Category Archives: Digital Printing

The Digital Printing Archive is where you will find news on the latest digital printing technology, digital printing trends, information about levering digital printing for your business, and digital printing applications. It is also a great reference for anyone just learning about digital printing and printing in general.

Use Custom Stickers to Sweeten Valentine’s Day

Ways Custom Stickers can show your ‘sticktoitiveness’ on Valentine’s Day

Custom Sticker Printing

Surprise the sweet one in your life with something out of the ordinary. Use custom stickers to add a bit of spice, sassiness or friendship to Valentine’s Day. Your message and look are limited only by the imagination. The sticker can contain a famous quote (e.g., “How do I love thee…?”), a heartfelt personal message of friendship or love, or even a one-of-a-kind visual.

Consider putting your lips to paper. Apply lipstick or other suitable medium and press your lips on something that can be digitally printed. You can then send out Valentines to everyone you care about featuring this personalized image. Place the sticker on a card, present, or other Valentine’s Day package. And, you also can create a digital version of the image to include with an e-card, post on Facebook, and the like. In this day and age of stock images, your personal “imprint” can enliven the impression you make on all recipients.

Here are additional thoughts about using custom stickers this Valentine’s Day:

  1. Make the presentation more memorable than the present. Inexpensive presents that include heart-warming, fun, shiny custom stickers on the wrapping can be very well-received. Without spending a lot of money, you can buy a bunch of Valentine’s Day items, adorn them with your special custom stickers, and put smiles on the faces of those who get them;
  2. Put a funny line or funny face on the present. A nondescript jar of something sweet (e.g.,  honey, preserves, or marinade) or  something salty (e.g., bath salts or other item featuring a bath and body product label) can gain some panache with the addition of a custom sticker;
  3. Make them the present. Create a variety of custom Valentine stickers featuring different graphics and content and make these a gift to one or many recipients. (These can be kind of like the candy hearts with messages on them.) Because custom stickers can be easily personalized, they offer an “old-fashioned” print standby that complements all the digital photos out there. People can place stickers on their refrigerators, put them in a scrapbook, etc. Again, uses are only limited by the imagination;
  4. Use them to decorate. Use custom stickers in addition to, or in lieu of, other Valentine’s Day decorations. For a romantic touch, consider stickers with various messages mixed in with those rose petals in the boudoir.

Custom Sticker Printing is Fast and Affordable

The same technology that creates digital label printing works equally well for custom stickers. Because custom sticker printing is fast and affordable in small quantities, you can still get them done and in your hands in time for Valentine’s Day.

In fact, Lightning Labels is offering a special sale for those ready to optimize their products and packaging with custom labels and stickers: Take $75 off orders of $750 or more through February 8, 2013, using code VDAY75 at checkout. Enjoy sweet savings before Valentine’s Day!

With this offer the maximum discount for orders is $1,000. Free ground shipping is available on regularly priced orders shipped within the U.S. and Canada, though shipping charges apply for printed press proofs. This offer cannot be combined with any other offers or promotions.

 

 

Using Photos On Labels To Best Communicate With Consumers

Pictures Can Speak Louder Than Words On Stickers And Labels

Lightning Labels Product Packaging

Because packaging should reflect the quality of the product, images can help give consumers a better idea of what your product is all about.

Lightning Labels, a custom label and sticker printing leader, encourages manufacturers to consider incorporating illustrations into label design to catch shoppers’ attention and communicate information more effectively to consumers.

Incorporating images into a product’s packaging can serve a variety of purposes. Marketing professionals know that too much text can overwhelm consumers reading labels. Adding photos, logos and other visual components can attract shoppers. Whether perusing products online or aimlessly strolling down store aisles, consumers are more likely to pay attention to bold, unique images on labels than basic text.

“Manufacturers have more options than ever before, thanks to the advancement of digital printing and budget-friendly label options, but more should incorporate pictures and high-quality graphics on labels,” says Lightning Labels Production Manager Julie Mcculley. “Not only will this grab a target audience’s attention away from competitors’ products, but these labels can be incorporated into a company’s marketing strategy to create a more comprehensive branding plan.”

