Tag Archives: in-mold labeling

Add life to your product label!

Isn’t it funny how many marketers flock to use the terms ‘antioxidant,’ ‘fat free’, and other, similar ubiquitous terms?  Or how so many companies rush to enlist in the latest ‘green’ organization just to put a certified logo on its products’ labels (since over 55% of consumers look for a product with a ‘green connotation’)?  This is especially curious since research has proven that more people are more influenced by the colors and design of packaging versus alleged product claims clearly spelled out on the label.  For instance, more people are influenced and apt to believe a claim based on an earthy design, versus a certifiable emblem.  This brings us to solution number one!

1) Be honest

Be sure not to mislead consumers.  The term ‘unscented’ is a major culprit of this, and often misleading; unscented does NOT always mean that fragrances or perfumes have not been added.   This is very crucial at this time when the government is definitely cracking down on label claims! 

 2)      Don’t clutter your label!

 Less really can be more.  If a company clutters its package with testimonials, reasons to purchase the product, the package looks like a pity plea and sometimes leaves customers running.  Simple equates to elegance.  A customer feels more comfortable in purchasing the product when he or she feels empowered to decide for himself or herself.  The average consumer only glances at your product for 2-3 seconds (and is more frequently enticed initially by the picturesque quality and texture versus the copy).  Make a statement with your design that will intrigue customers in this very short time span. 

 3)      Does your message accurately reflect your campaign? 

Does the tone of the message and product photo match?  All thematic elements of a company, product, slogan, and package graphics should work together harmoniously and be representative of each other. 

 4)      Use a specialty label to set you apart. 

  •  With all of the current regulations surrounded required copy on labels, space is definitely limited.  For an exciting spin on putting advertising copy on your labels, try a QR Code that will link users to additional information! 
  •  Label materials can also set you apart.  Film labels are clear, less expensive, thin substrates.  They are elegant looking and the “no label look” is very striking.  The substrates that Vibrant Graphics prints on are 100% recyclable, which is appealing to customers!  Another specific type of material that definitely sets products apart is the use of holographic material.      
  •  If you have a clear glass or plastic container, two-sided labels look very classy, and are unique.  For example, on the opposite side of the product that the label is adhered to, it is possible to see through the container, and read the other (back) side of the label. 
  • Different shapes of labels are also eye-catching, which is possible by die-cutting!   

 5)      Design with location in mind.

  • It is the age of personalization, after all.  Since digital printing does not require expensive plates and is a web-to-print based printing solution, this is extremely cost efficient way to conduct test-market segmentation.  Digital printing offers increased personalization and allows the product distributor to include different messages on the product distributed in various regions.  This is extremely valuable when different locations require different messages or have different labeling requirements. 
  • Another use of digital printing is when you would like to change the product label color, depending on region;  colors have different connotations in different regions (such as green being correlated with religion in Ireland).  Blue is currently considered the safest global color.

6)      Make the label interactive.

Does your product have a story behind it?  Tell it.  Lots of products have clever and funny quips on the side or even under the cap like Snapple has!  Think of a unique way to position your product or have your consumers interact with your product.  Wheat Thins has a remarkable strategy of tying the consumer to the product!


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Filed under alternative packaging, Digital Printing, In-Mold Labeling, product labels, Vibrant Graphics

Vibrant Graphics CEO travels to Israel to attend HP’s “Commercial VIP Event”

Dinner by the Mediterranean Sea might not be a typical ‘Wednesday-night-happening’ for most, but it certainly was for Vibrant Graphics CEO, Mike Sewart.  Recently, Sewart embarked on a journey to Tel Aviv, Israel, to attend a “Commercial VIP Event,” hosted by Hewlett-Packard (HP) Indigo Digital Press Headquarters.    

This event served as an opportunity for Indigo’s technology partners (including journalists, visiting customers, and analysts) to interact with another and view each other’s wares.  During this event, HP reinforced their dominance in the printing industry by exhibiting its digital press manufacturing plant and the R&D facilities.  HP Shared the company’s newest WS 6000 Press.  This HP Indigo press is typically used for printing of labels, flexible packaging, folding cartons and specialty printing.  It is unique because of the streamlined digital workflow versus analogue.  Sewart avowed that there are many opportunities with the WS6000 Press, including printing at a higher speed and expanding larger print-runs.        

