Contemplating A Life Without Labels

History of Product LabelsAn America Without Product Labels

Can you imagine what the browsing and purchasing process would be like in the United States if product weren’t labeled? To experience such an existence firsthand, you would have to travel back in time to the 1800s.

As print and design blog Impressions explained, labels made their American debut in the 19th century as a tool that served two purposes: identifying different types of pharmaceutical drugs and instructing patients how and when to take them. However, it wasn’t until the mid-1800s that printers began to change their focus from simply creating labels that imparted important information to doing this in a way that set their labels apart from the rest. They began to develop label books that offered examples of different printing, engraving and color options. If you’ve ordered stickers and labels from Lightning Labels, you’ll know that we still use an approach like this today – although, of course, the printing options we provide are much more sophisticated thanks to the numerous technological innovations that have taken place over the past century and a half.

The way labels adhere to products has also undergone an evolution over the years. Initially, according to Impressions, gum was used to stick them to pill bottles and vials. In the 1930s, R. Stanton Avery, a Los Angeles entrepreneur, invented self-adhesive labels that proved to be a game-changer for the business. The next red-letter decade for the label industry was the 1980s, when barcodes began to take off, revolutionizing the everyday shopping experience.

Nowadays, virtually every product has a label of some kind. In the preceding paragraphs, we answered the question of how we got here from the world without labels that existed two centuries ago. The next question is why – why did labels not only grow in popularity over the course of the past 200 years, but become practically ubiquitous? The answer lies in their multiple uses and purposes.

Delivering Information

In the 1800s, pharmacists applied labels to containers with the intention of making it easier to distinguish between different drugs, and to ensure patients knew what to do with their prescriptions (shake liquid medicine, ingest pills with food, take their medication twice a day, etc.). The pharmacists of today – along with members of many other industries – still use labels for this purpose. Some of the information included on today’s labels includes the name of the brand and the company behind it, ingredients and nutritional information, warnings (regarding side effects and toxicity, for instance) and details that might make the product more enticing to customers (“fat-free,” “all-natural,” “vegan-friendly”).

Meeting Diverse Needs

Since the printers of the mid-1800s first began promoting different options, label design has taken off in a big way. Just look at Lightning Labels’ offerings as an example. We can manufacture vertical labels for wine bottles, horizontal labels for tubs of nutraceuticals, heat-proof labels for candles, waterproof labels for bath products and more. We even have a special material that has been formulated to meet the unique requirements of labels affixed to tubes of lip balm.

Attracting Attention

When consumers are standing in front of an entire shelf filled with the same product, how are they expected to choose one brand over another? Labels are the answer. If they’re fond of a particular brand, they can easily identify it by its label. If they’re looking for something organic, free range or low-fat, they’ll be drawn to the labels that tell them which products have these attributes. If they’re ambivalent about which brand to choose, a bright, eye-catching, well-designed label may well pique their interest and seal the deal.

Whatever your motivation for procuring labels, Lightning Labels’ state-of-the-art printing technology can provide you with affordable, full-color custom labels and stickers of all shapes and sizes.

Prepare for Mother’s Day with Custom Labels for Candles, Cosmetics and Beauty Products

Happy Mother's DayAre Your Product Labels Ready for Mother’s Day?

Mother’s Day is less than a month away, so if you sell candles, cosmetics and beauty items, now is the time to kick off the process of decking out your product labels ahead of the big day.

More often than not, moms are the glue holding households together. They ferry their kids to school, play dates and sports games, hold down the fort at home and, as if this weren’t a full-time job in its own right, many even have their own careers on top of all that. There’s no doubt about it – moms are busy people. So, when Mother’s Day rolls around this May 10, the best gift families can give their matriarchs is relaxation.

Optimizing Your Custom Labels

If relaxation is the name of your marketing game for the second Sunday in May, be sure to integrate soothing colors into your custom labels. You can’t go wrong with pastel shades, especially soothing blues, tranquil greens, glowing pinks and sumptuous purples.

