How to Throw a Good Wine Label Party

You know that we here at Lightning Labels love a good label, so, we thought, why not have a funny wine labels celebration? A label party might sound strange to you, but it’s a great way to get your friends together and have some laughs. The only rule is that you must bring a wine bottle with a funny label. Because many wineries opt to give their blends creative monikers and humorous labels, we’re sure you’ll get some you’ve never seen before. Here are a couple ideas to start off your adhesive celebration:

Toad Hollow Wine Label1. Toad Hollow
Wines from <a href=http://www.toadhollow.com>Toad Hollow</a> seek to be delicious and affordable. Each bottle includes whimsical artwork that is reminiscent of a child’s storybook. The name originates from the company’s founders, two old friends known as Dr. Toad and The Dancing Badger.

House Wine Label2. House Wine
Everyone at your party will love the simple, no-frills approach that House Wine takes. House Wine is the main brand of The Magnificent Wine Company. With these blends, they aim to make top wines available at low prices. The labels are sparse and effective, featuring a childlike house drawing and bold lettering.

Girly Girl Pinot Gris Wine Label3. Girly Girl
Girly Girl wines are the perfect choice for a night with your girlfriends. Their bottles are feminine and elegant, and each blend features a different girl. You’ll love meeting Kayla, the Merlot, or Mia, the Chardonnay. Enjoy a bottle of Girly Girl on the weekends or after a long day at work. Continue reading “How to Throw a Good Wine Label Party” »

Going Green to Make Green: Appeal to Shoppers with Biodegradable Labels

Americans are becoming increasingly cognizant of their environmental impact and are making purchases from brands they feel also respect the earth. As a result, many companies have begun switching to green operating methods.

This is especially true with product packaging. Plastics and other products have long been the focus of many environmental agencies, as they tend to pile up in landfills. In response, many companies are adjusting their labeling and packaging approaches. As Yahoo notes, the need for green packaging solutions is anticipated to rise 6 percent each year through 2015.

If businesses want to reduce their impact on the environment and make their products more appealing to consumers, they too should consider switching to green packaging solutions.

Some label printing companies, including Lightning Labels, can assist manufacturers in this process. At Lightning Labels, we now have an entire line of eco-friendly labels, including BioStone. This paper material is on the the cutting edge of green packaging. It is a biodegradable, compostable material made from stone. Yes, stone!

To view our full lineup of green label materials, visit us online; or order free label samples.

The Fight Over Bubbly Continues

A few weeks ago, I blogged about the 1891 Treaty of Madrid. This international law officially designates the Champagne region of France as the only wine-making region in the world allowed to slap the word “Champagne” on their bottles. This treaty officially allows agents from the Interprofessional du Vin de Champagne, those James Bond-like secret agents of sparkling wine, to seize any mislabeled wine and summarily destroy the living schnapps out of an entire crop’s worth of mislabeled wine.

champagnelabelAt least, that’s the idea. As anyone who’s recently visited their local Albertson’s or Sam’s Club in search of a sparkling wine can tell you, not many American winemakers pay two corks’ worth of attention to that law. The problem is that some countries still haven’t officially recognized the treaty, a century or so after its signing. The United States has paid some lip service to the law, but (according to a study by Gomberg, Fredrickson & Associates) still allowed 50% of the nearly 100 million bottles of sparkling wine consumed in America each year to be mislabeled as “Champagne.”

US winemakers say that we wine drinkers only know “sparkling wine” as “Champagne” (like how some of us substitute “Tylenol” for “analgesic painkiller” or “Kleenex” for “tissue”), and that we assign some extra value to sparkling wine when it’s labeled as “Champagne.” It’s not fair, they say, for a particular region to “own” a word when it’s been adopted by the public to stand in for a generic type of product. Continue reading “The Fight Over Bubbly Continues” »

Getting to Grips with Label Adhesives

Labels can be ordered online from a quality printing company in a variety of shapes and sizes, and supplied in rolls or sheets. Labels are as diverse as the designs printed on them. All labels, however, have at least one common denominator: adhesive.  All labels feature an adhesive on one side, which is capable of bonding to another surface when pressure is applied.

There are three main types of label adhesive families, and the success of your label will often depend on whether or not you choose the right none. So think carefully before you order a roll of labels, and get expert advice on which label adhesive is the right one for you and your product.