Because packaging should reflect the quality of the product, images can give consumers a better idea of what a product is all about. Images can play a vital role on nutraceutical labels, especially when they illustrate warnings and make the manufacturer appear more credible in the eyes of the consumer.

A recent study on tobacco warning labels proves the effectiveness of incorporating visual elements into product packaging. Researchers at the University of South Carolina compared the effect of words-only warnings and labels that featured images on consumers. Study respondents found the pictures much more credible than the plain texts, according to U.S. News.

Digital Label Printing Makes Incorporating Images Affordable and Easy

Lightning Labels’ digital label printing can help businesses promote products and inform consumers effectively at a great price. When manufacturers had to rely on printing plates for labels and stickers, a film and plate had to be created for each label color. After mounting each film onto a cylinder and lining them up according, the labels would finally be ready to print, and it was by no means budget-friendly.

Digital printing has since replaced that archaic process, making custom packaging and label-making easier and more affordable than ever for businesses of all sizes. With today’s technology, labels can be printed in any color, and high-quality images come out clear and clean.

Marketers may want a way to test various images to find custom labels and sticker designs that most effectively reaches the product’s target audience. Digital printing makes ordering small batches affordable, so businesses can test product labels before ordering mass quantities. In addition, Lightning Labels can print multiple designs and can work with every unique manufacturer to find the perfect style and colors to complement the labels’ images.

Two Ways To Choose The Right Images for Your Stickers and Labels

As manufacturers decide which illustrations best reflect their brand and products, here are some factors to keep in mind:

1. Choose Images That Can Be Understood  On Product Labels From Afar
It’s important to remember that product labels are relatively small. No matter how visually stimulating an image is, if it’s too detailed to be understood from several feet away or through a computer screen, it may confuse consumers. It’s a good idea to keep images simple, but bold. The most simple brand logos are usually the ones consumers remember most.

2. Get Creative To Stand Out Online And In Stores
Producers and companies want their products to stand out from competitors, both online and in stores. Unique, intriguing photos can attract consumers and make them pick up a product or click a link for more information. Consider altering image colors and photo size to achieve a fresh look.

About Lightning Labels:
Lightning Labels uses state-of-the-art digital printing technology to provide affordable, full-color custom labels and custom stickers of all shapes and sizes, and now offers a full line of custom packaging products. From small orders for individuals, to the bulk needs of big businesses, Lightning Labels is equipped to handle and fulfill sticker, label and product packaging projects of all types. Best of all, like the name implies, Lightning Labels provides a quick turnaround to every customers’ labeling and product packaging needs. Uses for Lightning Labels custom product labels and custom stickers include food packaging and organic food labels, wine and beverage labels, bath and body labels, and nutraceutical products, such as vitamins, essentials oils, and herbal remedies, as well as event stickers, adhesive window stickers and more. Lightning Labels strongly supports the development of environmentally friendly printing materials and carries EarthFirst PLA, a new kind of green label material made from corn instead of petroleum. While operating as a high-tech printer, Lighting Labels prides itself on its personalized customer service. Lightning Labels provides one stop shopping for all of your label and product packaging needs. For more information and to place orders online, visit LightningLabels.com. For the latest in packaging news and labeling promotional offers, find Lightning Labels on Facebook,Twitter (@LightningLabels), and Google+.

Attractive, Customized Labels Can Really Be Made On A Budget

Labels Offer Marketing Opportunity For Cash-Strapped Companies

custom labels

Manufacturers can save money using high-quality custom labels

How many times have you seen products whose customized labels you imagine to be unattainable? Perhaps it is because the materials are high-quality and luxurious, both in design and appeal, or maybe it’s because a limited packaging and marketing budget has left you scrimping and saving.

Whatever the reason – or excuse – you can take those ideas and toss them right out the window. Even the smallest manufacturing companies can market their products with high-quality, personalized labels, no matter their budget.

