This is a very complex question and the answer is long enough to justify its own page — see Digital Advantage
. Basically, if you need relatively small quantities, have multiple designs, or want to manage your cash flow while getting the best quality possible, digital printing is the answer.
Four color process describes the printing process used today to print the full color you see in magazines, newspapers, brochures and labels. Basically, a color image is separated into the four primary colors: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black (known as CMYK) by the use of filters and screens. The result is a color separation of four images that, when printed, make up the full color image.
Lightning Labels is an all-digital label print shop. This means there are no plates involved in our printing process. Instead of using plates to transfer the image onto the paper, our press uses advanced laser technology to transfer the images directly onto the material.
Keep in mind that we do not carry "pre-cut" labels — everything we print is custom produced and die-cut after it is printed. We have a large and ever-expanding selection of die sizes. They are viewable via our Online Quoter
. Just select the shape you want, then drop down the "Select Size" menu to see all sizes for that shape. Since we are adding dies all the time, we will most likely have a size in a shape that is very close to what you want. If not, please call us for a quote on a custom die.
We carry over a dozen labeling materials for you to choose from, including several eco-friendly materials such as the fully-compostable BioStone. Our most popular material is White BOPP (a polypropylene label stock that is waterproof and impervious to oils). We also carry Clear, Chrome, Removable, and Ultra Removable versions of BOPP. See our Instant Quoter
for an explanation of all available materials.
We ship most sticker and label printing jobs in just 2-3 days following proof approval. We ship exclusively via UPS.
Not currently. Our HP-Indigo press uses a "four color process" (CMYK) build. While we cannot print an actual PMS spot color, we can print a close approximation of it. Keep in mind that we offer free "press proofs" so that you can easily see what your final results will look like before committing to a full order.jobs in just 2-3 days following proof approval. We ship exclusively via UPS.
This is one of the beauties of digital printing — we have two options for proofing. If your job is color-critical, or you’d like to see the "real thing" before committing to a production run, we offer a set of free press proofs before starting production. Subsequent sets are available for an extra fee. What this means is that we print your artwork on the actual press, using the same material that your finished labels will be printed on. You can even peel the backing paper away from your proofs and apply them to your products for a final "look and feel" check. Unlike traditional flexo printing, we can do this because there are no plates and setup involved — we simply submit your artwork files to the press and the rest is "magic". However, if you’re in a hurry, we also offer PDF proofs — which are emailed to you for approval so you can confirm we’re printing the right files.
50 labels for each version of artwork. However, you can mix and match quantities in the same order (e.g., 50 of label A and 150 of label B), while still gaining the benefits of ganging multiple designs in the same run.
We are unable to print metallic inks; however, we can often achieve a similar effect by combining the right colors with the right materials. For example, many customers have discovered that using yellow ink on our Chrome BOPP material produces a close approximation of gold ink.
By default, our labels are produced on rolls with standard 3" cores. This lets you choose whether or not to apply your labels by machine or by hand. We also have the ability to produce labels on sheets.
Unwind directions dictate how the rolls of labels are produced so that the labels are facing in the right direction on the roll at the time of application. It is usually only important to specify an unwind direction when the labels are going to be machine-applied to end products, and it ensures that the applicator is receiving and dispensing the labels in the right direction on the containers (e.g., bottles or jars) they're being applied to. If you're intending to hand-apply each label, unwind direction usually is not important. See this chart
for more details.
Feel free to download and print our white paper, "An Introduction to Product Labeling".
It should answer many of your questions.