Here are some label adhesives on the market today. One of them is certainly the right fit for you.

Removable Label Adhesives
These labels are all pressure sensitive, and can be removed without damaging the label or the product. They are ideal when selling products designed to be given as gifts, or when labels are used to seal products shut. Examples of applications where removable label adhesives could be used include curved surfaces such as test tubes, and rough surfaces like corrugated cardboard.

Freezer Adhesive
This type of label adhesives is ideal when items need to be kept either frozen or chilled. Different label adhesives are available that correspond to different temperature. These labels are used for items that are to be kept in a chiller cabinet of a store, frozen food, and for the labeling of specimens.

Permanent Label Adhesive
High ultimate adhesion categorizes this type of label, which means attempts to remove it will probably result in its destruction. Permanent industrial strength labels fall into this category as do standard permanent adhesives, which are ideal for corrugated board, films and non-polar surfaces. Highly curved surfaces, however, may not be suitable. Other applications may include direct labeling of food and wine bottles.

Repositionable Label Adhesive
These can be peeled off and used again in a different location, with the label remaining intact. Many types of window cling labels fall into this category. This also means that if a label is poorly applied, it’s possible to peel it off and try again.

Printed labels that display your product in the best light possible can make a difference to your business, so shop around and get the best. Before you do, however, do a bit of research about what type of label – and label adhesive – best fits your product. Your company deserves the best custom adhesive labels it can get.

A Brief History of Food Labeling Regulations

Today, we know what’s in a particular food by reading the ingredient panel and nutrition label on the box. Yet, as little as one 100 years ago, food ingredient lists had no such transparency. Milk adulterated with chalk, bread with sawdust sweepings and sausages with things even Upton Sinclair didn’t like to discuss were common at the turn of the last century. The history of food labeling is the history of consumers becoming more informed about their purchases.

Nutrition FactsDespite today’s hypersensitivity to food and its effect on our well-being, health concerns did not spark the first call for food labeling. Abraham Lincoln created the forerunner of the Food and Drug Administration in 1862, the Bureau of Chemistry, to target and regulate peddlers of nostrums and snake oils— food purity and nutrition were not a major concern of the time. Even when the first Committee on Food Standards convened in 1898, health was less a concern than cost; substituting cheap turmeric for saffron caused more consternation than cleanliness during processing.

It was not until Upton Sinclair’s published his expose of the meat-packing industry 1906, that the American public would no longer remain complacent about its food supply. Sinclair originally penned The Jungle as an indictment of unchecked capitalism, but the message its readers took was that the food they ate contained horrors. The novel spurred an act of Congress — the Food and Drugs Act of 1906 — and the first federal meat inspection program. In 1924, the Supreme Court expanded the Food and Drugs Act to condemnation of misleading product labels as well as adulteration of the products themselves. Continue reading “A Brief History of Food Labeling Regulations” »

Entrepreneur’s Bath & Body Products Go to the Dogs

Haute Dog Logo - Bath & Beauty Products for Dogs

Q&A with Customer Molly Meredith of HAUTEdog
(Fayetteville, AR)

Molly Meredith, Owner/Founder of HAUTEdogEditor’s Note: Molly Meredith is the owner and founder of HAUTEdog, a line of luxurious bath and body products created for dogs and the people that love them. This article is the first in a series of interviews with Lightning Labels customers that will be published each month on this blog.

Q: What does it mean to be a “haute” dog?

A: Our philosophy of “haute” means taking a little extra time & effort to help our dogs look and feel fabulous — and to do that in a healthy, safe & responsible way — by providing bath & beauty products that are all natural, physically and emotionally supporting our canines.

Q: How did your business get started?

A: As an animal lover my entire life, I finally reached a point where I had to put that love into action. My background is in medical skin care and my husband has a degree in bio-chemistry, so combining these skills and knowledge reinforced the product decision. The aspect of creating and designing these products is such a pleasure for me, and knowing that it’s all for dogs and people that love them makes it so rewarding.

Q: What products are you most proud of?

A: Well, the response to HAUTEdog’s bath gelées (shampoo & conditioner) is overwhelmingly wonderful, so that makes me feel great, but I find the finishing gloss drops to be beautiful, fun and simple and they happen to be our best seller.

Q: I understand that your products are vegan. How so?