Digital Label Printing Advances Make Customized Labels Attainable

Many manufacturers think their product production is too small to warrant an order of customized labels, but that is no longer the case. In the past, it was necessary for businesses and producers to order bulk shipments and spend a large portion of their budget on more labels than they might even use.

Times have changed, much to the benefit of small businesses and manufacturers that want to use attractive, unique labels on their products. After all, labels are what the targeted audience and prospective consumers see when they consider buying an item or product. Thanks to digital printing taking the place of mechanical flexographic printing presses – ultimately making required printing plates and necessary machine preparation a thing of the past – the traditionally long process doesn’t actually take that much time at all.

But the most important thing for budget-minded manufacturers with limited resources is the fact that digital label printing can save plenty of green compared to machine-based methods of yesteryear. This can be attributed to the fact that it’s not necessary to create those costly custom plates (which could cost $120 per design), nor is it required to order in bulk just to get the best price possible. Only need 10,000 labels instead of 25,000? Not a problem with digital printing technology.

3 Ways Customized Labels Are Even More Budget-Friendly

Although order size, speed and flexibility are all important factors when designing and placing orders for your custom labels, cost remains king for most companies and manufacturers. However, taking the leap and creating custom products is more than just something to capture consumers’ attention – it’s a bold marketing move that can increase sales numbers and increase the current pool of customers.

Here are three reasons why custom labels are easier on the wallet than non-custom options:

1. Marketing Made Easy: With so many competitors trying to get people’s attention, marketers are doing everything they can to send the most eye-catching messages possible. But although many choose to focus on direct marketing strategies and social media campaigns, the physical product is often overlooked. Consider the label to be an element of a marketing plan – you don’t want something run-of-the-mill and forgettable, do you?

2. Remember Me?: In the same way products can be used as marketing tools, they can also be used as part of a larger campaign. By creating a custom, one-of-a-kind label that is designed similarly to the manufacturer’s current branding plan, customers may have an easier time associating things they’ve seen and heard to the physical product up on the shelf.

3. More People, More Sales: Once more customers make the connection – thanks to the high-quality custom label, of course – manufacturers may find that their audience and sales to increase. Not only is this a side-effect of marketing and label-making done right, it is also pretty beneficial to the company’s bottom line.

Ready to get started?  Check out our current promo:

Lightning Labels is offering a special Anniversary Sale with year-end savings: Take 15% off new orders through December 31, 2012, using code YEAREND at checkout. The maximum discount for orders is $1,000. Free ground shipping is available on regularly priced orders shipped within the U.S. and Canada, though shipping charges apply for printed press proofs. This offer cannot be combined with any other offers or promotions.

 

Label Printing Company, Lightning Labels, Offers Business Development Tips

Limited-Edition Labels Enhance the “Custom” in Custom Label Printing

Denver, CO, (December 4, 2012) – Lightning Labels, a custom label and sticker printing leader, encourages manufacturers to take advantage of digital label printing technology and incorporate unique, limited-edition labels and packaging this holiday season. To assist customers and manufacturers with holiday marketing, Lighting Labels releases business development tips that cover short-run, limited-edition labels, seasonal custom labels and product packaging.

“Just as technology has enabled major advances in such areas as social media, so is it positively impacting other forms of personalized business development,” says Business Development Manager AnneMarie Campbell. “The manufacturer can collect a certain number of orders, then create personalized product labels targeted to buyers. Instead of just trumpeting the product, it also heralds the customer – heightened perceived value, loyalty and goodwill – which is fitting this holiday season.”

People Flock To Short-Run, Limited-Edition Labels
Even if the product is left unchanged, printing an updated or special-edition label design – made easy with advancements of digital label printing techniques – can attract more customers to the product. Lightning Labels’ business development tips apply to targeting a new audience or marketing toward an entirely new set of potential customers. This creates an opportunity to test new label design and copy without the risk and pressure of harming the product’s already-positive image.

If the limited-edition run is overwhelmingly successful, Lighting Labels recommends doing more special-edition promotions and/or integrating some related tactics into their everyday labels and product marketing strategies.

