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    June is National Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Month

    Summer Means Produce

    A whole host of different fruit and vegetable varieties are becoming ripe as spring gives way to summer. If you can and preserve produce, you can save this freshness all year round. Those canned goods are also great to give away or sell, provided you can give them the proper pizzazz.

    "It's time to think about harvesting, preserving and canning your goods."

    When you're ready to turn your green thumb into a small business, launching your own line of food products, you'll want eye-catching labels and stickers to mark the products. Preserves and canned foods made from your own fruits and veggies are great to give away to family and friends or, if you have enough on hand, they can be a big hit at farmers' markets and local stores. In June, designated as National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month, it's time to think about harvesting, preserving and canning your goods.

    What's Your Brand?

    Whether you're canning goods to give to acquaintances or to be sold at markets, the process involves thinking about jar label design. There's no reason to leave the jars blank — not when there are affordable labels for canning available from Lightning Labels. Friends and family will love the personal touch that comes with your chosen imagery, and if you choose to sell the goods, branding just becomes that much more important.

    Shoppers at a farmers' market will likely have a choice between many different growers' offerings. How can you prove yours are worthy of their money? Label design plays a key role here. The imagery and text you choose for your packaging, as well as the material, finish, font and other little design touches, will set your preserves and canned goods apart. If you opt for canning jar lid labels, you can brand multiple faces of the jars and make them look more distinctive, no matter what angle people view them from.

    Preserve labels can include descriptions of the flavors within, or use local imagery to promote the locally sourced nature of your items. Shoppers today have a lot of choices regarding how they get their foods and what brands they consume. Playing up the wholesome nature of your offerings could help them stand out in a world largely dominated by big brands and artificial ingredients.

    Team Up with Lightning Labels

    Whether you're simply a hobbyist or you've made the jump to produce entrepreneur, Lightning Labels can help you stand out, with labels for canning that fit every need and requirement. Since you operate independently, you may assume that professionally made labels are out of reach, with high minimum order sizes and prohibitive costs getting in the way. Lightning Labels, however, works differently.

    Lightning Labels uses digital-only printing processes at domestic facilities. This means you get your labels in a hurry, and can place an order affordably even if you don't need many labels in one go. The produce in the fields and orchards is getting ripe and because it's National Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Month — there's no better time to get serious about your canning and preservation efforts, whether as gifts for your acquaintances or the beginning of a new business venture.

    Request your FREE instant quote today.

  • Lightning Labels Marks 15 Years of High-Quality Custom Labels

    There's Never Been a Better Time to Revise Your Labeling Strategy

    Whether people interact with your products on store shelves or browse through pictures of them online, the custom labels you employ will set those consumers' expectations. Packaging gives your brand a face and enables you to set your items apart from competitors' offerings. If you're looking for a third party to help your products look their best, Lightning Labels is on your side. This month is the company's 15th anniversary, and it's made it this far by embracing technology and customer service. When you design new labels for printing, Lightning Labels should be the first name you think of.

    The Secret to Lasting 15 Years

    In the competitive labeling space, companies don't stay relevant for 15 years by accident. Lightning Labels has made it to this milestone year and beyond by delivering a careful mixture of advanced technology and spot-on customer service. Being an expert labeling partner means tending to the needs of customers' campaigns, whatever unique circumstances those firms are dealing with. You'll find Lightning Labels can deliver this kind of flexibility, embodied in the following characteristics:

    • Wide Variety of Materials and Finishes: How your labels look comes down to a number of factors, not just the imagery you print on them. Lightning Labels' all-digital process works with a variety of materials and finishes, each of which adds character to the finished product. If you're interested in recycled labels that give a rustic look while reaffirming your environmental bona fides, you can have that. If your items are better suited to shimmering metallic labels that proclaim their classiness, that's an option too.
    • Low Minimum Orders and Fast Turnaround Times: Whether you're responding to industry regulations or simply switching one promotion for another, changing up labels often is a common decision. This becomes easier when you work with an all-digital printer such as Lightning Labels - no expensive plate-creation process means affordable prices and low minimum order sizes. Your labels are then dispatched from a domestic facility instead of an outsourced location, getting them in your hands quickly.
    • Hands-on Customer Service: Striking up a long-term relationship between a label provider and a client creates peace of mind for everyone. If you know where your next batch of labels is coming from, you can set the wheels in motion quickly and efficiently. Lightning Labels makes it easy and pleasant for customers to stick around with attentive service and care. Good bonds with clients have kept Lightning Labels strong for 15 years and counting.