 Sewart was able to see a product demonstration of the new HP Indigo 6000 press in the R&D facilities he toured.  “Indigo provided insight on the current context of digital printing and presented growing market opportunities.”  Two areas of growth that were reported to have a growing market opportunity were shrink sleeves and flexible packaging. 

 A focus of the conference that Sewart would like to further implement at Vibrant’s local production facilities is to further increase digital printing reliability and reduce waste by using software applications for digital technology.  Sewart would like to reduce additional waste using automated print inspection as well as computer graphics technology. 

Sewart was impressed by the quality and attention to detail that the Indigo operators in Israel had. The business model used in Israel promotes low emissions, saves money, and will leave a lighter footprint.  Reportedly, the factory was highly monitored, which contributed to their lean approach.  “Everyone is so prepared and detail oriented that nobody is ever out of parts…the business model used in Israel is very unique and offers better operational agility,” said Sewart.  “Engineers at the headquarters think of every aspect in advance.”  For example, there is continuous testing to ensure that the electrical wiring is sufficient in order to avoid any shorts in the system. 

 Israel currently ranks 3rd in the world for technological advancements and 1st for R&D investments, and rightfully so.  HP is the epitome of the aforementioned technological advancements and digital printing innovations.  HP is constantly redefining printing options and processes, and Vibrant Graphics has found a great company to partner with in our endeavors.

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Paper or Plastic?

Baby-Globe from: http://ht.ly/24qqG

Baby-Globe from: http://ht.ly/24qqG

One of the “most overused marketing phrases” of 2009 was “green”, according to several advertising and marketing sources.  It seemed like everywhere you turned, everything was GREEN!  Don’t expect this bragging war to be over anytime soon.  The ‘swagger’ wars have just begun – each product industry claims why what they have is better than the next guy.  There are even battles to fight inside the industry, such as which plastic product is better than another plastic product.  This makes sense though, since over 80% of consumers expect their product to be affiliated with sustainable material in efforts to be environmentally friendly.  So if you’re not already looking into eco-friendly solutions, now is a good time to investigate alternatives!

Recently, California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) issued new rules that may go into effect very soon. These new rules would stipulate which chemical ingredients in products that may pose a health or environmental concern. The DTSC could potentially require companies to submit specific product details for review, including data on safety and sustainability for recycling. The DTSC seems to be keeping the lines of communication open during this review process, offering ‘alternatives assessments’, which is commendable!

Plastics have gotten a lot of heat. Recently, Kellogg’s recalled 28 types of cereal which resulted in 1.7 million instances of off-flavoured cereal. That is sure to wake you up in the morning! (“Kellogg said a “slightly elevated” level of a substance commonly present at very low levels in the FDA-approved waxy resins in packaging materials was responsible for the off-flavours and odours in four types of its breakfast snacks.”).

From Kellogg’s recalls to California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) crack-down, we are sure to have more ‘unrest’ with the plastics industry. BUT, let’s compare that with the paper industry.

There are different production methods used in both the printing industry and the polypropylene industry. Each industry COULD make a change and ethically and responsibility produce goods. For instance, in the printing industry there is an alternative way to produce paper or labels which is environmentally desirable; there are sustainably managed forests which essentially “recycle” by re-pulping the old paper in order to manufacture new paper. As we know, companies do not always opt for the most eco-friendly.