A: That means that absolutely no animal by-products are used for HAUTEdog product ingredients.  For example, we use only kosher vegetable glycerin instead of glycerin from animal fat- it’s more expensive, but the trade off is worth it.  We also opted to not include beeswax in our restore paw butter since it’s a fine line of being an animal derivative. We believe that products for the well being of dogs should also be for the well being of animals, and that means all animals. Continue reading “Entrepreneur’s Bath & Body Products Go to the Dogs” »

A Hotel at Home?

moltonbrownIt’s vacation time! You’re off on a trip across America. Maybe you’re heading to play some unfamiliar golf courses in some faraway city. Maybe you’re overdue for a spa, and that one spa you read about in some southeastern part of the country sounds extra appealing. Or maybe you just want to go to bed at night and not have to worry about making the bed in the morning. It’s time to get a hotel room!

Ah, but which hotel is the hotel for you? Sometimes, it’s obvious: the only hotel in the area, say, or the hotel that’s partnered with the golf course so you save tons of money on your greens fees. Maybe it’s the cheapest hotel you can find, or the hotel that has the best swimming pool. The hotel nearest to the beach? The hotel with free wi-fi?

How about: the hotel with the best soap, shampoo, and body lotions? Yes, a very small set of people admit to picking their hotels based on the quality of the bathroom amenities. Of course, sometimes geographical or occupancy constraints limit their choices, but these lovers of fine lotions and bath salts admit that — all things being equal — they’d take a Hilton over a Sheraton or The Oriental over the Plaza, simply because one has bath beads and the other doesn’t.

The love goes so deep that a small industry has developed around their love: the “hotels at home” market. Most of us admit to taking home the occasional bar of soap or miniature conditioning bottle, but these people take it to the next level. That’s right: if you loved that little bar of soap shaped like a sea shell, that fluffy robe that seemed to hug you like your firstborn, or even if you just must have that shower curtain with the exact same shower curtain rings? Well, now you can buy those fine items online. Continue reading “A Hotel at Home?” »

How to Save Money on Label Design without Being Cheap

Smart businesses know how to save money on label design without compromising quality

When you need artwork created for your product labels, it’s almost always in your best interest to hire a professional graphic designer. After all, a product label is your most important, cost-effective marketing vehicle.

That said, times are tough. And high-quality graphic design isn’t cheap. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to save money on label artwork design — without being cheap compromising quality. Most of them involve saving time, which is especially important as graphic designers typically bill by the hour. Your time is a high value commodity, too.

1. Determine your budget. Before you contact a graphic designer, figure out how much you can afford to spend on label design. While this may seem like common sense, it isn’t common practice — especially for people working with design professionals for the first time. Keeping a realistic budget top of mind is essential when shopping for a design firm or independent designer. Once you find yourself face to face with a graphic designer, a budget will give you a starting point for planning your label design project.

2. Figure out what you want. You don’t need to hand your designer a full-color drawing the first time you meet, but you do need to determine the message you want your label to communicate, as well as the dimensions of the product container it will be affixed to. Being able to walk into a consultation with these basics already figured out will allow your designer to do what he or she does best — design — instead of billing you for something you can do yourself. After all, you know your product better than anyone else.

3. Hire a local designer. Working with a designer that you can communicate with in person is going to be more efficient than working out every single detail by phone and email. When you are in a face-to-face meeting, you can both focus on the task at hand with minimal interruptions. Good local designers are also easier to find. Ask your colleagues for recommendations. Tap your local network for suggestions and consult your Better Business Bureau. Once you compile a short list of possibilities, conduct interviews. Look for a graphic designer that presents himself as your business partner, one you can foresee working with on a long-term basis. Each firm and independent designer operates differently. Some offer brief consultations free of charge, while others will charge you for an initial consultation. In some cases, the consultation fee is deducted from your invoice if you end up becoming a client. Continue reading “How to Save Money on Label Design without Being Cheap” »

The Fight Over Bubbly

You may be surprised to learn that the Champagne you’re drinking may not, in fact, be Champagne. Since the signing of the Treaty of Madrid in 1891, the term “Champagne” is legally reserved for sparkling wines made exclusively in the Champagne region of France. International treaties observe the law with varying levels of enforcement; for example, the US officially recognizes the treaty, but still allows some sparkling wine makers to use “Champagne” on their product labels. The treaty officially recognizes the Champagne region as the owners of the “Champagne” brand. Any sparkling wine mislabeled as Champagne can be seized and destroyed by French legal authorities, the Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne.

