How to Write Effective Copy for Product Labels

Editor’s Note: James Lowry is the General Manager of Lightning Labels. With almost 24  years of professional experience in the printing industry, he really knows what he’s talking about when it comes to producing top-notch product labels. If I was you, I’d consider memorizing his copywriting tips below. You can pick up more great tips from James in the column he writes for The Lightning Flash, From the Desk of Our General Manager.

Before you even begin to write copy for your product labels, you need to consider how your packaging will impact your label copy. Make sure you understand the size of the label that you will be able to use and if you will be able to use more than one label.  It is critical to understand the amount of “real estate” available for your copy.

Other aspects of your packaging that may or may not impact your label copy include:

  • The materials used in your packaging. For instance, if they are eco-friendly, you may want to note this in your label copy.
  • The environment your product will be in after the label is applied to its packaging.
  • The type of product container your labels will be applied to. This may impact whether you use clear labels, simple labels, or elaborate 4-color process labels.

Next, you want to make sure you know what is legally required to be printed on your labels. Depending on your product and where you are selling it, you may be required to include product ingredients, barcodes for retail sale, and/or copyright tags. These are just a few examples of what may be legally required to be incorporated into your label designs and therefore impact the label copy you write. Continue reading “How to Write Effective Copy for Product Labels” »

The ‘Almost’ Perfect Solution for Eco-Friendly Shopping Bags

Lee Never Wasted Sustainable Shopping Bag (Front)

Lee Jean’s “Never Wasted” shopping bag isn’t the perfect sustainable solution for shopping bags, but it is a big step towards that ideal.

Designed by Happy Creative, a marketing and design agency in Bangalore, India, the paper bag is designed to be cut apart and reused instead of being tossed into the recycling bin.

“With the relevance of eco-friendly initiatives increasing every day, Lee wanted an innovative solution that would display their affiliation towards the same and also spread the message amongst their customers,” Happy Creative stated on its blog.

The resulting creation was the Never Wasted shopping bag. Happy Creative could have followed the pack and paid homage to Lee’s commitment to sustainability by designing a shopping bag that was reusable or made of recycled materials. Instead, they put on their creative thinking caps and created something completely unique: a bag that can be re-purposed into a variety of objects.

I think this concept has amazing potential for future iterations. Especially if the bag is printed in many different editions. The reasons it falls short of my ideal as a sustainable shopping bag option are 1) it is not clear if the bag is made from recycle materials, 2) the glue and tape required to put together most of the objects that can be created from this bag aren’t exactly environmentally-friendly, and 3) I question how many consumers are actually going to take the time to cut this bag up and assemble Lee-branded objects such as a Chutes and Ladders-style game, a little Black Book, and a CD holder. I mean, is the average Lee consumer into Chutes and Ladders and are they still purchasing CDs? And this little Black Book, shouldn’t it be called a Little Brown Book? And how well are these items going to hold up as they will be made from brown craft paper? I’m just saying … Continue reading “The ‘Almost’ Perfect Solution for Eco-Friendly Shopping Bags” »

Our Lightning Fast Service is Now *Super Lightning Fast*

Lightning Fast Business Man

Limited Time Offer

We pride ourselves on getting your custom label order out the door within 3 to 4 business days following proof approval. Through Feb. 14, however, the turnaround time on all orders under $3,000 is only 2 to 3 business days. This offer applies to all of our custom printed products, including labels, stickers, and adhesive window decals. Continue reading “Our Lightning Fast Service is Now *Super Lightning Fast*” »

Packaging Design Competition Accepting Entries

The Dieline Awards 2011 (Official Contest Logo)

Early Bird Deadline is Jan. 17

One of the world’s most prestigious packaging design competitions is now accepting entries for 2011.

39 Dieline Awards will be awarded across a total of 13 categories, including the new student and wine categories. The official awards ceremony will be held at the first annual The Dieline Package Design Conference in Chicago on June 23. One Best of Show winner will also be chosen as the grand winner by a panel of industry experts chaired by AIGA President Debbie Millman. Prizes for winners of the The Dieline Awards 2011 include free registration to The Dieline Package Design Conference and Expo, participation in the official awards ceremony, and custom-designed trophies.

Early Bird entries are $75 for students and $85 for professionals, and are due Jan. 17. Full Registration entries will be accepted Jan. 18 to Feb. 13, and Late Registration entries will be accepted Feb. 14 to Feb. 21.

To register, visit the official website for The Dieline Awards 2011.

Ringing in the New Year: Holiday Hours at LL

Holiday Hours - Our office will be closed on Monday, January 3, 2011, so that our employees may celebrate the New Year with their loved ones. We will reopen for business as usual on Tuesday, January 4. In the meantime, you may still continue to use our online quoting system & place online orders. Happy New Year!

