Diversified Labeling Solutions

LABEL FACTFRIDAY

Archive of our popular social media campaign.

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 LABEL INDUSTRY FACTS & TRIVIA

 

LABEL HISTORY, CONSTRUCTION, CONTENT & TRIVIA.

Label Fact Friday is our popular social media campaign where we post weekly label industry information. Each Friday, our social media followers get access to a short, label related fact or story. Topics include label industry history, general label construction and terminology, information on types of labels and label content, label design, and general label related trivia or fun facts. We've archived these label facts below. Feel free to browse through them. We hope you will find the information useful and interesting, or at least give you a leg up in any label related trivia contest. 

 

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  First Barcode

The first product to be scanned with a UPC barcode was a pack of Wrigley’s gum at an Ohio supermarket in June of 1974. The gum was picked for the first scan to highlight that even very small items could be marked with a barcode. And to recognize it's place in history, this particular small but mighty pack of gum is now housed in the Smithsonian.

 

Due to what was in the early 1970's very expensive equipment needed to read the barcodes, it would still be several years after this first scan until barcodes really caught on. But by 1980, 8,000 grocery stores a year were converting to the use of barcodes and soon after they became the dominant method for ringing up and tracking purchases.

 

Today, the use of barcodes goes far beyond UPC labels in the grocery store. We see 1D and 2D barcodes in warehouse and distribution, shipping, manufacturing, healthcare, entertainment, transportation, education, consumer goods, hospitality and more.

  Flexographic Rebrand

The first patented flexographic press was built in England in 1890, although it wasn’t called a flexographic press. The early press used a water-based ink that smeared easily, so it was often called “Bibby’s Folly”, referring to one of its inventors.

 

In the early 1900s similar presses began using an oil-based aniline ink. The process became known as aniline printing. This aniline ink was used extensively until the 1940s, when the FDA classified it as unsafe to use in food packaging.

 

Sales plummeted, even after new, safe aniline inks were approved in 1949. Worried about the industry image, companies tried to rebrand the process, often to no avail. Ultimately, the Mosstyper, the Journal of the Mosstype Corporation, conducted a poll to select a new name for the process. Over 200 names were submitted before being narrowed down to three possibilities: permatone, rotopak, and flexographic. In the end, readers of The Mosstyper, of course, chose flexographic.

 

Today, those early safety issues are a thing of the past, and flexographic presses are used to print much of the world’s packaging and labels.

  HP Indigo History

The history of HP Indigo stretches back decades. Indigo was founded in Israel in 1977 by Benny Landa, who was born in Poland to WWII refugee parents. His interest in print technology was peaked working in his father’s photo shop. His father was also an inventor and devised a camera using bicycle parts and pulleys that captured images directly onto photographic paper. Landa studied physics, engineering, psychology and literature in Israel and is a graduate of the London Film School.

 

After Indigo was founded, the first several decades of the company were spent primarily on research and development before several high-profile products were developed and released in the 1990s. Indigo really took off after it was acquired by HP in 2002. Today HP Indigo is widely seen as the global standard bearer for digital print quality, and Landa is known as “the father of commercial digital printing”.

 

In 2016, HP Indigo was honored as one of leading Israeli inventions that had a global-scale impact. The image of an HP Indigo press was also featured on a commemorative postage stamp honoring Israeli Achievements.

 

Contact DLS if you’d like to see how HP Indigo’s exceptional print quality can help your customers.

  RFID Makes its Appearance in WWII

World War II (WWII) is widely considered the first time RFID-like technology was used – to help identify incoming airplanes. Discovered in 1935, radar was used throughout the American, British, and German military. However, radar signals used to detect incoming aircraft couldn’t tell whether the aircraft were pilots returning home or an enemy attack. The Germans got around this problem by having their pilots execute a unique roll maneuver that altered the radar signal. The Allies came up with a different solution. British researchers developed a system where they put transmitters on all British planes, and when they received signals from radar stations on the ground, they began broadcasting a signal back that identified the aircraft as friendly. That is the basic concept of passive RFID operation: a signal is sent to a transponder, which wakes up and reflects back a signal.

Today, RFID technology is widely used by not just the military, but by a wide range of industries to track and capture information about products, assets and inventory. Contact DLS for more information on how RFID labels can help your customers.