Paper production involves a large amount of water, and makes use of toxic chemicals. Thus, the chemicals that mills located on waterways use contaminate the water. According to the US Energy Information Agency, the paper industry releases about 212 million tons of hazardous substances into the air and water. “These amounts are comparable to the U.S. primary metal industry — and are ranked as the third largest user of industrial water.” (http://www.secret-life.org/paper/paper_environment.php#Q8 , 2010). Though most paper mills have attempted to become more eco-conscious by generating the power from wood wastes for the manufacturing process, “U.S. government figures show that pulp and paper manufacturers are the fourth largest industrial emitters of greenhouse gases”. (http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/efficiency/carbon_emissions/carbon_mfg.html)

Take a look at these paper-recycling facts:

• Paper bags generate 70% more air and 50 times more water pollutants than plastic bags
• Paper bags use 84 times as much energy to recycle compared to a plastic bag

Even if you recycle, the outcome is still questionable. Unlike paper, the most harmful aspect of polypropylene (plastic) is not the production, but rests on the consumers’ responsibility to recycle. Also, because of the durable nature of plastics, they are able to withstand high temperatures or other environmental conditions. There are more uses for polypropylene, and on average it has a lifespan of 12 years. (http://timeforchange.org/plastic-bags-and-plastic-bottles-CO2-emissions ). I would like to see a paper bag last that long!

Here is a helpful link which shows how well both paper and plastic are recycles: http://www.recycling-revolution.com/recycling-facts.html . According to this, Americans use 2,500,000 plastic bottles every hour! [BUT] most of them are thrown away!

As far as polypropylene labels, there are safe ways to print on plastic labels. For instance, the process that Vibrant Graphics use to produce polypropylene labels reduces the amount of scrap (we have less than 3 %!). It takes less material to calibrate our press and our process is geared towards shorter runs which encourages the use of less overall material. We also recycle the little waste that we do produce in order to reduce our carbon footprint. Finally, our inks do not contain any hazardous chemicals and are water-based.

For this round, I’m going to say that plastics kicked paper out of the arena. Now, the question is, which plastics’ packaging solution is best?

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In-Mold Labeling and Digital Printing Technology – Two Technologies Combine to Give You Awesome Results

In-mold labeling is cool and different – imagine fusing the label into the actual product, making the two become one, so you have a hard time telling where the product starts and the label ends. (For more on what in-mold labeling involves, be sure to read our other white paper).

Digital printing is cool and different – so cool that it’s projected in many circles to generate over one billion dollars a year in revenue. It’s printing without plates, optimized for smaller, on-demand runs, and it easily handles personalization of each and every piece.

Both technologies are pretty killer by themselves, but combining them is where you truly start to get breathtaking results. And if you’re involved in the manufacturing or consumer goods world in any way, digitally printed in-mold labels should really be a head turner. Why?

The Personalized “No Label Look” – It’s hard to resist.

We have a customer who orders personalized drinkware – lots and lots of it – for various organizations. Each time our customer places an order, there are as many as twenty different label runs on the same ticket, with each run featuring a different picture and information for the specific organization. You can do that in traditional printing, but plate costs would become astronomical for all of these different personalized pieces, and it wouldn’t be cost-effective to order different labels in groups. Digital printing operates from a database, not plates, so it can easily handle multiple sku’s in a single run – because who really wants all of their labels to be the same? And if you’re looking to make your product stand out, traditional labels that you’d find at most digital printers are frankly sort of boring – everyone can print those. In-mold labels, on the other hand, are unique, aren’t easily replicated, and provide a truly eye-catching experience, making any plastic product more desirable. It’s the “no label” look, and it’s catching on in a big way.

Longer-lasting brilliant graphics. Just what your product needed.

As digital printing gets more advanced, the quality of the graphics get better and better. Forget photo-quality…our graphics are so good that they seem to jump off the page and come to life. A recent Nielson/Bases study showed that more consumers gain information about products they intend to purchase from product packaging than from TV ads. If that’s the case, making a good first impression with your packaging is essential, and there’s no better way to make your message pop than by using digital printing. The beauty of in-mold labeling is that it is extremely functional and durable, because what’s the good of a great looking label if it’s easily destroyed? In-mold labels are much harder to scratch or deface, and much more fade resistant than traditional labels, because they’re built into the wall of the product. They can’t be removed from the product, so your message is in front of the customer at all times. Combining the best of both technologies takes your labels to a whole new level of functionality, and it might just take your sales to a new level too.

Green. Greener. Great.