Did you know that purple is a traditionally regal color? Around this time of year, shoppers are looking for items to make their moms feel like queens, so a little purple can go a long way. For a splash of decadence, try using gold trim or silver highlights – but don’t go overboard, or else you may cross the line from tasteful and elegant to gaudy and over the top.

Bath Product and Candle Labels Should Hold Up Under Pressure – Just Like Mom

Keeping candles and bath products near the sink or the tub sounds great in terms of easy access, but as any mom knows, sometimes accidents can happen. A splash of water, an unplanned dunk, contact with bath oils or the extreme heat generated by hot wax shouldn’t ruin bath product or candle labels. That being said, if the wrong material is used, your carefully designed labels may very well get ruined. Don’t take the risk – make sure your labels are water- and heat-resistant by ordering them from Lightning Labels.

In addition to ensuring safety, Lightning Labels also offers high-quality, professional-looking custom stickers and labels than can stand up to major national brands’ packaging at a fraction of the cost. Catch consumers’ attention in the weeks leading up to Mother’s Day without breaking the bank!

Stand Up to April Showers with Weather-Resistant Labels

Weather-Resistant LabelsDon’t Forget Waterproof Packaging When Designing and Ordering Labels

You might think that once you’ve locked down the information you want to include on a label and the format in which this will be presented, you’re good to go – but if you forget to consider the importance of waterproof packaging, you could be in for a soggy, unpleasant surprise down the road.

Especially at this time of year, the weather can be unpredictable, with the sun shining one day and the rain pouring down the next. After all, they’re not called “April showers” for nothing. Failing to take this aspect into account when designing labels could lead to quality issues that don’t exactly cast your company in a great light. Avoid inadvertently cultivating a reputation of being that enterprise with the delicate labels by making robust packaging choices.

Why Use Weather-Proof Labels?

Beyond the ability to stand up to April showers, weather-resistant labels are generally more durable, which widens the scope when it comes to storage options and use scenarios. When consumers see that a label is weather-resistant, they don’t only associate this moniker with the idea that the packaging will stand up to hot sun and pouring rain. Rather, they assume it will hold its own in a range of less than optimal conditions, whether these are directly caused by the weather or not. Consider water bottle labels as an example. You don’t see many paper water bottle labels in this day and age, and that’s for a good reason: Manufacturers understand that bottles get jammed into bags, held by sweaty hands, stored in cold places and more – in short, they need to be durable, which means standing up to heat, cold and moisture as well as being hard to tear or rip.

What to Expect From Lightning Labels’ Weather-Resistant Stickers

At Lightning Labels, we’ve made enough labels over the years to understand and accommodate the special requirement of weather-proofing. Our standard White BOPP polypropylene sticker is waterproof and durable, able to withstand everyday exposure to everything from torrents of rainwater to intense sunbeams. In other words, they’re not so much weather-proofed as April-proofed! Whatever this month brings in terms of weather, you can be confident that our labels will be up to the task of handling any conditions that come their way.

Earth Day is Coming – Do You Use Sustainable Stickers and Labels?

Sustainable Stickers and LabelsCelebrate Earth Day With Recyclable Stickers

Every year on April 22, people across the globe acknowledge Earth Day in a variety of ways, from planting trees to making sure the recyclable stickers affixed to the products they buy actually get recycled.

United States Senator Gaylord Nelson founded Earth Day in 1970 with the goal of making environmental protection part of the national political agenda. As a result, the United States Environmental Protection Agency was created and two pivotal laws were passed: the Clean Air, Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act. Over the past four decades, the movement has grown and evolved, spreading across the globe and taking new forms every year. In fact, according to EarthDay.org, it is the largest civic event in the world with more than 1 billion participants.