  Before the Barcode - KarTrak

Before the first pack of gum was scanned with a UPC code, the railroad industry tried to use an early barcode system to track millions of freight cars as they moved across the country. Several companies were simultaneously developing tracking systems for this purpose. After competitive field tests of 4 different systems, the Association of American Railroads selected KarTrak ACI tags as a national standard to be installed on all railcars beginning in 1967.

 

KarTrak ACI was developed by GTE Sylvania. The tags consisted of a plate with 13 individual horizontal labels. The labels were made of a retroreflective plastic in blue, red or white, and could be read quickly from 9-12 feet away. The data from the scanner was then transferred to a nearby rail equipment hut containing the computer equipment for processing.

 

Initially, both the railroads and GTE Sylvania had high hopes for the system both as a profitable product and a way to streamline railroad freight operations. But ultimately, the system failed because the labels were difficult to maintain, and unable to withstand the elements. Battered by snow and dirt, the labels would become worn and tattered, leading to an unacceptable 20% or more failure rate. Unable to provide the data the railroad industry needed, KarTrak was phased out. Eventually, decades later the railroads adopted RFID tags to track their freight cars.

 

The failure of KarTrak underlines the importance of choosing the right label depending on use conditions. Contact the DLS label experts for help choosing your customer’s labels.

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  Water Activated vs. Pressure Sensitive Labels

Most of us have had the “pleasure” of licking a gummed envelope or postage stamp. But did you know that prior to the invention of the self-adhesive label in the 1930’s, commercial labels largely utilized this type of water-activated adhesive?

 

Wide-spread use of pre-gummed labels began in the late 1800’s. The gum paste on these labels was usually an animal-based adhesive that needed moisture to activate the stickiness. This was an improvement to users needing to apply glue to labels, but it was still messy and the adhesive didn’t stand up well to environmental conditions like heat or moisture.

 

Pressure sensitive self-adhesive labels meant a large decline in the use of water-activated gummed labels, but didn’t entirely replace them. There are industries that still utilize water-activated tape or labels. But the ease of application, flexibility and durability of pressure sensitive labels makes them the best choice for most label applications. Of course many of us still wet our envelopes and postage stamps, but self-adhesive options exist here too.

 

DLS offers a variety of pressure sensitive labels and adhesives appropriate for a wide range of uses and markets. Contact us to learn more.

  Wine Label History

Wine labels have a long history. In fact, wine jars labeled (engraved) with vintage, region and winemaker were found in King Tut's tomb.

 

The oldest hand-written wine label was created by French monk Pierre Perignon (yes, like the champagne) in the 17th century. It was made of parchment and tied to the bottle with string.

 

Lithography brought printing in mass quantities and something close to modern wine labels. As the printing process has advanced, so too have wine labels. Wine makers in the 19th century incorporated color and design to differentiate their product, including coats of arms, portraits, landscapes or medals.

 

In the 1950’s, legislation required information like where wine was bottled, who bottled it, the type of grape, vintage, alcohol content and volume.

 

Today’s wine labels are still required to provide this information. But the designs are incredibly diverse – ranging from traditional to downright playful.

 

Whether you need a relatively simple wine label, or a complicated die-cut with special augmentations and finishing, contact DLS.

  Nutrition Label History

Whether we pay attention to them or not, we’re all familiar with nutrition labels. But did you know that the requirement to provide nutrition information in this format is a relatively recent one? While there were some labels that contained nutrition information on food in the early 1900’s, the need for such labels wasn’t fully realized until the 1970s. This was largely due to the fact that most food was sold in its natural form, or in bulk.

 

With the proliferation of packaged foods, a standard way to inform consumers of what they were eating became more important. In 1972 the FDA proposed regulations that specified a format to provide nutrition information on packaged food labels. But the use of these labels was voluntary except for companies who added nutrients to their products or made specific nutrition claims. It wasn’t until the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act of 1990 that nutrition labels were made mandatory. Since then, there have been only minor changes to the label format or what’s included (such as the addition of trans fat).

 

Contact DLS to help your customers with FDA compliant labels.

  History of Pharmacy Labels

Imagine that the directions for your prescription were actually written by hand… or perhaps that there were no instructions at all. Printed drug labels came into wide-spread use in the 1800s.

 

Pharmacists would buy books containing sheets of printed labels, or go to the same newspapers in which they advertised to buy sheets of labels. They would then need to cut the individual labels out and glue them to bottles of medicine. Initially, these labels would only have the name of the medicine, and possibly the pharmacy. But there was often no information on dosage or how to take the medicine.

