The Proof is in the Label

You’ve designed your product label and have chosen a professional printer — such as Lightning Labels — to do the job. But before you go ahead and give the final word, you should always ask to see a proof before printing an entire batch of labels, as it could help you save money by preventing crucial oversights in the long run.

A proof, quite simply, is an image of the label as it will look when printed. Most label companies will offer one of two different types of proofs — PDF and press. PDF proofs are digital versions of the label that can easily be sent between printer and client, or to key takeholders. These proofs are accurate for the most part. The colors, however, will likely be slightly different depending on factors the client uses to view the PDF proof (e.g., computer monitors, printers, and inks.)

Extra cautious business owners will want to look into press proofs, which are samples of labels actually printed on the press. Press proofs are a physical sample of your final product. You can even test them on your product container for fit, adhesion, and durability!

We are proud to be one of the few label printers that offers our customers their first set of press proofs free of charge. All they pay for is shipping costs. For more information on PDF and press proofs, visit our Label Learning Center; or send us an email.

Sizing Up Your Label Projects

Not all labels come in the same size. Sure, within an industry, many manufacturers may use labels of approximately the same type, but that doesn’t mean a company can’t take a gamble and use a different size or shape.

So what are the best dimensions to make a label? That depends on a variety of factors. Certainly, an extra large or oddly shaped label can be printed and may even help generate some extra attention from shoppers. But at the same time, it could also raise the cost of the printing process — a drawback many small businesses should consider ahead of time.

At Lightning Labels, for example, a 5-inch circle label can easily be printed by fitting two across and three down on the frame. Five hundred 5-inch circles can be created for approximately $360, depending on what label material is used. However, a 6-inch circle doesn’t fit as well on the frame and as a result, the same batch will cost nearly double.

It’s important to look at your project and ask yourself what the goal is. If you are simply trying to print the most cost-efficient label, going with standard measurements may be a better bet. On the flip side, while bigger labels may cost more, they could also help your brand stand out.

If you are having a tough time choosing between sizes, why not get a few quotes for your custom label orders now?

Don’t Miss Our 10 Year Anniversary Sale!

To celebrate our 10 Year Anniversary, we’re throwing a sale! What’s on sale, you ask? Everything we custom print here at Lightning Labels, including:

Bath and body labels
Food labels
Nutraceutical labels
Wine labels
Lip balm labels
Specialty product labels
Removable window decals
Promotional stickers

All new, regularly priced orders are 15% off during our Anniversary Sale with this coupon code: 15FOR10. Use it when you place your order.

While we are celebrating our anniversary all year long, this sale ends next Saturday. Your valuable coupon code will expire at 11:59p EST on June 3oth, to be more specific. Procrastinators and dilly-dalliers, you have been warned. Order your labels now … before you forget!

To get more details about our Anniversary Sale, I encourage you to watch the video above. Can’t view it? Visit Lightning Labels on YouTube. To use your coupon code, order your custom labels online now.

Q&A with Gourmet Food Maker Suzanne’s Sweet Savories

This month’s Customer Spotlight is on Suzanne’s Sweet Savories, a specialty food company that makes all-natural, gourmet dips.  Lightning Labels conducted the following interview with Suzanne Calhoun, the company’s founding owner, product maker, chief dishwasher, and CEO.

Suzanne Calhoun, Owner/Founder of Suzanne's Sweet Savories, is pictured here.

Suzanne Calhoun, Owner/Founder of Suzanne's Sweet Savories

LIGHTNING LABELS: What products and services does your company offer?

Suzanne: We make gourmet savory dips: a fruit base with a bit of spice and a bunch of zing to jazz up lunch and dinner dishes, from grilled meats and fish to artisan cheese and crackers, from stews to sweet potato fries, omelets to crostini. Our current flavors are Apple, Blueberry, Tomato, and Rhubarb. The apple, for instance, is great with pork chops or ribs, the tomato with roasted potatoes, and the blueberry makes a great baked brie or is fantastic with Mexican food. We will be introducing new flavors as we go along, perhaps into the vegetable realm as well as expanding into new products of similar flavoring: spreads for sandwiches and dressings for salads or pastas.