What Limited-Edition Labels And Products Truly Mean
Special-edition custom labels haven’t always been affixed to products; in fact, the trend didn’t come into full effect until the late 1990s, when it was used as a marketing ploy. Companies utilizing this strategy were quick to discover that not only did demand for the so-called “limited” products increase, but people were willing to pay more money for products labeled as “limited” or “special.”

What started as a marketing plan for higher-end manufacturers and companies is now utilized across the globe by companies. During the holidays, though, more special-edition products seem to line the shelves, from collector tins to themed labels and packaging. Millions of people have made it their hobby to collect as many of these products annually as possible.

How Seasonal Labels And Packaging Affect Consumers
People historically understood that the holidays were fast-approaching by changes in weather, but the prevalence of seasonal custom labels has changed consumers’ holiday associations. Rather than determining the true start of autumn by falling leaves, people rush to devour limited-edition pumpkin spice delicacies and harvest-colored custom labels; winter’s arrival is welcomed by companies’ use of holiday-themed labels and packaging.

The low cost of digital label printing makes limited editions an attainable marketing and promotional plan that can be used for various events and seasons throughout the year. Although it’s not limited to the holiday season, it can be a good time to begin and test the strategy. Low custom labels, label printing, label printing companylabel printing costs and affordable prices of smaller sample batches from Lightning Labels give manufacturers the option to try this tactic on a few products or orders at a time.

How to Market Custom Labels and Products Seasonally
Lightning Labels’ industry advisors note that limited-edition custom labels not only look festive and welcoming, but they can be a gateway into creating an entire themed marketing campaign. Coffee drinkers around the world rejoiced when Starbucks announced via social media that its special-edition red cups were available once again, and manufacturers can use similar strategies.

Promote cheery, special-edition custom labels on your Facebook and Twitter accounts, then take advantage of multichannel marketing by posting pictures of the labels and packaging on Instagram and Pinterest, then tie everything together with a related #hashtag. Consider adding holiday-themed hashtags and QR codes to the limited-edition packaging that people can access once they see or purchase the collectable product.

Right now Lightning Labels is running a special promotion to celebrate its more than 10,000 Lightning Labels Facebook fans by offering 10% off all online orders from December 3, 2012 through December 5, 2012.  Simply use promo code LLFB10 at checkout.  The promo code LLFB10 is valid on new label orders placed online only and does not apply to reorders.  The maximum discount is $1,000. Free ground shipping applies to regularly priced orders shipped within the United States and Canada, but shipping charges apply for printed press proofs. This offer cannot be combined with any other offers or promotions.

About Lightning Labels:
Lightning Labels uses state-of-the-art digital printing technology to provide affordable, full-color custom labels and custom stickers of all shapes and sizes, and now offers a full line of custom packaging products. From small orders for individuals, to the bulk needs of big businesses, Lightning Labels is equipped to handle and fulfill sticker, label and product packaging projects of all types. Best of all, like the name implies, Lightning Labels provides a quick turnaround to every customers’ labeling and product packaging needs. Uses for Lightning Labels custom product labels and custom stickers include food packaging and organic food labels, wine and beverage labels, bath and body labels, and nutraceutical products, such as vitamins, essentials oils, and herbal remedies, as well as event stickers, adhesive window stickers and more. Lightning Labels strongly supports the development of environmentally friendly printing materials and carries EarthFirst PLA, a new kind of green label material made from corn instead of petroleum. While operating as a high-tech printer, Lighting Labels prides itself on its personalized customer service. Lightning Labels provides one stop shopping for all of your label and product packaging needs. For more information and to place orders online, visit LightningLabels.com. For the latest in packaging news and labeling promotional offers, find Lightning Labels on Facebook, Twitter (@LightningLabels), and Google+.

Stop Making Excuses For Not Testing Custom Stickers And Labels

Prevent Errors, Wasted Resources By
Printing Small Label Batches

Custom Labels

Sufficient testing can improve a marketing and label campaign.