 

In the 1860s, it became common for these preprinted labels to have space for additional information. In some cases, labels were “fill in the blank”, with wording such as “Take __ spoonfuls as directed by Dr. __”. Or the labels would have pharmacist information and branding, with space for more detailed information and instructions to be written by hand.

 

Today, it is common for labels used by many industries to be preprinted with branding or standard information, with space left for printing additional information – either by hand or with a printer. Contact DLS for help with your customer’s preprinted labels.

 

 

 

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  Label Anatomy

The main components of a label are the facestock, adhesive and liner.

 

Think of the facestock as the printed label. This can be made up of various papers, films or even vinyl depending on the eventual label use. For instance, laser-printed labels will use a different facestock than thermal printed labels.

 

The adhesive makes the label stick and a label may use rubber or acrylic products. The right adhesive will ensure that the label continues to perform once applied. For example, rubber adhesives may not work well when exposed to UV or chemicals.

 

The liner keeps your labels from sticking together and can be made with paper or film, with different release coatings depending on how the label is eventually going to be applied. For example, labels applied with high speed automation would use a different liner than labels that are applied by hand.

 

In addition to these three layers, there are options for a variety of topcoats, primers or embellishments.

 

Luckily, when you work with DLS, we make it easy for you to find the right label, with all the right components for your customers.

  Die Cutting Types and Basics

Ever wonder how labels get their shape? Whether a label is a simple circle, a rectangle with rounded corners or a complex logo cutout, the shape is cut during printing or conversion using a process called die cutting. Die cutting can either be accomplished using a pre-made die and a press, or digitally using a laser.

 

A die is a special metal cutter that has been created to match the desired shape of the label. Think of a die as a very shallow cookie cutter. The die physically cuts into the label as it is passed through the die cutter, creating the correct size and shape. Depending on the design of the label, the die can cut all the way through to create individual labels, or it can just “kiss” the label, leaving the liner behind.

 

These dies can be made up of a flat sheet of metal that is pressed onto the labels using a flatbed press, or the die can be made of a thin, flexible sheet of metal that is mounted onto a cylinder that rolls over the labels.

 

Laser die cutting is newer technology that utilizes a high-speed laser to follow the die lines to shape the label. Laser die cutting allows you to create complicated label shapes, without the additional time and potential expense of creating a physical die.

 

There are advantages and disadvantages to using either a physical die or laser die cutting. There are also other considerations that should be looked at when creating a shaped label such as whether the shape will make it difficult to apply the label. Contact DLS anytime and we will help you determine the shape and die cut method that works best for your customer’s labels.

  Variable Printing

You’ve probably gotten a piece of direct mail that is meant to look like it was printed just for you, perhaps including your name in the salutation. This type of personalization is accomplished with variable data printing. Unlike traditional printing where each printed piece is exactly the same, variable data printing is a digital print technique that uses information from a database to change text or graphics so that each finished piece can be unique.

 

This powerful print tool goes far beyond replacing a customer name though. With variable data printing, it is possible to swap one or several elements including color, images, text, data or even the complete design. Digital printing makes variable printing possible because the image is redrawn for each print.

 

Variable printing can be used for a wide variety of label uses including consecutive numbering, barcodes, regional packaging, A/B testing, personalized products, customer tracking, serialization and more.

 

Consider changing things up for your customer’s labels with variable printing. Contact DLS for more information or ideas.

  Laser Die Cutting

The principle of the laser dates back to 1917, when Albert Einstein first described the theory of stimulated emission. There is some controversy over who actually invented the laser, but lasers were first used for cutting industrial parts in the mid 1960s. Since then, lasers have made their way into the printing world, with their use especially taking off with the growth of digital printing and laser die cutting.

 

Laser die cutting is a process that uses a high-speed laser to accurately and efficiently cut materials into custom shapes. Instead of using a physical die to cut a label, a laser traces a die line that is included in the print file – essentially “burning” or cutting the substrate and leaving a smooth, precise cut. Laser die cutting can be used to cut labels of almost any shape, including complex shapes. It can also be used to create perforation, crease/score lines and etching. Because there is no need to create a physical die, laser die cutting saves time and money. It is also extremely flexible since there is no need to change out dies between jobs. It is a cost-effective alternative for short label runs and prototype labels.

 

Contact DLS to learn more about all of our die cut options.

  Variable Printing for Labels

You’ve probably gotten a piece of direct mail that is meant to look like it was printed just for you, perhaps including your name in the salutation. This type of personalization is accomplished with variable data printing. Unlike traditional printing where each printed piece is exactly the same, variable data printing is a digital print technique that uses information from a database to change text or graphics so that each finished piece can be unique.