Do Your Part With Sustainable Packaging

You don’t have to be a senator to drive environmental change – in fact, you’d be surprised by the size of the impact that switching to sustainable packaging can have, even for a small company. Think about it: Every item you sell is branded with a label, sticker or some other kind of packaging, and all those materials can quickly pile up. Of course, you want your custom labels and stickers to be high-quality, professional-looking and durable for the duration of your products’ life span, but what about after that?

Why Use Recycled Labels?

The benefits of recycled labels go beyond helping to conserve the Earth’s resources. Today’s consumers are becoming more and more environmentally conscious, so letting them know that sustainability is important to your company might attract green-minded shoppers to your brand.

“Consumers around the world are saying loud and clear that a brand’s social purpose is among the factors that influence purchase decisions,” Amy Fenton, global leader of public development and sustainability at Nielsen, asserted in a statement. “This behavior is on the rise and it provides opportunities for meaningful impact in our communities, in addition to helping to grow share for brands.”

Indeed the Nielsen Global Survey on Corporate Social Responsibility released last June revealed that more than half (55 percent) of online consumers are willing to pay more for goods if the companies from which they’re purchasing are committed to making a positive social and environmental impact.

Promote Community Gardens with Custom Labels and Stickers

Liquor Labeling TrendsGet the Word Out About Community Gardens Using Custom Stickers

Community gardens are advantageous to neighborhoods in a whole host of ways, so why not promote them with custom stickers?

According to the website for President Barack Obama’s nationwide service initiative United We Serve, the benefits of community gardens are numerous, and include:

  • Providing a place for families and individuals without gardens of their own to grow plants, flowers and produce.
  • Facilitating local access to fresh and nutritionally rich foods.
  • Offering members a chance to give back to their communities by donating what they grow to soup kitchens and food banks.
  • Giving green-thumbed individuals the opportunity to share their knowledge and bond with their neighbors.
  • Partnering with schools and after-school organizations to teach children about gardening and nutrition.

Event Promotion Can Help Take Community Gardens to the Next Level

Event promotion can be a great way to raise awareness of local initiatives, and community gardens are no exception in this regard. The events in question can be anything from tours of plots to dinner parties featuring dishes made with ingredients sourced from the garden – whatever the details, using custom stickers and labels to get the word out is a surefire way of increasing turnout. The more people who know about a community garden, the more are likely to get involved, so hosting and promoting events is an important way to bolster membership and local interest.

Take Advantage of Event Stickers from Lightning Labels

At Lightning Labels, we have extensive experience printing custom stickers and labels in just about any shape, size and material you can imagine. As well as helping with promotion, we also offer event stickers that can be used during occasions themselves. Say you’re planning to sell produce grown at a community garden for a good cause – professional and high-quality labeling can go a long way. Small operations like community gardens typically don’t have high budgets, which is where Lightning Labels’ custom sticker printing in small amounts comes in useful. If you only need a small number of stickers or want a selection of different designs, take advantage of our short-run roll stickers, which can be printed in small enough quantities to make them financially viable and help you avoid breaking the bank.

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.

Show Your Spring Sports Spirit with Team Stickers

Team StickersTrumpet Team Pride with Youth Sports Stickers

For kids who are participating in spring sports this year (that is, assuming the snow finally melts in certain regions of the country), showing off their baseball, soccer and lacrosse team spirit with youth sports stickers is almost as important to them as actually being on the team in the first place. Not only do they tend to emblazon their lockers, folders, cork boards and pretty much as many belongings as they can with the proud declaration that they’re part of the team, they’ll likely do their best to persuade Mom, Dad, and even aunts, uncles and cousins to display the stickers on each and every car they own.

What Makes Team Decals So Important?

Most kids – and adults, too – are eager to feel part of something bigger than themselves, and team decals are the perfect way to trumpet this sense of belonging to the world without having to say a single word. Joining spring sports teams is a great way to meet like-minded people, make new friends and get some exercise – all while developing a tight-knit, deeply exclusive community in the process. Spring sports teams come with so many positive associations, and given this, it makes sense that team members and their parents would be eager to flaunt their involvement all season long. What’s more, for parents who are watching their recreational activities budgets, team decals are a lot cheaper than matching T-shirts – and much less likely to fall victim to pasta sauce or chocolate stains.