15512dYet, the threat of destruction has not stopped hundreds of producers around the world from creating product labels with the Champagne name. Sparkling wine has a less prestigious image in many markets because consumers perceive it as a cheaper, poor-quality imitation of Champagne. Sparkling wine producers know that their product label is their wine’s most important selling tool. Using the term “Champagne” allows these producers to convey the sense of prestige that comes with the name, and consequently, drive down prices for genuine Champagne. This labeling practice is not unpopular — a recent study by Gomberg, Fredrikson & Associates states that over 50% of sparkling wine sold in the US is mislabeled as Champagne.

Since the region the wine is from is responsible for the taste and feel of a wine, this creates a problem. Winemakers usually label the region the grape was

grown in prominently on the bottle as the air, the moisture, the soil — the very chemical makeup of the ground in which it grows — affects the taste of a wine. In fact, some oenophiles claim they can taste a wine and tell if it’s from a specific region like Burgundy, Bordeaux, or Port. Strict regional wine-naming guidelines have helped winemakers grow their brands and protect their profits.

Not so in the case of Champagne, Switzerland. Since 1657, this village had traditionally produced wine labels with the name “Champagne.” In 2004, Switzerland conceded to stop using the name on wine labels to comply with the EU’s observation of the Treaty of Madrid. As a result, the village’s wine sales dropped from 110,000 to 32,000 that year. The village is now fighting the EU and Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne for the right to regain use of its name on wine labels.

In 2008, US consumers drank 94,736,000 bottles of sparkling wine produced here. If it’s true that more than half of sparkling wine in in this country has been misidentified as Champagne, almost 50 million bottles would have to be relabeled quickly if the US decided to require compliance with the Champagne law. That’s a hefty sum for American wineries to pay — one the online label industry would be glad to help ameliorate. The US, Russia, Vietnam, and a few other countries have not yet signed an agreement to adhere to the Champagne law.

It appears, however, that the US is on the path to compliance. Innovation in production, changes in market awareness, and effects from the recent economic downturn have added up to consumers drinking less expensive sparkling wine more often than Champagne. In fact, in 2009, the market growth of sparkling wine outperformed that of Champagne by 25%. It seems that a surge in popularity would diminish the pressure on producers to label their bottles as Champagne. Ultimately, whether the US signs an agreement or not, it is important that American consumers are aware of the origin of their bubbly and the possible effects their consumption could have on both the French and American wine markets.

Photo Credit: http://herschbein.posterous.com

Holiday Labels: A Solution to the Christmas Creep

Holiday-themed labels allow companies to take advantage of the holiday season.

As the Christmas Creep continues its inevitable sneak towards July, we’re already beginning to see the occasional holiday-themed packaging or labels show up in our shopping carts. If you’re unfamiliar with the idea of the “Christmas Creep,” allow us a bit of exposition. The Creep is a term used to describe the unstoppable advancement summer-ward the start of the holiday shopping season.

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The Creep isn’t limited to jolly packaging or holiday labels; you’ll hear jingle bells jangling in advertisements and see mistletoe hanging over cash registers, and it’s happening earlier and earlier in the year. In what feels like a century ago, but was really only a decade or so in the past, Black Friday—the day after Thanksgiving where retailers create sales so ludicrous that store employees and consumers have died in the shopping crush—was considered the “official” starting gun for the sprint to fill consumers’ credit cards with expensive gifts for loved ones.

Nowadays, head to a local mall or retail store, turn on your television, flip on the radio, and you’re likely to feel the barrage of the Christmas Creep ‘round Memorial Day. And it seems as if it’s working.

It’s easy to understand why retailers would prefer to extend the holiday shopping season; the “Christmas quarter” is also known as the “golden quarter,” the period where Americans forget about their credit problems, the global recession, or the fact that they ought to be thinking of savings accounts, college loan payments, paying down credit cards, or fixing that hole in the roof. The idea goes: if we can make shoppers get some holiday shopping done before Black Friday, they might be tempted to do even more shopping the day after Thanksgiving (and yet more again during the run-up to whatever gift-giving holiday each shopper observes). We Americans have a very short attention span, it seems, when it comes to gift-giving. Continue reading “Holiday Labels: A Solution to the Christmas Creep” »