Chances are you wouldn’t make a big decision without doing a bit of background work first. Why should it be any different when creating custom labels and stickers? If you’re considering going on vacation, you will probably compare resorts, airfare and travel accommodations. If you are thinking about making a large purchase, you may shop around to find the best deal. Manufacturing labels for your unique products and marketing campaigns shouldn’t be a guessing game, either.

3 Reasons People Avoid Testing Their Labels
Despite how easy it is for people to test their custom sticker and labels before buying them in bulk, many still avoid doing so. Why? Here are three reasons people skip testing (and why it’s not recommended to do so):

“Testing labels is too expensive.” - Although this seems like it may be a viable reason, it’s just a myth. Lightning Labels offers consumers cost-effective and wallet-friendly digital label printing costs for small batches of their desired order, which is actually less expensive than ordering large quantities of a label they are unsure about.

“I already know what I want.” - It’s common that product manufacturers do have an idea of what type of label they want, but it may be because they are unfamiliar with the variety of sticker and label materials available to them. People may have heard of eco-friendly labels made of stone and post-consumer waste instead of trees and petrochemicals, but how will they know just how the materials work with printing designs and styles unless small batches are used as a test?

“My customers don’t want different labels.” - It can be difficult to know just what a targeted audience wants if people are not given an option. With that said, small batches of test stickers and labels can be used to discover whether customers are attracted to other designs, materials, sticker and label copy and more. Consider using different colors, font types and graphics and track sales – there may be more to learn from label testing than you think.

3 More Reasons Sticker And Label Testing Is Imperative
People may now understand why custom label testing is important, but it doesn’t end there. Here are three more reasons testing can better a marketing and packaging campaign and increase your sales.

Label testing can save you from embarrassment - Think about how humiliating it would be to send a letter or email with a glaring error to a client. If the person saw it, there is a possibility it could affect the business and they wouldn’t take the company or product as seriously as they would if the spelling and/or grammar were impeccable.

Instead of taking a grammar gamble, use label testing as a form of proofreading. Rather than risking making errors on a large number of custom stickers and labels, printing a small batch for testing will provide an opportunity to double- and triple-check for mistakes.

Testing makes decisions easier - Perhaps a manufacturer is torn between several options, and he or she is having a difficult time choosing which would be best for a current marketing and/or labeling campaign. Taking advantage of low digital label printing costs by ordering small numbers of several labels and designs can take the guesswork out of the difficult decision.

Small label batches increase design flexibility - Even if a person doesn’t think they need a marketing or labeling makeover, it’s possible that printing small batches of labels will produce new ideas that were not previously considered. Testing and selecting new colors, ink and materials may be key in making a product more modern and getting the label design out of a sales-hindering rut.

Lightning Labels, Printer of Environmentally Friendly Stickers and Labels, Issues Tips to Help Consumers Identify Greenwashing

Green Claims Can Create Red-Faced Manufacturers: ‘Greenwashing’ Trend Increases Need for Eco-Friendly Label Regulations

Eco-Friendly labels are valued by customers

Denver, CO (PRWEB) November 27, 2012

Lightning Labels, a custom label and sticker printing leader, is increasing awareness of a not-so-new fad – “greenwashing” – that has been used frequently by manufacturers as a means to capitalize on consumers’ desires to see eco-friendly labels and stickers.

“‘Greenwashing’ is a fast-growing trend, and some would venture to say that green is really the new black,” says Business Development Manager AnneMarie Campbell. “But the trend is destructive, both for the consumers who buy a product based on eco-friendly label claims and the corporations and manufacturers whose actual environmentally friendly efforts are being overshadowed by false or misleading claims by competitors.”

The History of ‘Greenwashing’ and False Eco-Label Claims: The term “greenwashing,” now commonly used in the labeling industry, came about in 1986 when an environmentalist exposed non-environmentally friendly practices in the hospitality industry, calling for people to reuse towels as a way to preserve the Earth and its environment. Greenwashing is a combination of the words green, meaning eco-friendly, and whitewashing, meaning purposefully covering mistakes or errors, and means intentionally using green claims to make people believe a product is eco-friendly.

