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    Custom Spirit Sheets Soar at Sterling High School

    CHALLENGE

    Sterling High School in Sterling, Colorado sought to enhance fundraising and more strongly brand its sports teams in the community. They wanted to emulate the success they’ve had with their baseball team statewide over the years, and custom spirit sheets (a/k/a removable branded sticker sheets) were chosen to fill the bill. They used them for the first time starting March 2017.

    SOLUTION – CUSTOM SPIRIT SHEETS

    The customized spirit sheets promoted the Sterling Tigers baseball team, and then some. Notes Athletic Director and baseball team Head Coach Jeff Squier, “We achieved our fundraising objective with the spirit sheets. I think if I used this as our main fundraiser, it would be a big-time success. This happened to be our second fundraiser for kids who didn’t meet their goal with our other fundraiser. The quality of the product is great. There was a lot of positive feedback about the quality of the color and the number of different things you can put the stickers on.” Jeff adds, “As athletic director and head baseball coach as well as the husband to a college volleyball coach, I will continue to use the spirit sheets. I'd like to expand this to our other programs in the school and help us get our schedules out on the windows/doors of our community.”

    OUTCOMES

    Jeff says he believes that continuing the spirit sheet program in Sterling will lead to growing expectations in the community each year. “If we can build that relationship with them, the people of Sterling will want to see them right away” as the season approaches.

    Jeff emphasizes that ultimately the spirit sheets can become a mainstay of Sterling high school sports, and establish a firm fundraising footing for years to come.

    As far as his experience with Lightning Labels, Jeff also felt positive. “The support I received through the entire process was really nice. I got answers to questions either right away or they got back to me once they had an answer,” he points out. He adds that on-time delivery, good pricing, and high quality rounded out the positive experience.

     

    SterlingCaseStudy

    About Sterling High School

    Sterling High School in Sterling, CO is nationally recognized in the 2016 US News & World Report ranking, earning a bronze medal. Schools are ranked based on their performance on state-required tests and how well they prepare students for college.

    At Sterling High School, students have the opportunity to take Advanced Placement® course work and exams. The AP® participation rate at Sterling High School is 29 percent. The student body makeup is 51 percent male and 49 percent female, and the total minority enrollment is 31 percent. Sterling High School is 1 of 2 high schools in the School District No. Re-1, Valley.

    SterlingCaseStudy

    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 http://lightninglabels.com, email info@lightninglabels.com, or call 1.800.544.6323 toll-free

    To learn more about Sterling High School, visit https://www.re1valleyschools.org/Domain/14, or call 970-522-2944

  • From Afghanistan to D.C., Custom Coffee Labels Keep Compass Coffee Pointed in the Right Direction

    Michael Haft and Harrison Suarez became friends and coffee drinkers while at Basic School in Quantico, VA. The two young Marine lieutenants wound up commanding platoons in Afghanistan, where coffee became an important ritual and reminder of home.

    So, it’s no wonder that the duo started Compass Coffee in Washington, D.C. upon returning stateside. Featuring nine light to dark roast blends from primary growing regions of East Asia, Africa and the Americas, Compass is packaged in recyclable and refillable 12-ounce tins “which look great on the shelf at our local Whole Foods,” notes Michael.

    With four locations in the D.C. area, Compass is growing chiefly because of positive word-of-mouth, based no doubt on high quality and good taste of its signature blends.

    Michael enjoys sharing the Compass Coffee experience beyond the walls of the stores. He points out that “kids at the elementary school around the corner from our roaster use recycled tins of coffee to build pyramids, make little planters, even create vegetable gardens. It’s just fun seeing how excited they are about the tin. When you’re five years old and already have all the energy in the world, reusing packaging to build your recycled empire is what really matters.”

    He also takes pride in helping others in the military get a sense of home by shipping coffee to such places as Diego Garcia, a distant refueling station in the Indian Ocean, and Afghanistan battlefields.

    Relationship with Lightning Labels, the Beverage Specialist

    Lightning Labels is doing its part to help keep Compass pointing in the right direction by providing custom coffee labels for their products. Notes Michael, “Lightning Labels has been a great partner. They are high quality and fast, and our sales rep, Mary, always goes out of her way to keep our customers happy! Lightning Labels has done an incredible job making sure that our unusual requests are handled in a timely and sensitive manner. They’ve truly gone above and beyond supporting Compass as we work to keep our customers happy.”

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  • Which Lamination is Best for My Product Labels?