The marketplace for gourmet foods is quite competitive these days. What makes your products or product labels stand out? What is unique about them that keeps customers coming back for more?

My products are unlike anything else on the market, in that they are mostly just a fruit or veggie, but are savory, adding a burst of flavor to many different dishes. My dips are quite versatile; the possibilities for uses are endless, and you can personalize the taste combinations to fit exactly what you like. I always love to hear what dishes and new combinations my customers have created. People who don’t consider themselves cooks also love them because my products turn the ordinary into gourmet! Continue reading “Q&A with Gourmet Food Maker Suzanne’s Sweet Savories” »

An Introduction to the Full-Color Printing Process

Did you know that what is commonly known as full-color printing is actually based on just four colors?

Full-color printing, also known as four-color printing, is the opposite of monochrome or black and white printing. It uses a handful of basic colors to recreate any image in a faithful — but cost-effective — way. The four colors are frequently referred to as CMYK, or cyan, magenta, yellow and black. Almost any color can be replicated by these four hues, enabling printers to create a digital image.

Pictures are made using a combination of colored dots. If you could view a close-up of any printed photograph, whether it’s on a label or in a magazine, you would see it’s essentially made up of a bunch of cyan, magenta and yellow dots. Sometimes these colors overlap, creating colors that seem different. For example, cyan and yellow can make a greenish color.

If you would like us to create high-quality, full-color labels for your products, just let us know. We are here to help.

The Importance of Understanding the Full Bleed Concept

When you leave machines to do a job, the result isn’t always going to be perfect — small discrepancies are bound to occur.

This is the case with label printing, just as it is with many other tasks. During the label printing process, it’s quite possible they could shift while being cut. For labels with very precise designs, such a shift could produce an unsightly white edge on some parts.

To avoid this, many printers make use of a concept call “full bleed,” which involves making the desired picture ever so slightly bigger than the actual label. For example, if the label is supposed to be 3-inches by 5-inches, the image will be designed for 3.125-inches by 5.125-inches. This will ensure that even if the label shifts while being cut, there will still be a picture from border to border, eliminating the issue of white edges.

Click here to tweet for a free white paper on product labeling!

Full bleed is an important concept to understand — white edges make a product look unprofessional, which could hinder sales at the market. Businesses should use a professional printer, such as Lightning Labels, to ensure all of their labels give products a professional look.

Hop on the Brand Bandwagon with Better Labels

When consumers are buying products, there are typically two things they think about: brand and price. Even if a certain company produces more expensive products, shoppers may still go for that item because the business has a stronger brand.

Think of Apple as opposed to other smartphone producers, or food brands like Oreo against the store’s generic brand. It’s all about filling a role for consumers. If companies can show they understand their ideal customers better than any of their competitors, they will have an easier time capturing sales.

“If your company doesn’t connect with your target audience then you’ve got to fix those issues and fill those gaps. Branding reflects a company’s true identity and is the essence of your business,” American Express’ OPEN Forum explains.

The product label is the best place to begin conveying brand personality. Companies can use different fonts, colors and images to convey different ideas about their products and services. For example, minimalist designs and cursive fonts suggest elegance.

If product manufacturers are looking to develop a stronger brand, the label is the best place to start. Professional printers such as Lightning Labels can help you manufacture labels that convey your brand to customers.

Make Earth Day Every Day: Choose Sustainable Materials for Your Product Labels

Biostone is a label material made from rocks, not trees

Lightning Labels offers several sustainable label materials, including BioStone. It is a stone paper that is fully compostable.

Celebrating Earth Day this Sunday? Great! We are, too — and every day — here at Lightning Labels. Just a few years ago, we unfortunately could not say this. There were very limited “eco-friendly” label material options available at that time, and those that existed did not meet our stringent guidelines for quality.