Greenwashing may include calling products organic, natural, green or recycled when the products are not. Greenpeace, an advocate for eliminating greenwashing and companies’ false claims about being eco-friendly, says most manufacturers resort to this strategy to increase their sales and try to make money from consumers who have a genuine interest in supporting products that save the Earth.

Lightning Labels Warns of the Damage Caused by Misleading Environmentally Friendly Labels: There are several problems that may rise when companies knowingly use misleading environmentally friendly labels. For starters, it’s making consumers quite confused as to what it really means for a company to be green. The eco-friendly market has become competitive – some may even call it oversaturated – and now gives people the opportunity to compare prices for eco-friendly products that have traditionally been more expensive.

The problem, however, is when companies that play by the rules and actually do offer green products aren’t able to lower prices enough to remain competitive, allowing greenwashing companies to take more business from honest companies, which perpetuates the cycle and continues to take advantage of unknowing consumers.

Stopping The Cycle By Demanding Honest Labels: Although consumers have traditionally been the victims of these false eco-friendly label claims, more people are taking a stand against companies that use misleading label tactics.

This sends a powerful message to companies, especially those that choose to make false claims and exaggerate their eco-friendly efforts. Instead of being an easy target for these businesses, consumers are now making it their mission to turn the tables on deceitful companies, making their inaccurate claims public. This has potential to damage a company and severely harm its reputation. In a competitive market, this will likely cause more than just corporate embarrassment – it could destroy a business’s reputation.

Lightning Labels has been doing its part to provide people with environmentally friendly label materials and stickers. In addition to offering recycled kraft and vellum sticker and labels materials, manufacturers can also purchase BioStone products – made from stone, not trees – and EarthFirst PLA labels, which are eco-friendly and made from corn.

To order truly eco-friendly custom stickers and environmentally friendly labels made with green materials like EarthFirst PLA, Lightning Labels is offering a four-day sale that runs from November 29, 2012 through December 2, 2012. Save 10% off new label orders placed online. Simply use promo code 4DAYS at checkout. The promo code 4DAYS is valid on new label orders placed online only and does not apply to reorders. Free ground shipping applies to regularly priced orders shipped within the United States and Canada, but shipping charges apply for printed press proofs. This offer cannot be combined with any other offers or promotions.

About Lightning Labels:

Lightning Labels uses state-of-the-art digital printing technology to provide affordable, full-color custom labels and custom stickers of all shapes and sizes, and now offers a full line of custom packaging products. From small orders for individuals, to the bulk needs of big businesses, Lightning Labels is equipped to handle and fulfill sticker, label and product packaging projects of all types. Best of all, like the name implies, Lightning Labels provides a quick turnaround to every customers’ labeling and product packaging needs. Uses for Lightning Labels custom product labels and custom stickers include food packaging and organic food labels, wine and beverage labels, bath and body labels, and nutraceutical products, such as vitamins, essentials oils, and herbal remedies, as well as event stickers, adhesive window stickers and more. Lightning Labels strongly supports the development of environmentally friendly printing materials and carries EarthFirst PLA, a new kind of green label material made from corn instead of petroleum. While operating as a high-tech printer, Lighting Labels prides itself on its personalized customer service. Lightning Labels provides one stop shopping for all of your label and product packaging needs. For more information and to place orders online, visit LightningLabels.com. For the latest in packaging news and labeling promotional offers, find Lightning Labels on Facebook, Twitter (@LightningLabels), and Google+.

Digital vs. Flexo Printing: It All Comes Down to Plates

Expensive Dinner Plates

In the past, all label and sticker printing was done on big, mechanical flexographic printing presses. With the advent of digital printing presses, consumers suddenly had more options. And, in some cases, more confusion. While certain types of printing jobs are more appropriate for flexographic printing, digital printing has many advantages over more traditional printing methods. When it comes to printing high-quality custom labels and stickers, digital printing is the best option for many consumers.

I’m going to take this opportunity to list the main differences between digital and flexographic printing so that you can decide for yourself which type of technology works best for you.