    Picking a Suitable Lamination Type

    The appearance of a label comes down to more than just the information printed on it. Product labels are defined by the materials they're printed on - and the lamination types applied to them. When you're planning your company's next order of custom labels, you should consider the method of lamination, as it can help you present a unified look and feel.

    Consider Your Options

    When you work with Lightning Labels, you have four different laminate options. Each is especially suitable for certain kinds of labels, and picking one over the other can elevate the quality of your product labels. The following are a few of the traits that each of these different lamination styles brings to the table:

    High Gloss: High gloss labels receive the closest thing Lightning Labels offers to a "standard" laminate. It's popular, flexible, and costs the least of any option. It protects your labels to ensure they survive the manufacturing and selling processes, and gives a shiny, glossy sheen that makes products attractive on store shelves.

    Matte: Instead of the shininess of high gloss, matte labels have a different feel. If you're going for a highly modern or more "natural" look for your product labels, this may suit your design better.

    Thermal Transfer: If you use an over-printing thermal transfer printer, this is the laminate for you. While it's designed to work with most of these printers, you should order a sample first to ensure it suits your needs.

    UV Outdoor Gloss: This laminate is the toughest option we at Lightning Labels offer. When combined with a vinyl label material, it makes sure your products will be safe and sound in the great outdoors. The UV resistance that gives the finish its name is designed to ensure the sun doesn't wither your products' labels.

    A Label for Every Occasion

    The mix-and match quality of materials and laminates at Lightning Labels ensures your products will always have the look they need. From cast gloss labels for the wine industry, which combine a paper base with a high-gloss finish, to Recycled Kraft Labels that aren't laminated at all, there is a combination to suit every brand. Lightning Labels is committed to delivering these customized labels in a quick and efficient manner, printing at domestic facilities instead of outsourcing and using all-digital processes to keep minimum orders low. You can give your products the labels they need in a hurry, to ensure that they look great on store shelves, with consistent branding topped by the right laminate.

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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.

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  • Check Out Lightning Labels' 6th Annual Photo Contest!

    Impressive Label Designs and Great Photos

    For the past five years, Lightning Labels has held an annual photo contest, showing off its customers' creative label designs in their natural habitat. Between now and July 1, Lightning Labels will be accepting applications for the sixth iteration of the contest. If your products use Lightning Labels, you can enter via Facebook — the entry form is here.

    This is an especially important year to hold a custom label and sticker contest, as it's Lightning Labels' 15th anniversary. No company makes it to the decade-and-a-half mark without a great customer base, and this is no exception. The label contest isn't just about Lightning Labels itself — it's a celebration of all the creative ideas that have come to life through custom labels and stickers in the past year.

    Chasing Big Prizes

    There's more than just pride on the line when it comes to this year's label contest. The first prize winner will walk away with a 60-inch flatscreen HDTV, while second prize is an Apple iPad and third prize is a pair of wireless Beats headphones. Fourth- and fifth-place winners will earn free labels, to help them keep their award-winning labeling campaigns rolling into the months ahead.

    Taking home these big rewards takes two elements - a good-looking label and a well-constructed photograph. Business owners can step up and show off how they've taken advantage of Lightning Labels' ability to print just about any kind of design, harnessing a wide variety of materials and finishes to make a company's unique value proposition come to the fore.

    Lightning Labels' offerings run the gamut, from 100 percent recycled labels that show a brand's commitment to the environment to chrome BOPP polymer labels that give a shimmering, classy look. There's no one perfect product label. Each company will have its own best option, and Lightning Labels helps these businesses reach their disparate goals.

    Reflecting and Looking Forward

    Every year, a new crop of incredible label designs graces the Lightning Labels photo contest. For an organization with 15 years of history, this is a heartening sign that customers are always finding new ways to make its offerings work for them.

    With all-digital printing processes that make orders of any size possible and affordable, Lightning Labels is ideally suited to follow its clients into the future, no matter where they go from here. If you're not a customer yet, look at the entries to the label contest and imagine how great your branding could look with Lightning Labels' help.

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  • Make Your Logo or Message Stand Out with Custom Laser Cut Labels

    Make Your Designs Really Stand Out

    A compelling product label isn't just defined by what's printed on it. Other elements, such as the material and finish employed for that label, can determine whether it creates an interesting and consistent feeling or not. Another trait may be even more overlooked: shape. When you work with a brand that offers custom laser-cut labels, you gain the ability to increase the focus on your distinctive brand logo, no matter what it may consist of. Laser cutting can also deliver custom logo stickers to hand out to your customers.