Let’s face it, we don’t see manufacturers as a green segment of the population. Many people hear the word and imagine towering smokestacks choking the oxygen out of our atmosphere and tons of energy wasted from complex, high octane processes. The printing industry typically gets a bad rap because it’s based around the production of paper, which is often obtained through deforestation and not often recycled for further use. And traditional printers do have a problem with generating excessive waste, which occurs during the lengthy set-up process necessary for each run. Digital printing doesn’t create that waste, because set-up is as simple as pulling a file from the database, there’s no mess that occurs with creating plates, and it doesn’t take much material to calibrate the press. Unlike traditional pressure-sensitive paper labels, in-mold labeling doesn’t require adhesives, or paper at all – most of these labels are made out of plastic. And our labels are produced on super thin materials, helping us keep our material inventory and overall waste low. Once the label has been fused into the product, the two can be recycled together, making it easier to keep the planet clean.

Digital printing and in-mold labeling have both been around for some time in their respective industries, but few printers have yet to harness the power of both technologies and create an entirely new product. We’re one of them, and our technology recently won an innovation award in the city of Milwaukee. If your products involve plastics of any kind, and you’re looking for a better way to brand what you’re selling, take a look at digitally printed in-mold labels. It’s not traditional, but different stands out every time, and daring to be different just might give you an edge in the market.

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Five Top Benefits of IML For Your Brand

In-Mold Labeled Cup

Cup featuring an in-mold label

In-mold labeling is a fast-growing segment of the consumer packaging market, but most people have no idea what it involves. It’s definitely not traditional, but the results are often outstanding. When a product uses in-mold labeling, it is typically made out of molded plastic, which is where the “in-mold” comes in. The label is actually incorporated during the manufacturing of the product, rather than after the product is completed. In-mold labeling can be used for both injection mold and blow molded products, including bottles, plates, containers, and more. During this process, the label is placed into the open product mold at the manufacturing facility, and held in place by a vacuum or static attraction. Once the mold has closed, hot plastic resin is injected into the mold, forming it into the shape of the final object. Since the label is already in the mold, the plastic surrounds the label, and when the finished piece comes off the line, the label has been permanently molded into the wall of the product. There are many advantages for this process, but there are five exceptional reasons to consider in-mold labeling for your next project.

  1. No secondary decoration operations required. You can absolutely capitalize on saved time, money, and energy that come from eliminating secondary decorations, like hot stamping, pad printing, or traditional pressure-sensitive labels. The label is added during the formation of the product in a one-step process, so you won’t have to wait longer for your products to be decorated or pay more money for the extra steps required.
  2. In today’s eco-friendly world, in-mold labeling is very sustainable compared to traditional methods. Think about it this way – you are eliminating waste created in secondary decorating processes. You are eliminating the use of resin because there’s no need to hold the label to the container. And you can recycle the entire container with the label together, because the two are one functional product.  You also conserve a lot of energy by completely eliminating these materials and processes.
  3. It’s an extremely durable application. Your label, which often contains the most important message about your product and its benefits, is less likely to scratch or fade because it’s molded into the product for a stronger construction. And there’s no easy way to remove the label, so you can ensure that your message is always in front of the consumer.
  4. In-mold labeling is easily automated. Although at first glance it appears highly technical – and it does require a degree of aptitude — today’s technology makes it pretty simple to incorporate in-mold labeling into your current manufacturing process, whether you do it on-site or not. You’ll be streamlining your decorating process with a one-shot procedure, and we have experts in the industry who can assist you through the process.
  5. Your product will benefit from the “no label look.” As consumers, we are always looking for what’s new and different on the shelves. In-mold labeling is unique and there are still many companies who are not taking advantage of this technology, so if you do, your products will truly stand out. In-mold labeling also provides visual appeal because you can decorate all sides of the container, with high-resolution graphics.  The label blends seamlessly into the container, creating the “no label look.”

In-mold labeling is a technical field that takes some training to master and some research to fully understand, but the benefits for your brand are pretty straightforward. And these benefits might be just what you need to push your product over the top to long-term success.

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