 

This powerful print tool goes far beyond replacing a customer name though. With variable data printing, it is possible to swap one or several elements including color, images, text, data or even the complete design. Digital printing makes variable printing possible because the image is redrawn for each print.

 

Variable printing can be used for a wide variety of label uses including consecutive numbering, barcodes, regional packaging, A/B testing, personalized products, customer tracking, serialization and more.

 

Consider changing things up for your customer’s labels with variable printing. Contact DLS for more information or ideas.

  HP Indigo Label Printing Process

HP Indigo is known for exceptional print quality. But what makes it different from other digital printing? The secret lies in HP’s proprietary Liquid Electrophotography (LEP) process. LEP uses HP ElectroInk, a special liquid ink that is electrically charged to control its placement onto a photoconductor plate.

 

The image is transferred from the photoconductor plate to a heated blanket, where the image dries completely into a very thin ink layer. The complete image is then transferred onto the media. Because the rubbery blanket conforms to the topography of the substrate, the image mirrors the texture and shine of the label stock. Also, because the image is completely created and dried on the blanket, it is possible to have a very high print resolution and quality regardless of the media.

 

Contact DLS to see how your customers can benefit from HP Indigo label printing.

  Cold Foils

Brands that are looking for a way to help their product stand out will often add metallic foils to their labels. One of the most economical ways to add foil to a label is with cold foil printing. Cold foil is an inline process where a UV-curable adhesive is “printed” onto the label surface where the foil is desired. Foil is pressed onto the adhesive, and the excess foil is stripped away from the areas without adhesive—leaving behind the foil design. The labels then run through an ultra-violet light to cure the adhesive. After the foil is applied, varnish or laminate can be added to the label for added durability. 

 

Cold foil is available in a wide variety of colors and even patterns, including holographic options. Cold foil works best on smooth facestock, and is perfect for films. Unlike hot foil options, that rely on heat for foil application, cold foil is also a good choice for heat sensitive substrates. An additional benefit of cold foil vs. hot foil is that with cold foil, there is no need to create a die. This makes the process faster and more economical.

 

Contact DLS to help your customers create a wow factor with foil on their labels.

  Label Registration

Do you know what those crosshairs are on a printing proof (or bottom of your cereal box)? These are registration marks. In printing, registration (or register) relates to the importance of precision alignment and placement. When printing something with more than one color, each color will be printed separately by the printing press. For example, with four color flexographic printing, each ink color (cyan, magenta, yellow and black) is applied with a separate plate. These four colors are then applied one after the other on a printing press. By overlapping each other on the paper, they combine to create a full-color image. Proper alignment, or registration of these layers is critical for a sharp image. If one of these layers isn’t properly registered, colors may blend, images may be fuzzy, there may be gaps between colors or color halos will appear on the edge of graphics. Although registration most often refers to the alignment of colors, accurate registration is equally important for die cutting, as well as effects such as spot varnishing or foil application.

 

Almost every print method is subject to slight registration shift during the printing and cutting process. The registration of printed pieces is affected not only by the initial settings on the production equipment, but also by any movement of the paper as it runs through the equipment. Maintaining proper registration requires a skilled press operator. He or she will monitor the job to make sure it is properly aligned. For some print jobs, there are also adjustments that can be made during the design and prepress process to help alleviate potential registration problems.

 

Trust DLS to keep your customers’ labels aligned.

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  Label Varnishes

Do you want your labels to have a smooth matte finish, or would you prefer shiny and glossy? Maybe your preference is somewhere in between? Varnishes can provide countless options to change the look and feel of a label.

 

A varnish is a clear liquid coating applied to your label during the printing process. They can provide a wide variety of finishes to protect a label, help inks bond with label paper, or contribute to the overall label appearance and design. In simplest terms, a matte varnish has little or no sheen to it, while a gloss varnish provides shine. There are a variety of matte or gloss varnish options available – as well as the possibility of lightly or heavily applying varnish. The label material that the varnish is applied to will also affect the final label appearance. This means there are numerous possible finish options that fall between a very dull matte and super high-gloss.

 

Varnish is added to labels just as ink is. It can be applied to the entire label (flood), or to specific areas of the label (spot). Spot varnishes, in particular, can be used to add unique contrast and texture to a label.

 

Contact DLS to incorporate varnish into your next label project.