    The following are a few valuable use cases for each kind of laser-cut logo design. Labels for your packages and stickers for your customers are both great potential applications for any company with a distinctive visual sense and an interest in making its trademark imagery really pop.

    Custom Laser Cut Labels

    Bottles, bags, boxes, no matter what kind of packaging your product comes in, you can spice up the look of those containers with laser-cut labels. While labels that wrap all the way around an item could be better in some situations - as when there is a large amount of regulation-mandated information to impart - custom logo labels are an exciting way to make goods look professional and compelling.

    A container adorned with a small label laser-cut to the shape of the brand's logo can show off the color and shape of the bottle, jar or bag. Furthermore, small companies that go for laser-cut labels can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with large brands. Making such a sophisticated packaging choice could inspire confidence in your brand among consumers, who may take the well-delivered imagery as an indication of your items' quality.

    Custom Laser Cut Stickers

    There's no need to always stick your label on packages of products. Custom logo stickers can go on everything. You can opt for window stickers, bumper stickers or small stickers to hand out with a purchase. It may even pay to distribute these stickers at third-party events such as local fairs or other get-togethers to get your logo in front of as many people as possible. As with the labeling of your products, opting for a custom shape instead of a basic square or rectangle can add visual interest. Logo stickers are also perfect for businesses that don't produce packaged goods. For instance, sports teams can raise their profile in their local markets through local stickers, shops that perform repairs can hand out their logo to happy customers and nonprofits can pass these items out to people who make donations.

    Time to Order

    Once the urge to change up your brand's visual presentation strikes, there's no need to wait around. No matter what shape or color your brand's logo is, Lightning Labels can quickly translate it into laser-cut labels that show off its uniqueness as a way to appeal to customers. Whether you opt for labels on your products or stickers to be handed out independent of your items, showing off your logo is a professional and interesting way to catch eyes. When you're trying to get a company off the ground, such branding is of immense value.

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  • How Custom Cannabis Product Labels Help Sell Cannabis Products

    A Promising New Market

    The slow rollout of legal recreational cannabis sales across individual states and Canadian provinces represents an opportunity for companies. If you're planning on wading into this market, you should take two steps: compliance and branding.

    There's a need to get in line with all relevant laws and ensure your firm isn't undone by regulatory action. This process goes hand in hand with your selection of bold and exciting branding that will encourage shoppers to pick your brand in this new market. The recreational cannabis market comes with no history to speak of, meaning you can carve out a new niche for your items - your cannabis product labels have a big role to play in this process.

    Time to Design

    "Brands must know what their prospective customers are looking for."

    When there's a whole new field to operate in, it's important to stake your place with a memorable look. The Spokane Spokesman-Review, spotlighted the efforts of local designers to create looks that suit cannabis brands. Propaganda Creative's Jason Clerget told the newspaper that the current anything-goes mentality from developing brands is a "designer's dream" with plenty of room to work on new strategies.

    Clerget added that some companies are going for irreverent imagery to play up the outsider appeal of their products. Others are better off with clean and modern-looking custom cannabis labels. As with any industry, brands in this expanding field must know what their prospective customers are looking for. From one region to another, the default legal cannabis customer profile may vary widely.

    Each state will have its own restrictions on what must be on custom cannabis product labels - and what cannot be printed there. However, knowing the rules is a fairly simple item for designers to check off as they make their way to finalizing a look. Clerget noted that his studio "quickly became well-versed" in the Washington regulations. The main challenge regarding cannabis's legal situation will likely involve staying aware of any

    Medical Consideration

    "There are a web of changing regulations about medical marijuana labels."

    While operating in the medicinal space requires a different approach than working with recreational products, there are a few common requirements. For instance, there are a web of changing regulations about what can and cannot be printed on medical marijuana labels. Occupational Health and Safety reported that the California Department of Public Health is taking public comments on the labeling of medical products.

    The proposals include the creation of an ingredient listing on cannabis edibles and health claim prohibitions like those seen on some nutritional supplements. Furthermore, there may soon be a cannabis symbol that instantly identified a medical marijuana item. Remaining aware of these changing regulations will be important for any company in the field.

