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.

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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” »

Q&A with Lip Balm Maker Gettin’ Lippy

Lip balm company Gettin' Lippy's official logo and tag line

This month’s Customer Spotlight is on Gettin’ Lippy, a company that makes lip balm tubes that snap apart to reveal multiple flavors. Lightning Labels conducted the following interview with company owner Bri Silver.

Gettin' Lippy's unique lip balm tubes snap apart to reveal multiple flavors

Gettin' Lippy's unique lip balm tubes snap apart to reveal multiple flavors.

Lightning Labels: There are a lot of lip balms on the market. What makes yours different?

Gettin’ Lippy: Ours has at least 2 flavor options in every tube. Most of our tubes offer three flavors in every tube, but we have also put more flavors than that in one tube. It just depends what our customer wants and needs!

How did your business get started?

I was tired of buying lip balms that didn’t work, meaning they would either make my lips worse or wouldn’t do anything for my lips to be smooth. I also hated that if I bought a lip balm and didn’t like the flavor, that I would throw the whole tube away. I wanted a tube with more than one flavor so that if you didn’t like one flavor, you could keep the tube since it had other ones. So you might use it up just to get to the next flavor, or you could snap that layer of flavor off and go onto the next flavor!

Where do you draw inspiration for your products?

I really like feedback from my customers. The flavors they ask for are flavors that I try to incorporate into my lip balm combinations. I also have two boys and they are very honest about what they think about the flavors I should put together. They help me out a lot!

Would you like to tell us a little bit about how your business operates?

Right now, I am the only one besides my sons that works at Gettin’ Lippy. I believe that will be changing very soon, but for now I do it all  — including packaging, taking orders, marketing, stocking supplies, and shipping! Continue reading “Q&A with Lip Balm Maker Gettin’ Lippy” »

High-Tech Pharmaceutical Labeling Best Hope for Combating Counterfeit Market

Counterfeit Pharmaceuticals

Counterfeit pharmaceuticals are a significant health concern worldwide. The Internet is a principle outlet for sales of counterfeit medications, which offer significant savings over drug store prescriptions. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that more than half of the medications obtained from illegal websites that do not publish their physical addresses are counterfeit.

However, the problem is even more pervasive. Organized counterfeit pharmaceutical rings target impoverished people in emergent economies whose lives depend on medications that they cannot afford. Hot spots for distribution of illegal medicines include India, Africa and Latin America.

WHO identifies illicit medications as spurious/falsely-labeled/falsified/counterfeit (SFFC) substances. SFFC products range from therapeutics for life-threatening diseases to over-the-counter remedies such as antihistamines. They may contain no active ingredients or too many. In either case, they can be life-threatening so the pharmaceutical label must be thoroughly inspected.

The Dangers Associated with Illegitimate Medicines

According to Interpol, “criminal networks are attracted by the huge profits to be made through pharmaceutical crime.” However, this huge illicit gain means significant losses to legitimate drug companies in terms of reputation, revenue, and return on their investment in research and development. Continue reading “High-Tech Pharmaceutical Labeling Best Hope for Combating Counterfeit Market” »

Attention Designers: Final Week to Register for Nation’s Top Packaging Design Competition

Logo for the Dieline Package Design Awards 2012

It's not too late for talented packaging designers to register for a chance to win a coveted Dieline Award. Hopefuls must hurry, though! Registration closes April 2.

Packaging designers have one more week to register for The Dieline Package Design Awards this year, the most prestigious competition of its kind in the US.

Thirty-eight winners across 12 different categories will be awarded a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place Dieline Award, and one special winner will receive a one-of-a-kind Best of Show award. Andrew Gibbs, Editor-in-Chief of will also handpick an entry for the Editor’s Choice award.

The Dieline Package Design Awards are presented by Inwork, a full-service packaging design agency, and are judged by a panel of 10 industry experts. Entries are evaluated for quality of Creativity, Marketability, and Innovation. Debbie Millman, President Emeritus of AIGA and President of Design at Sterling Brands, will chair this year’s panel of judges.

Interested? Hurry up, then! Registration closes Monday, April 2, 2012. Author’s Note: You can do it, my lovelies! Go, go, go!

Top 10 Wine Packaging & Labeling Ideas

Unless you spend a lot of time reading Wine Enthusiast Magazine, you may not know exactly what you’re looking for when you need to make a wine purchase. If this is you, you are in good company. A  lot of casual wine drinkers are choosing wines based on the packaging design.

Labeling and packaging designers are, of course, keyed in to this common conundrum and are addressing it with unique wine packaging such as eye-catching wine labels. This makes choosing a wine not so much a chore as a foray into fun. We have put together a top ten list of the most unique packaging and labeling options we’ve run across recently. Whether you are a veteran packaging designer seeking fresh inspiration, or are a little nervous about choosing a bottle of wine for a dinner party, we think you’ll enjoy learning about these fun trends:

wine labels

1. Reuse, Recycle and Refurbish: This greenie labeling concept appeals to environmentalists and crafters alike. Each bottle includes a hang-tag with instructions for re-purposing the wine bottle after the goods are gone. Using taper candles, you can turn your empty wine bottles into Italian-style mood lighting.

2. Fine Wine Art: If only Andy Warhol were around to see it. One of the hottest winery trends on tap is commissioning contemporary art for the wine label. If the best sellers are any indication, bold colors and cartoon-like, bustling scenes have proven to garner the most attention. Continue reading “Top 10 Wine Packaging & Labeling Ideas” »