Today, though, we are proud to offer a full lineup of sustainable label materials. Check them out:

Made from stone, not trees
Fully biodegradable and compostable
Strong and durable
Water resistant
Excellent ink adhesion properties Continue reading “Make Earth Day Every Day: Choose Sustainable Materials for Your Product Labels” »

Creative Lip Balm Packaging

Creative lip balm packaging has become one of the most fail-proof ways to break into the heavily-saturated lip balm market. While unique lip balm packaging has been the standard for novelty items commonly flaunted by pre-teen girls, the following companies have quickly learned that creative packaging is also the key to winning over mature beauty buyers. Look at these unique products turning heads today:

TonyMoly Petite Bunny: Known for unique packaging, TonyMoly recently released six scents in these adorable bunny-shaped applicators. The bunnies’ unique facial expressions based on anime characters, are geared toward the hotly-targeted Japanese audience. Even American buyers are drawn to the edgy styles coming out of Japan, proven by successful lines such as Harajuku by Gwen Stefani.


Tokyo Milk: This company is known for its charming packaging featuring Victorian-style drawings, making it ideal for almost any shop. Retro artwork has gained popularity over the past few years and is now featured on a variety of popular cosmetic brands, like Benefit.


Evolution of Smooth (EOS): Newest to the market is EOS, who took the beauty counter by storm last year with its ball-shaped lip balm packaging. EOS combined the design of the traditional lip balm pot with a twist-off lid with the convenience associated with a tube-based balm. Eos, the Greek goddess of dawn, would be proud to share her name with a cosmetics company who woke up consumers with its unique packaging.


Skinfood Honey Pot Lip Balm: Grown women squeal with delight when they spot this all-natural lip balm in a cute little honeypot. This Korean-based company uses only food-based ingredients to make a full line of hair and skin products. Priced at almost $20, it is geared at the discriminating beauty buyer rather than the little girl down the lane.


Ballmania: Similar to EOS’ ball-shaped containers, Ballmania uses eye-catching patterns to reel its customers in, but it’s the Serenlipity Twist and Pout line that catches the eyes of mature beauty buyers. The gorgeously-decorated balm comes in a beautiful box with a full-size lip applicator, making it splurge-worthy next time you’re at the beauty counter.


Chicken Poop: Turning the most heads in lip balm packaging would be Chicken Poop, which the company is quick to state “contains no chicken poop.” The company definitely understands the importance of being unique. While the balm comes in a rather plain-looking tube, the product display cannot be missed. The box is shaped like a full-size chicken, and you can surely guess from where the lip balm tubes are dispensed.


Piudali: What is unique about Piudali’s latest cosmetic line is not that it’s made from all-natural ingredients, but that all of the ingredients and the packaging come from the Amazon. This lip balm comes in an actual Andean nogal nut and contains fruit butters found only in the rain forest. Due to the strict rules of the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization, the makers of this product can produce only a limited supply each year, so you’d better hurry.

Designing Eye-Catching Labels for the Visually Impaired

Photo of can label with tiny type

Creating an eye-catching label is important for many reasons, but one may be often overlooked. Have you thought of creating visually exciting can labels that are geared towards the visually impaired? The fact is people with vision problems often put down products that they have difficulty reading.

It’s not always the graphics that can have an impact on your potential customers; it just may be the style and size of your text. Let’s face it, the information you are displaying is just as important as the branding images you use. With the increased awareness of nutritional and ingredients in food people are looking for prominent displays of quality. There is a definite concern from people who wear glasses and have issues with small print on labels.

They look for those that are easier to read. I have even read a blog where the writer had expressed the desire to petition supermarkets to mandate more reader friendly text!  Some things to consider when designing your labels might be the positioning of the text, choosing a bright or flashy color, and most importantly the SIZE. Continue reading “Designing Eye-Catching Labels for the Visually Impaired” »