    Custom Cannabis Product Labels Needed

    If you're getting ready to launch a legal cannabis product, Lightning Labels is a top partner to turn to. With a variety of labeling materials and finishes to suit any branding style, Lightning can also deliver low minimum orders and quick turnaround due to its all-digital processes. When you can get a reasonably sized order of cannabis product labels in a hurry, you an keep up with changing rules with no excess waste.

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  • Customize Bike and Motorcycle Helmets with Custom Helmet Stickers

    National Bike Month is a Great Time to Think About Custom Helmet Stickers

    There's no wrong time to think about creating custom stickers or labels for bike and motorcycle helmets. Indeed, this protective equipment is essential for any rider to remember at any time of the year. However, May has a special place on the calendar: It's National Bike Month. If you sell or manufacture bike helmets or other accessories, you can take this moment to refresh your branding, release decals for helmets or even create bumper stickers for consumers that spread awareness of bike safety.

    The possibilities are endless, and with Lightning Labels on your side, you can commit to custom helmet stickers and labels in a remarkably short time. It pays to get your new initiative off the ground while the spring and summer are still dawning and people are uncovering their bikes and motorcycles for the season.

    Custom Helmet Stickers for Looks

    While helmets for bike and motorcycle riders are primarily for the safety of their wearers, they can also look good. Helmet stickers sold at retail or included with the items themselves allow people to put their own personality on display and show off their hobbies, interests and uniqueness. Companies at all levels of the bike industry can get in on creating these stickers, from manufacturers to specialty retailers and stores that sell or service bikes in addition to other products. Stickers for helmets can cover any number of topics. Shops can produce stickers with their own logos to encourage loyalty and attract new customers. There is also room to invoke local pride, with riders eager to wear the emblems of the places they come from. Motorcycle helmet stickers may be a particularly fertile field. Motorcyclists can cover a lot more ground than bike riders and may be especially keen to salute their regional identity with a customized helmet.

    Custom Helmet Labels for Safety Instead of simply using stickers to improve the look of a bike helmet, you can use custom helmet labels applied to the equipment itself or outer packaging to trumpet the health benefits of protecting one's head while riding. You can even tailor the messages on these labels to act as reminders of the laws in various parts of the country. Whether because of legal requirements or the simple need to protect themselves in the event of an accident, everyone on a bike should be in line for a helmet.

    Now is the Right Time

    With National Bike Month underway, it's clearly a great time to commit to a new set of stickers or labels, whether to promote safety or help riders show off their individuality. Working with Lightning Labels can help you make these plans into reality, as all-digital printing processes ensure short turnaround times and enable you to work with a wide variety of different materials that will suit your project's needs.

    As it gets warmer outside, people who had stored their bikes away are getting them out again for another year. This is your target audience for your safety products, labeled and stickered for safety and looks alike.

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  • It's Wedding Season! Personalize Wedding Favors with Custom Labels

    Add Flair to the Ceremony by Customizing Labels On Wedding Favors

    As spring gives way to summer, this year's wedding season is officially underway. Every ceremony is unique, representing the unique interests of the individuals tying the knot. On top of their importance to the couples getting married, weddings are also memorable events for everyone who attends. These events bring family and friends together to share the joy and celebration.

    If you're planning a wedding, you're likely looking for little elements that will help the day stand out. If so, graphic design innovations for personalized wedding favors such as custom bottle labels for water or champagne could be the right choice. These act as a way to tie the celebratory aesthetic together and create a visually memorable reception that establishes a specific tone.

    Water or Champagne

    Handing out water bottles is a common way to keep guests hydrated at a reception, and if you employ personalized water bottles at your wedding, you can turn this simple item into a part of the overall aesthetic. Whatever the theme is, there's a label style that ties in. Metallic materials can create a tasteful look, perhaps evoking old Hollywood. Rougher and more rustic finishes could show off a "real-ness" and down-to-earth spirit.

    Wedding favors customized for the event - with the name of the happy couple emblazoned on them - are great to hand out to guests. Bottled water labels turn an average item into such a memento. Water bottles are immediately useful at dinner or after dancing, and they can go home with the guests in case they want a little physical reminder of the wonderful evening.

    Champagne bottle labels are another example of a personalized wedding favor, perhaps a more elegant and sophisticated take on the custom party favor. At a big enough wedding, there could be enough champagne served at the reception to make custom labeling possible. You can also hand out custom bottles of champagne that are intended to go home with guests instead of being served on the spot.

