening their purse strings in 2015, determining that much of what they purchased as brand new in 2014 is still in good working order. "As seen over the last 13 years, spending on 'back to school' has consistently fluctuated based on children's needs each year, and it's unlikely most families would need to restock and replenish apparel, electronics and supplies every year," noted Matthew Shay, president and CEO of the NRF. "Parents this summer will inventory their children's school supplies and decide what is needed and what can be reused, which just makes good budgeting sense for families with growing children."

    Need Durable Back-to-School Stickers? Lightning Labels Can Deliver

    Although items themselves may be in good enough condition to last for at least another semester, a year of wear and tear can really do a number on the labels that kids use to distinguish their possessions from the similar or even identical belongings owned by their classmates. This is where back-to-school stickers and labels from Lightning Labels come in. Lightning Labels offers a range of materials and laminates to keep labels durable and vibrant throughout the academic year and beyond, at low minimums that fit into families' back-to-school budgets.

    Don't Forget to Add Sports Team Labels to the List

    Many kids heading back to school for the fall semester aren't only preparing for classes, but also the kick-off of the fall and winter sports season, which encompasses football, soccer, basketball and more. Sports team labels are a great way for players to not only identify their uniforms and equipment, but also to proudly show off their status as part of the team. According to the NRF survey, three in 10 families (30.3 percent) with children in grades K-12 will wait until one to two weeks before the semester begins to start their back-to-school shopping. According to Pam Goodfellow, principal analyst with Prosper Insights & Analytics, which conducted the study on behalf of the NRF, parents who put off shopping will use conveniences such as same-day delivery to ensure they get everything they need in time for the first day of school. This can quickly get expensive, but ordering from Lightning Labels is one item on families' back-to-school checklists that won't break the bank. Following proof approval, Lightning Labels can turn around orders within 48 to 72 hours, helping even the most last-minute shoppers slide in under the wire.

  • 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.

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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.