    Branding Is Not Optional

    When your products face the world, it helps to have prime labels that reflect the quality of the items themselves. For 15 years, Lightning Labels has provided visual excitement for companies of all kinds. There's never been a better time to join this group of satisfied customers and revolutionize the look of your product line. Having a trusted custom label printer in your corner means being able to set your image with precision, presenting your items to consumers in an ideal setting that maximizes their appeal.

  • Grow Your Garden and Lawn Care Product Sales with Custom Labels that Stand Out

    Seize the Day During National Lawn and Garden Month

    There's no season quite like spring for the lawn and garden care industry. If this is your field, now is the time to act and capture customer attention. This is especially true during April - National Lawn and Garden Month. Whether you want to tie your items in with this gardener's holiday or just celebrate spring in general, custom labels are a great choice. Dressing up your products with colorful and vibrant reminders of the season can get customers excited to do some gardening - and help your items stand out in a world of competitors.

    Be Colorful, Helpful and Exciting

    There are two ways of looking at gardening: It's either a chore or a fun activity. If your lawn care product labels give the latter impression, you may have an easier time converting shoppers and keeping them enthusiastic. You can become a knowledgeable helper for your customers by printing plant care or yard maintenance tips on your fertilizer, pesticide and seed products. These informational panels play the same role as recipes on food packaging, and encourage gardeners to pick your brand.

    Hints and information require a lot of text to get across, which means you should always work with a custom label provider capable of printing high-quality product packaging. Blurry or illegible words aren't convincing and they make your brand look unprofessional. The space you have for helpful text is extremely limited, as you don't want to skimp on bright spring imagery and a memorable logo. If the product is something potentially harmful (such as a pesticide), you have to devote some of your label space to warnings and ingredient information. High-quality printing is the way to ensure you have room for everything.

    Choose Tough Labels

    Your choice of material will play a large part in determining whether lawn care product labels end up looking good. Since these items are typically stored in garages, sheds or out in the elements, tough and waterproof labels that won't smear or fade over time are essential. Unless you go with waterproof materials, your products may look bad by the time customers need to purchase another item. If your brand name has worn off, the products won't be able to act as subtle advertisements encouraging shoppers to come back for more.

    An Ideal Partner

    When Lightning Labels is your third party of choice, you gain access to the competencies described above - many tough materials that can hold up through wet outdoor conditions, as well as speed, quality and customer service. The short time from placing an order to receiving your labels is especially important, as it means you have a chance to quickly capitalize on temporary occurrences such as National Lawn and Garden Month.

    Lawn and garden products are an industry where smaller companies can compete with the big brands. Every spring is a fresh new start, and if your products look bold, helpful and positive, you could catch shopper attention and gain new customers. If your current labeling style isn't up to the challenge, now's the time to step up.

    Request your FREE instant quote today.

  • Looking at the Road Ahead for Food Labeling

    Eyes on Upcoming Changes

    If you operate in the food manufacturing industry, your product labels change every few years. Even if you decide to stay aesthetically consistent, there are shifting regulations to comply with. In a way, these new rules are a good thing. If you have to switch up the way you list ingredients, nutrition facts and more, these enforced changes serve as great reminders to change other parts of your label designs and keep them fresh. Provided you have a helpful and capable third party handing your labeling needs, making periodic adjustments is a good approach to design.

    Now, with 2017 just underway, it's time to think about which requirements and rules are likely to either change this year or at least move toward new drafts. Will the new administration in Washington enforce new national laws, or roll them back? Or will the wheels set in motion in years past turn uninterrupted? Will states work on individual standards? Will industry-specific or overarching guidelines prove more influential this year? These questions and more will set the scene for 2017.

    Looking Back and Awaiting Guidance

    A Lexology article from law firm McGuireWoods LLP predicted the major themes affecting food and beverage labeling, explaining that legal action against labels has picked up. With the FDA considering new rules for when "natural" and "healthy" apply to products, some of the class actions have been set aside until the federal agency makes its recommendations. However, there are plenty of cases ongoing. The law firm pointed to appellate courts as the site of a significant amount of labeling-related legal wrangling.

    When it comes to concepts that will be ruled on in 2017, possibly leading to new rules or standards, McGuireWoods LLP suggested that trans fats, the word "craft," claims that items were "made in the U.S.A." and more could be the hot topics. The source explained that similar cases filed in the recent past could work their way up to the supreme court, yielding judgments that set precedent for the food and beverage industries.