Making Custom Decals User-Friendly is Key

Chances are that parents have had a bad experience or two related to scraping outdated decals off the surfaces upon which they were so triumphantly stuck just a few short months earlier. Luckily, Lightning Labels offers alternative materials with less aggressive adhesive. Our removable BOPP material and our ultra-removable window decal offer a superior alternative to the traditional static cling, so team decals will stay firmly attached to whatever smooth, non-porous surface they’re applied to for as long as you wish, and not a second longer. Once they’re removed, you’ll never know they were there, as they don’t ghost, stain or leave an unsightly residue.

After all, five years from now, you’re unlikely to get excited by the sight of the remnants of your kid’s sports team decal from spring 2015 on the rear window of your car. Now, however, you’re all about showing team spirit, and custom decals from Lightning Labels can help you do just that.

Get Custom Lip Balm Labels for Every Flavor

Few products are as ubiquitous as lip balm.Offer Chapped Lip Relief and Promote Your Brand with Lip Balm Labels

Few products are as ubiquitous as lip balm, and this means companies that use lip balm labels as a promotional vehicle have the opportunity to reach a wide and varied audience. Think about it: Regardless of age, gender and other demographic factors, almost everybody can say they experience the annoyance of chapped lips once in a while. So, when they reach for the lip balm in their pockets, purses or desk drawers, why not deploy some well-crafted packaging to remind them that your company is out there and ready to serve their needs – just like that lip balm?

Custom Lip Balm Labels Clearly Deliver Your Message

If you’ve ever found a tube of lip balm in a crevice of your couch, the pocket of a rarely worn jacket or the center console of your car, you know that this small but important product can turn up virtually anywhere – and this means custom lip balm labels need to be sufficiently durable to hold up to wear and tear.

When you receive your shipment of lip balm stickers and labels, you’ll be surprised by the vibrant, crisp color produced by our digital printing presses, but you’ll probably question how long this initial high-quality appearance will last. Never fear – Lightning Labels understands the importance of using printing materials that will stand up to everyday use and exposure to elements such as water, oils and sunlight. In fact, we use a unique material for lip balm labels that has been formulated to meet the special needs of these products’ packaging. Whether you select a rich, bright palate or soft, soothing colors, rest assured that our labels will preserve your company’s message.

Our Make-Up Labels Echo Our Quality Lip Balm Packaging

Of course, lip balm isn’t the only product for which Lightning Labels provides make-up labels. We have a selection of hundreds of label sizes and shapes from which to choose, and if you don’t find what you’re looking for, we also offer the ability to custom-order labels to fit your bath and body care product containers perfectly. Whether your enterprise sells soap, lotion, cosmetics or is focused on another facet of the bath and body field, our professional-quality custom labels and stickers will help your offerings stand out from those of your competitors.

If label durability is a concern of yours, allow Lightning Labels to put your worries to rest. Every month, we print hundreds of thousands of labels, many of which must be durable enough for their quality to remain uncompromised by factors like extreme heat or a plunge in the tub. See for yourself by requesting free label material samples before you commit to making an order. We’re so confident in the caliber of our products that we guarantee 100 percent satisfaction on every order, every time.

How Can Labels Convey Brand Message?

If designed effectively, branded labels should serve several purposes.Product Labels: A Central Part of Your Brand

When it comes down to it, there are two main reasons behind adding product labels to items – to help shoppers identify goods and to impart important information about ingredients. That being said, this is by no means labels’ only use. In a sense, they act as mini billboards for a brand, whether they’re wrapped around beer and wine bottles, emblazoned across nutraceutical product packaging or stuck on bars of soap.

Beginning to think of stickers and labels as a promotional tool as well as a way to get across details of what products contain can change the entire perspective of a company. If leveraged effectively, packaging can become an extension of a brand in its own right. If a company fails to acknowledge and misses the chance to reinforce its brand message, however, a powerful marketing opportunity is lost.