Flexo vs. Digital Printing: Key Differences

1. Speed

With no plates to create, and very little setup of the machine, a custom label job printed on a digital printing press can be printed in minutes. In contrast, many flexographic printing presses can take several hours to set up for a four color process job. Flexographic printing is a complex process that  involves outputting your artwork to film in order to create flexographic printing plates. These plates are then loaded on to the printing press, the inks are mixed and the machine is calibrated. All this must take place before you can print a single label or sticker. As such, digital print shops can turn jobs around much faster than flexo print shops. At Lightning Labels, the average turnaround time for orders is only three business days once the final press proof is approved.

2. Image Quality

Our digital printing presses can print at 230 line screen, whereas most flexographic presses print at 133 or 150 line screen. You can really see the difference in the custom label’s detail and color. If you are selling your products at the retail level, you should consider digital printing based on the quality of the label it produces. If your labels will only be used exclusively in-house, then quality is probably not as big of an issue for you. If this is the case, flexographic printing might meet your needs, depending on how soon you need your labels, the size of your order, and other factors.

3. Cost

Because there are no plates to create, no film to output, and minimal machine setup, fixed costs for digital printing are very low in comparison with flexographic printing. This means that if you want to print a relatively small number of custom labels or stickers (i.e., less than 25,000), you should get a better price from a digital printer than a flexo shop. If you need to need to order in extremely large quantities, however, you might be able to find lower pricing at a flexo shop.

Furthermore, custom label designs and content can change frequently. With flexographic printing, new plates must be made every time  a change is made to a label or sticker. With plate charges running around $230 per set for each design, design changes can be very expensive at a flexo shop. Of course, if your designs never change, this is not an issue. But if you need product labels, it is almost inevitable that will update your product label designs on an annual basis at minimum.

4. Flexibility

Perhaps digital printing’s greatest strength is its flexibility. With digital printing you can print 1,000 custom labels and every label can contain different data. Whether you want to include names from a database, consecutive numbers, multiple barcodes, or just several versions of the same label, digital printing can handle it. Flexographic printing just can’t.

Know why flexographic printing can’t compete with digital printing when it comes to flexibility? That’s right — all those plates get in the way. And they also get in the way when competing with digital printing in terms of speed, image quality, and cost.

No One Cares About Digital Label Printing

wine labels

This may sound like blasphemy from a person who been preaching the gospel of digital label printing for more than eight years now. But the bottom line is the only people who really care about how labels are printed are the people printing the labels. Customers really don’t care; they just want high quality and inexpensive labels.

This point was driven home to me when I was going through our web site analytics yesterday. Of all the people who find us online, less than 0.5% of these people are searching for “digital label printing.” That is such a tiny fraction of visitors that one could almost deem the term irrelevant to our customers and prospects.

It has been my experience that most people who search for label printing services online are really not that interested in printing. They have a product they want to sell and they know they need to get a label. They want samples and pricing, so they can have some idea of the print quality and know if the costs are within their budget. Whether these labels are printed on a brand new HP-Indigo WS4500 digital label press, a Mark Andy flexographic press, or a Gallus offset press is completely irrelevant to the vast majority of customers.

While I will continue to espouse the many benefits of digital label printing and the advantages it has over traditional printing, I also recognize that a large percentage of our customers and prospects simply will not care. Of course, we will continue to educate those people who are interested through our newsletters, social media outlets and this blog.

Label printers need to realize we are not really in the printing business. We are simply solving the product identification and branding challenges of our customers. The printing part is just a means to an end.

The New Packaging Trend That Will Become a Tidal Wave

personalized product labels from Jones Soda

At the recent DSCOOP conference in Dallas I attended a panel with some major consumer brand owners. There were executives from Proctor & Gamble, Frito-Lay, Texas Instruments and BIC. These are all multi-billion dollar consumer product companies that spend a huge amount of time thinking about product labels and packaging.

Michael Ferrari is the global research and development manager for Proctor & Gamble and he made the following statement in response to a question about personalization: “product packaging personalization is a tidal wave that is coming.” He went on to say that all consumer brands need to think about how they can introduce a personalization option into their packaging.