    As for labeling issues to watch outside the legal system, the law firm pointed to two of the most popular recent sagas ongoing in the food and beverage industry. These are the passage of national GMO labeling rules and the FDA's ongoing quest for consistency and clarity when it comes to making claims on packages. It may seem redundant to watch these cases - you may have gotten downright sick of them in 2016 - but it pays not to look away. These guidelines might be very relevant for your next packaging revision.

    Restricting Waste

    Another rule that has previously drawn attention, but will remain relevant in the year ahead, is the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service's new guidance on expiration dates. Columbus Dispatch columnist Lisa Abraham explained that this is one of the "buzz" topics affecting food manufacturers at the moment, as it standardizes information that has never had universal guidelines before. For every type of product except baby formula, the introduction of standard language and a regular dating approach is a new wrinkle.

    The overall goal behind the program is reducing food waste, encouraging consumers not to throw away items that are still safe. The steps toward this objective include the uniform use of the term "best if used by," which makes it clear that the date is a measure of optimal quality, rather than safety. The USDA performed testing and determined that "best if used by" is the most likely phrase to elicit this kind of response from consumers.

    Abraham noted that the numbers indicate waste by consumers is a major overall cause of food going uneaten, and there will have to be progress in this arena if the USDA is to reach its ambitious overall waste reduction goals. For instance, the agency believes that either retailers or customers throw out 30 percent of the total wasted food in the country, just because they are unsure whether it's still safe to eat. With an overall aim of cutting waste by half in the next 13 years, and eventually preventing food waste from reaching landfills, the USDA is moving ahead with the new label style.

    Ready to Change

    The trends described above are likely to force you to print out new product labels within the next two years. However, if you're only updating your food and beverage items' appearance when legally required to do so, you are likely behind the curve. Changing a product's look is a great way to make that item draw consumers' eyes, and when you work with a labeling partner capable of printing high-quality custom labels in reasonable amounts, it's easy to make periodic updates.

    Working with Lightning Labels as your trusted third party makes a lot of sense - true to its name, Lightning Labels is fast and responsive, available to give your custom labels a new look whether you're updating your packages due to a legal requirement, or just to make them more appealing.

  • FDA upends vaping industry with strict new requirements

    Do you know where your vape labels are in the mix?

    By Mark Lusky

    A while back we posted an article entitled, “Keep your branding process nimble…A hard lesson from the e-cig industry.” That article focused on two primary needs—being proactive with planning and organization to be able to move swiftly when needed; and considering multiple options to address various potential challenges.

    For the vaping industry, it’s time to be nimble and swift. In early May, the FDA announced its intent to extend tobacco regulations to e-cigs, vape and other products. A CNN report notes, “Electronic cigarettes and hookahs will now be regulated like tobacco…Children will no longer be able to buy them; ingredients will be regulated; packages will carry warnings...The e-cigarette industry calls the final rule ‘a complete disaster’.”

    That well may be true for e-cig and vape companies unprepared for multiple scenarios. The new regulations will extend to a variety of vape products such as vaporizers, vape pens, hookah pens, electronic cigarettes (E-Cigarettes), and e-pipes, all of which use liquid containing nicotine that is vaporized and inhaled.

    When it comes to potential vape labeling changes/additions, now is the time (if you haven’t already) to assess with your custom vape label customer service rep about how best to maximize productivity while minimizing price and delivery times for any number of looming changes on the horizon. Among possible outcomes are:

    • A second whammy closer to home combined with the FDA regulations, which could create compliance chaos. Companies trying to be compliant may face a maze of confusing and conflicting requirements about branding, claims, vape labeling, ingredients and more. Local outrage over continuing reports of children ingesting the liquid nicotine and its use reportedly leading to more young people smoking regular cigarettes can continue to lead to more immediate and drastic controls.

    According to the CNN report, “Research has showed that e-cigarettes have become a problem for children. This year, the CDC found that e-cigarette use had tripled among teens in just one year, and recent research found that teens who used them were more than three times as likely to smoke traditional cigarettes a year later.”

    • Delays due to FDA compliance windows and/or legal action, leaving the vaping industry in limbo about what to do when.  Notes the CNN article, “The new rule will not go into effect immediately, since companies will need time to comply…Companies will probably file lawsuits that could delay implementation of parts of the law for decades.”