The Dual Purposes of Custom Labels

At their core, custom labels serve two purposes, depending on the familiarity and stature of the brand.

  • A relatively unknown enterprise that’s new, small or simply not well-known can use custom labels to make its products stand out from everything else on store shelves. Even businesses on a budget can benefit from Lightning Labels’ good-quality, high-definition, vibrant labels.
  • For a more established brand, custom labels facilitate instant recognition for customers who either already know what they’re looking for or are familiar with the company’s good reputation and decide to give its products a try.

The Power of Branded Labels

If designed effectively, branded labels should answer the following two questions:

  • What attributes distinguish the company from its competitors, i.e. why should consumers choose this particular enterprise over any of the others that are out there?
  • How are the business’ products different from – and better than – those offered by its rivals, i.e. what is their unique value and what makes them stand out from the crowd?

For instance, consider the example of an enterprise that has been around for more than a century. It makes sense for a company like this to focus its brand message around the general idea that it’s been doing what it does for years and knows its industry better than any other organization out there. In this scenario, there’s the implication that the business has gone through a process of trial and error, perfected its approach over time and, as a result, produces goods of a higher caliber than its younger and less seasoned competitors. The notion seems straightforward enough, but how can the company translate this to its labeling? Faux-parchment labels are a great way to emphasize age – and all without requiring the consumer to read a single word. That being said, of course, prominently displaying the year in which the enterprise was founded doesn’t hurt either.

Celebrate Easter with Seasonal Candy and Chocolate Labels

seasonal-candy-and-chocolate-labelsWhy Jazz Up Food Labels for Easter?

For many Americans, Easter Sunday simply wouldn’t be complete without the candy and chocolate that have become a well-loved part of the holiday, which represents a stellar opportunity for confectionery companies to revamp their food labels – and, indeed, their products themselves.

Whether your enterprise is planning to replace its regular candy and chocolate with bunny-, chick- and egg-shaped equivalents or is simply looking to position its offerings as the perfect Easter egg stuffer, product labels are crucial at this time of year. Many of your competitors will be switching up their packaging for Easter, so if you stick to the same old design, your wares will likely get overlooked.

Add Pizzazz to Package Labels and Reap the Seasonal Rewards

How important are eye-catching seasonal package labels? According to the National Retail Federation’s recently released Easter Spending Survey, an overwhelming majority of people who are planning to celebrate Easter this year anticipate buying candy (nine in 10, or 89.3 percent, of the more than 6,300 consumers who took part in the poll). The NRF projects that more than $2.2 billion will be spent on sweet seasonal treats in 2015.

“Americans are eager to dip their toes in the fresh green grass this Easter and celebrate the day with friends and family,” commented Pam Goodfellow, director of Prosper Insights and Analytics, the research firm that partnered with the NRF to conduct the study.
With $2.2 billion up for grabs among confectionery companies, the more vibrant and attention-grabbing your product labels, the better.

Show Your Company is Eager for Easter with Custom Labels

You might think that in order to take your custom labels to the next level and truly pique the interest of Easter shoppers, you’ll need to sink a significant amount of money into a revamp. However, if you partner with Lightning Labels, you can expect the high quality and vibrant, crisp colors you’re looking for without the hefty price tag you might expect, thanks to our state-of-the-art label printing technology. After all, just because you aren’t a major national brand, that doesn’t mean your Easter candy or chocolate should be packaged any less professionally.

See the quality of our custom labels and stickers for yourself by requesting a sample of our label materials. Once you place your order, you can get a free printed press proof or emailed PDF files – we want to make sure you know exactly what you’re getting before you finalize your transaction with us.

With Easter just a few days away, you might think it’s too late to place an order, but Lightning Labels is more than just a name – it’s a description. Following press approval, you can expect a turnaround time of two to three business days, allowing you to get your products out there in time for the big day.