This is an idea whose time has come. All the technology is in place right now to make this happen. There are a number of forward thinking companies who are already making personalization an option for their products. Here is a list of ten companies that are at the start of this tidal wave:

  1. Jones Soda – the granddaddy of personalized product packaging. The MyJones program has been available since 2002 where consumers can upload a photo and order their very own six-pack of soda.
  2. Heineken – this program is only available in Europe right now, but it allows you to choose from over 100 designs for your personalized six-pack of beer. You can add your own text and even add a photo to some designs.
  3. Pringles – you can create a can of Pringles with your choice of background, text, and you can also upload a photo.
  4. Heinz – a very simple program where consumers can customize the text on a Heinz ketchup label.
  5. Kleenex – the My Kleenex Tissue program allows you to add your own photo and text to an oval box 0f Kleenex.
  6. Sharpie – the My Sharpie program allows you to choose your Sharpie colors and customize with two lines of your own text.
  7. Pernod Ricard – this is a different program insofar as you don’t order the actual product online. It is from wine and liquor producer Pernod Ricard, and the way this works is you customize their label with text and then they mail the actual labels to you free of charge. Currently, you can personalize Chivas Regal, Kahlua or The Glenlivet.
  8. M&Ms – here you are not actually customizing the packaging, but rather the actual product itself. You can do two lines of text or a simple photo.
  9. Personal Wine – order just one bottle of wine from a select number of different wineries. You can personalize the wine labels with your own photo or choose from one of the templates.
  10. Baker’s Dog – upload a photo of your favorite pooch and order a bag of dog treats with the photo on the product label.

If you click through all the above links you will notice that some of these web sites are very sophisticated and some are simple. But the fact is you don’t need a large marketing budget to get started offering personalization to your customers. You can start with a simple site that just allows some text personalization and be up and running in a couple of days.

There are several advantages to having a personalization option for your products. You can engage your best customers and have them become even more committed to your brand. Done well, this can lead to a viral marketing campaign that can give your company some great exposure. Also, you can charge a premium for a personalized product – it has a much higher perceived value than a non-personalized product.

The younger generation of today have grown up with personalization. They are the reason this tidal wave is coming. You can give your company a head start by starting a personalization option for your product labels. Of course, here at Lightning Labels we will be happy to print your personalized labels and help you get started.

QR Codes are Coming to Packaging

Is 2010 going to be the year that QR codes break out into the mainstream? It could well be. I am seeing QR codes in more and more places these days.

There have been many articles in industry publications about QR codes lately. Just yesterday, Barb Pellow from Infotrends wrote a fascinating article that suggested maybe 2010 is the year where QR codes start reaching their potential in this country. Last month Packaging News in the UK had a detailed article on their web site that provided some examples of recent uses of QR codes on packaging. They make the point that in Japan it is rare to find a product today that does not have a QR code on the product label or packaging.

In this country we are still yet to see many products utilize this technology on their packaging labels. But I believe it is coming. Within the next 12 months I think you will see several mainstream products add QR codes to their packaging.

Packaging is a logical fit for QR codes. Right now when you pick an item off the supermarket shelf, the only information you have to make a buying decision is based on what is included on the product label. Imagine if you could just whip out your camera phone, take a picture of the QR code and be instantly taken to a web site that contains more information on the product. There you could be presented with recipe ideas, preparation and serving tips, instructional photos and videos, and other product benefits. The ideas are endless.

I believe it is inevitable that we will see QR codes on product labels. There is so much benefit for the consumer and the product manufacturer. But right now there is an opportunity. Most likely, you can still be the first company in your industry niche to do this. You will have the added advantage of creating some buzz around your labels by including a QR code.

Of course, here at Lightning Labels we will be happy to print your QR codes on your product labels. We can help you create it, although it is so easy you can also do it yourself. In a few years we will wonder how we ever lived without QR codes but right now it is just getting started. You can be one of the pioneers.

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