    Giving a toast from a custom labeled bottle of champagne adds one more fancy touch to a wedding reception. As with custom water bottle labels, this ties the whole aesthetic together. If you go with both water bottles and champagne with custom labels, they will match one another and the rest of the decorations.

    Working with Lightning Labels

    At first, it may seem impossible to go with a high-quality, commercial-grade labeling partner for your wedding favors. Won't the minimum order sizes or prices be too high? With Lightning Labels, those concerns dissolve. Lightning Labels uses all-digital processes that enable affordable purchasing of smaller orders and keep costs low despite impressive resolution and a variety of possible material and finish choices.

    Getting exactly the look that suits the rest of your wedding decorations is a reasonable goal when you can pick from the many visual options on offer from Lightning Labels. The same company that has spent 15 years presenting companies' products in the best possible light can add a classy and sophisticated aesthetic cohesion to your wedding ceremony and reception, all for a cost that won't break your budget.

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  • Food Safety Product Labeling Must Have Allergens in Mind

    Careful Food Safety Product Labeling a Must

    When you're launching a new food or beverage product, listing possible allergens is one of the most important steps on your to-do list. Unless you take this process extremely seriously, you may be forced to issue a costly recall. Producers of food and beverage products can ill afford to make a mistake or oversight in their lists of potential allergens. This is what makes food safety product labeling an absolute must for food and beverage producers.

    Relevant Rules

    A recent JD Supra article by product liability advocacy law firm Wilson Elser offered a reminder that not only are allergen mislabeling problems serious for companies, they're happening at a worrying rate. For instance, there were 650 food recalls carried out in 2016. That's way up from the 154 that occurred 10 years earlier. Most of the allergen issues are clustered around the eight major allergens that must be labeled per Food and Drug Administration rules: milk, fish, eggs, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat and soybeans.

    Wilson Elser added that food producers' diligence goes beyond checking foods themselves for the relevant allergens - if there is any possibility of cross-contamination with relevant items, that is cause for labeling attention as well. Whether labeling takes place at the production, manufacturing or distribution stage of the supply chain, this is one responsibility that's impossible to set aside. Considering the seriousness of allergic reactions, customers' health could be at risk.

    Diligence in Action

    Packaging safety consultant Gary Kestenbaum, writing for Packaging Digest, noted that many recall apologies from brands explain that the company allocated its resources to areas other than labeling and notification, thus leading to the problems. The author suggested that companies reject this philosophy and have full-scale identification efforts to ensure allergen listings - all other relevant parts of food packaging - are accurate. He explained that while it may seem excessive to add extra steps to production, the savings from avoiding recalls can be considerable.

    While your company may be too small to implement the kind of extensive, multi-individual chain of responsibility recommended by Kestenbaum, his point is well taken: When businesses not only focus on their packaging but have multiple rounds of checking and verification to ensure they haven't missed anything, their food products stand a better chance of going out to store shelves wholly accurate, removing the need for a costly recall down the line.

    Recent Recalls

    There's no need to speak in generalities about the risk of recalls due to inadequate allergen labeling - it happens all the time. For instance, the Department of Agriculture recently reported a recall of 150 pounds of ready-to-eat couscous due to the undeclared presence of pecans. Pecans are a tree nut, one of the aforementioned allergens that producers need to declare in all cases.

    In another recent USDA action, the agency noted 30,537 pounds of frozen burritos were subject to recall. The issue was twofold for the burritos, as they contain egg and soy, neither of which was declared on the packaging. While the couscous problem was noticed by the supermarket distributing the items, the presence of egg and soy in the burritos was flagged as part of a customer complaint. There are numerous ways for labeling inadequacies to come to light, from inspections to input from the public.

    Getting Food Safety Product Labels

    When it's time to print a new batch of food labels for one of your products, there's no need to skimp on quality. After all, you've worked hard to ensure they are completely accurate and reflect the contents of your items. All that effort will go to waste if low printing quality renders the labels unappealing visually. Working with an experienced printer such as Lightning Labels is one way to give your food products a look that can stand out on the shelves while still giving adequate space to ingredients listings and all other relevant info.

    Since Lightning Labels uses all-digital printing processes and works from domestic facilities instead of outsourcing, your labels will arrive in a matter of days, rather than weeks or months. This can be a remarkably helpful factor, ensuring that the printing step doesn't slow down the overall process of getting labels for a new product. Of course, an item's debut isn't the only good time to call on Lightning Labels - you can also commit to a redesign to suit a new season or simply to breathe new life into your branding.

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