    • Major vape product labeling changes, with or without other provisions in effect. CNN points out, “The new rules will also require companies to register with the FDA and put health warnings on their packages and in their ads. It gives the agency the authority to evaluate the potential health impact of these ingredients on users.”

    As the world seems to turn ever faster, there’s no time like the present to make sure your company is turning with—or preferably even ahead—of it.

  • Make St. Patrick's Day Count with Custom Stickers

    StPatricksDayNothing Better than Shamrock Stickers for St. Patrick's Day

    St. Patrick's Day is a beloved holiday in the United States, despite tracing its origins back to ye olde country of Ireland. It is a colorful time in which many cities will host massive parades, revelers will line the streets and fill the pubs, and adorn themselves with virtually anything green and sparkly. This presents firms with a unique opportunity to get the word out about their brands through the development and distribution of stickers for St. Patrick's Day.

    For obvious reasons, shamrock stickers are likely to be the most successful in terms of individuals actually accepting the items and wearing them on their clothing or placing them on cars, backpacks and other possessions. St. Patrick's Day takes place on Thursday, March 17, giving you only a few weeks to get the designs ready and printed for release ahead of the big event.

    Don't Be Too Brand-Focused

    While it might seem counterintuitive to really focus on the holiday rather than your business when approaching branded materials, St. Patrick's Day is not necessarily the time to launch a raw marketing campaign. Even the companies that have the most demand during this holiday - such as Guinness and any manufacturer of corned beef and cabbage - tend to produce ads that are mostly focused on St. Patrick's Day with a relatively small plug of their brand somewhere in the content.

    You should consider following in their footsteps this March, creating stickers, labels and other branded materials that are mostly composed of celebratory content and imagery, then placing the name of your company somewhat inconspicuously. This will ensure that the items actually get put to use in circulation. The goal of the project should simply be to align your business with the holiday, but St. Patrick's Day has to come first for this to be effective.

    St. Patrick's Day Stickers in a Rush

    Again, the holiday is rapidly approaching, and you will likely need at least a little time to map our the strategy with respect to design and distribution. Once prepared, though, consider leveraging Lightning Labels for all of your St. Patrick's Day sticker needs, as this firm has an industry-leading track record with respect to turnaround times on orders and accuracy of the printed materials.

  • Polar Bottle Case Study



    Polar Bottle® is tasked with creating customized labels and stickers that feature impeccable color-matching and fast turnarounds for organizations and companies engaged in private labeling worldwide. Its high-profile clients include the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), for whom Polar Bottle serves as an official licensee. With typically tight deadlines and strict budget parameters, there’s little room for “do-overs,” so Polar Bottle must do the job right the first time, and deliver it on time.


    Team up with Lightning Labels to handle high-quality custom label jobs —ensuring capacity to meet commitments for timely and cost-effective delivery. “We like their capabilities and equipment, the digitally produced colors, and how inks hold on to material and don’t scrape off,” notes Ray Nessler, Polar Bottle Purchasing Manager. This blends perfectly with Polar Bottle’s wide range of customization options for insulated bottles—which include promoting teams, businesses, brands, school groups, events, and expressing appreciation to clients, employees and other stakeholders. Plus, the expanded capability offered by Lightning Labels enables Polar Bottle to promote a wide variety of custom stickers in addition to labels, creating a “tangible connection” that can be used across a wide band of branding. Polar Bottle’s dedication to “lightning-fast turnaround times and practically non-existent minimums” blends seamlessly into Lightning Labels’ “prime directive” in place since the company’s founding in 2002.


    Ray points out that, “Lightning Labels always follows through with what they promise regarding turnaround and quality of labels. They’re a class act. We tend to go to Lightning Labels for small-to-medium quantity custom jobs. We project that the relationship will grow as we grow.”



    About Polar Bottle

    Robert Heiberger and Judy Amabile founded Product Architects, Inc. (Polar Bottle®) in 1994 in a garage in Boulder, Colorado. As avid cyclists and budding entrepreneurs, they wanted to develop a bottle unlike anything else on the market that would keep liquids cool during long rides. Robert, a mechanical engineer with experience working with heat loss in the field of medical technology design, adapted his expertise to create the insulated Polar Bottle water bottle. From there, he and Judy began making the reusable insulated water bottles by hand with plastics sourced from Denver. Today, Polar Bottle has more than 50 employees and markets to a worldwide marketplace.

    The company is proud of producing an American-made product that reduces environmental impact and supports local and national economies by providing employment to local workers. Products are assembled in, and shipped from, a warehouse in Boulder with parts sourced from the US.