Defying Tradition, American Brewer Proudly Features Santa on Beer Label

Rogue Brewery Boxed Gift Set Features Santa's Private Reserve Ale

This time of year, walk down the aisle of any American grocery store and you will likely see countless incarnations of Santa Claus endorsing all sorts of products through one the most important marketing platforms in existence, packaging. There is one aisle, however, where Santa is never easily spotted: the  beer aisle. Unlikely their European counterparts, American brewers typically steer clear of enlisting the help of the jolly beer-bellied North Pole resident to hawk their alcohol in order to avoid the possibility of offending parents and angering anti-alcohol organizations.

The irony of this is that Saint Nicholas, the third-century Greek Bishop of Myra known for his habit of secretly giving presents to children, is not only recognized in modern times as the original Santa Claus. The truth is, Saint Nicholas is also the patron saint of beer.

A few American brewers recognize this fact by subtly incorporating Santa imagery into their holiday beer label designs. For instance, Hair of the Dog Brewery and Goose Island’s holiday brews both sport animal mascots wearing Santa’s signature red night cap trimmed with white fur.

Rogue Brewery, however, proudly pays tribute to the patron saint of its industry by prominently featuring Santa Clause himself on the label of its beloved holiday brew, Santa’s Private Reserve. Using one hand to lift a frothy mug of ale in one hand, and the other to defiantly pump his fist in the air,  Rogue’s Santa boldy refuses to retreat into the snowy background of the bold label design.

A Note of Gratitude to Our Supporters, Holiday Closings

Happy Thanksgiving from Lightning Labels

An Open Letter to Our Supporters

Dear Readers,

As Thanksgiving approaches this year, were here at Lightning Labels would like to take a moment to tell you how grateful we are to have your support. Thanks to you, we  have had an amazing year. As 2010 draws to a close, we want to let you know how much we appreciate not only your business and referrals, but your encouragement. We are also thankful that so many of you have trusted us to freely share your amazing business stories with our readers in our newsletter, The Lightning Flash, on our website, and on this blog.

We have also enjoyed getting to know many of you and your businesses on a more personal level through Twitter and Facebook. We are very blessed indeed to have people like you in our lives! (And social media, too, right?)

To our customers, specifically, we understand that you have many options when it comes to choosing a digital label printer. Although we are America’s first all-digital customer label printer, many competitors have followed in our footsteps. They challenge us to push even harder to deliver outstanding products to you at affordable prices, and so we are thankful for them as well.

Customers, thank you for trusting Lightning Labels to print your custom labels, stickers, and adhesive window decals. We value your loyalty, and enjoy working with you! In the coming year,  we will work even harder to earn your continued loyalty. Keep checking this blog and our website for some exciting new developments here at Lightning Labels that will make it even easier and more rewarding to do business with us.

Office Closed for Thanksgiving Holiday

The Lightning Labels office will be closed this Thursday, Nov. 25 and Friday, Nov. 26 so that our employees can celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday with their loved ones. We will reopen for business as usual at 8 am on Monday, Nov. 29. In the meantime, you may still continue to use our online quoting system, place online orders, and email us 24-7. We will respond to any online orders placed online as well as emails sent while the office is closed as soon as possible after we reopen on Monday.

Vintage Listerine Packaging Prettier Than Most Perfume Bottles

Vintage Listerine Packaging

This vintage packaging bottle for the popular mouthwash Listerine is prettier than most perfume bottles. If mouthwash came in lovely containers like this today, I wouldn’t feel compelled to hide mine behind closed doors underneath the bathroom sink.

(Photo courtesy of Design Muse)

Gratitude for Our US Military Veterans

We here at Lightning Labels would like to thank all of the veterans of the US Armed forces and their families who have sacrificed so much to preserve the freedoms that we enjoy as American citizens. Happy Veterans’ Day, and may peace be with you and your loved ones throughout your post-service lives.

I’d also like to use this space to share a poem that expresses why the veterans I know best chose to serve in the military:

It is the Soldier
by Father Dennis Edward O’Brien

It is the Soldier,
not the reporter, who has given us freedom of press.

It is the Soldier,
not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the Soldier,
not the campus organizer, who gives us freedom to demonstrate.

It is the Soldier
who salutes the flag,
who serves beneath the flag,
and whose coffin is draped by the flag,
who allows the protester to burn the flag. Continue reading “Gratitude for Our US Military Veterans” »

iPhone App Helps Procrastinators Choose Halloween Costumes



Editor’s Note: Yes, I realize that this is my second Halloween-themed blog post of the day. I apologize to my regular readers if you feel you are being “spammed” by my blog posts today. That said, I just couldn’t help myself — I LOVE Halloween!

Still haven’t decided what to be for Halloween? Don’t worry, there’s an iPhone app for that.

Based on GS Design’s promotional piece 400 Costumes to Die For for Halloween 2009 (see top photo), The Halloween Costume Decider iPhone application can help you figure out which of 625 possible costumes you should wear this Halloween.

FYI, Halloween is Sunday this year. As in less than 48 hours. So if you still need a Halloween costume and you have an iPhone, don’t procrastinate any longer. Download The Halloween Costume Decider now. (It’s free.)