    About Lightning Labels

    Lightning Labels uses state-of-the-art printing technology to provide affordable, full-color custom labels and custom stickers of all shapes and sizes. From small orders for individuals to the bulk needs of big businesses, Lightning Labels is equipped to handle and fulfill custom label and sticker projects of all types. Best of all, like the name implies, Lightning Labels provides a quick turnaround for every customer's labeling needs. Whether it’s wine labels, food labels, bath and body labels, promotional labels—or any kind of colorful label/sticker that needs to be custom printed—Lightning Labels can get the job done.

    Lightning Labels strongly supports the use of environmentally-friendly printing materials and technologies.

    To learn more about Lightning Labels, visit www.lightninglabels.com, email info@lightninglabels.com, or call 1.800.544.6323 toll-free

  • January is National Hobby Month

    January is National Hobby Month

    Get Moving on those Hobbies

    Hobbies are a wonderful way to pass the time, and individuals from around the country have an eclectic range of proclivities when it comes to keeping busy in their spare time. In many instances, individuals with hobbies will reach a point at which they have too many of the goods in their house, and have honed their skills to the point of feeling comfortable enough to try and sell them on the Web or at craft shows.

    Whether you're making soap or candles, craft beer or jelly preserves, your handiwork deserves high-quality labels and stickers. With all of the work that you've put into the handmade items, and the fact that this is likely your passion outside of normal day-to-day life, the packaging and labeling should have just as much personality. Consider using custom craft beer, soap and candle labels for your products to give them that extra flair on the shelves.

    The Benefits of Customization

    Although you might not be making your products for a specific individual or type of consumer, the fact that you are hand making all of the items within your hobby makes it abundantly clear that each one is customized. Rather than using a cut-and-dried label that will be highly standardized and likely take away from the general feel and aesthetic of your hard work, you can use high-quality, custom-designed ones to echo the contents of the packaging.

    Let's say you're a craft beer aficionado, and do a few brews each year. Think about how much time it takes to get that job done, and even though you're enjoying the process, that does not mean it didn't take hard work to arrive at the finished product. Additionally, many individuals will be driven to a certain beer by the label. You can use custom craft beer labels to give them that professional, micro-brewed image individuals love today.

    Reliable Service is a Must

    With this being your hobby, chances are you won't want to have to worry about staying on the phone with your labeling and sticker provider all day to get the design and order right. Instead, consider leveraging the services of Lightning Labels, an industry-leading provider of custom stickers, decals, labels and more that will be delivered on time and accurately printed every time.

  • The Value of Custom Political Campaign Stickers

    The Value of Custom Political Campaign Stickers

    Custom Campaign Stickers Help You Stand Out

    The past few months have shown just how competitive the political landscape has become, with individuals on the federal level beginning their campaigns more than 18 months ahead of the November 2016 elections. State and municipal politicians are likely readying their campaigns to kick off the new year, and one of the more difficult challenges involved is differentiating one candidate from another given the sheer volume of those electioneering.

    However, custom campaign stickers can help to put a more unique spin on your image and voice, pointing voters who were otherwise on the fence in your direction. Similar to corporate brand marketing, politicians need to focus on their messages and stature to be successful in campaigns, and political stickers are a somewhat traditional method of doing so. Customization and personalization of these items can be invaluable in the highly competitive political landscape of the modern era.

    Democratic Stickers

    If you are campaigning on the left, you will want to build out your marketing programs to not only reflect your placement in the Democratic Party, but also separate yourself so as to garner a bigger following. This would be virtually impossible with cut-and-paste, standardized campaign content, but is very achievable when custom Democratic stickers are involved.

    With this approach, design and content can clearly indicate that you are a Democratic candidate with the colors used and verbiage, but you will also be able to convey your unique visions of the political position in the future. At the end of the day, the best-designed stickers will land on the most bumpers, so putting a strong effort into the conception of these marketing tools is well worth the trouble.

    Republican Stickers

    Similarly to Democratic candidates, Republicans must ensure that they are riding the positive tide created by their party on the national level, but still make it clear that they are fighting for local voters' interests. Custom Republican stickers are a great way to do so, especially when the design has been well-thought out by marketing teams and campaign strategists.

    Because the election season is heating up, you would be wise to begin work on these projects as soon as possible. Working with a reliable service provider such as Lightning Labels will ensure that the stickers are printed and distributed in time for the campaign launch.

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