 

  Label Laminates

Lamination can provide various levels of protection as well as opportunities to enhance the appearance of a label. A laminate is a thin layer of film adhered to the surface of a label. This additional layer can help protect against scuffing and smudging, exposure to oils, chemicals or liquids, or exposure to UV and extreme weather or temperature conditions.

 

Label laminates are available in a variety of materials. The most common laminates are polypropylene or polyester. There are also options for UV resistant or thermal transfer laminates, as well as a wide variety of appearance enhancing specialty laminates such as metallic, holographic or iridescent films. Like varnishes, label laminates are available in a variety of finishes from matte to super glossy.

 

Contact DLS for help determining if your customer’s labels need a laminate, as well as which laminate works best for their unique label project.

  How Does HP Indigo Label Printing Work?

HP Indigo is known for exceptional print quality. But what makes it different from other digital printing? The secret lies in HP’s proprietary Liquid Electrophotography (LEP) process. LEP uses HP ElectroInk, a special liquid ink that is electrically charged to control its placement onto a photoconductor plate.

 

The image is transferred from the photoconductor plate to a heated blanket, where the image dries completely into a very thin ink layer. The complete image is then transferred onto the media. Because the rubbery blanket conforms to the topography of the substrate, the image mirrors the texture and shine of the label stock. Also, because the image is completely created and dried on the blanket, it is possible to have a very high print resolution and quality regardless of the media.

 

Contact DLS to see how your customers can benefit from HP Indigo label printing.

 

  What is a Label Converter?

What is a Label Converter? At its most basic, the word convert means to change something into another form. Label converters essentially change master rolls of raw label material into usable labels. A label converter processes large rolls of label material in varying sizes, sometimes weighing up to several thousands of pounds.

 

The conversion process can vary depending on the specifics of the end label product, but it can involve cutting the large rolls down to prepare them for printing, die cuts, applying varnishes, laminates or embellishments, producing finished rolls, sheets or fanfolds. The end result is custom blank or printed labels—made to a customer’s specifications.

  Thermal Transfer vs. Direct Thermal Labels

What is the difference between a Thermal Transfer and Direct Thermal label?

 

Direct thermal printing uses heat to apply the image directly onto the print media with the printhead. When the label travels under the printhead, a chemical reaction takes place with the label media and only the portions touching the printhead will darken. Direct thermal printing does not require ribbons. Therefore, the printers are smaller. Most direct thermal labels are not scratch resistant, nor do they last long in high heat or when exposed to sunlight. Receipts printed at a store are a great example of direct thermal printing.

 

Thermal transfer labels are more durable than direct thermal labels. Thermal transfer printing uses ribbons that hold ink to “transfer” the image onto the media. This is done with the same printheads used in direct thermal printing. In fact, a lot of the roll media printers are set up to print both thermal transfer and direct thermal. Thermal transfer ribbons come in different formulations and can be ordered in a variety of colors.

 

Contact DLS for help determining which works best for your thermal label printing.

  Labels and UV Exposure

As anyone who has ever spent the day at the beach without sunscreen can tell you… the sun can do a lot of damage. And labels aren’t immune to the destructive power of sun exposure. Sunlight, specifically light at the ultraviolet or UV end of the spectrum, can cause considerable wear and damage to labels. 

 

UV rays from direct sunlight can break down the chemical bonds found in inks, which leads to fading or bleaching of the label design. Fading is especially pronounced with bright colors such as reds, yellows and oranges. This can be particularly problematic for critical safety labels that need to not only remain readable, but rely on these brighter safety colors to be easily recognizable. Additionally, sun exposure can cause certain label face stocks to become discolored, crack, peel or shrink. And some adhesives, such as rubber-based ones, can also deteriorate in the sun.

 

Luckily, much like there are solutions to help the fair-skinned survive a day at the beach, there are options to help labels last even under direct UV exposure. Fading can be avoided with the use of special UV-resistant ink made with pigments that aren’t as easily affected by sunlight. Laminates and varnishes can be added to provide additional protection by helping screen out harmful UV rays adding even more longevity to the label. And in some cases, labels can be printed with thicker coats of colors that are more prone to fading – to help slow the effects of the sunlight. An experienced label provider like DLS can help select the appropriate face stock, adhesive, ink, and topcoat or laminate to help labels stand up to the sun and elements.

  Serving Up Coffee with Linerless Labels

It’s been a big week for coffee. September 29 was National Coffee Day, and October 1 is International Coffee Day. If you got one of the many free cups offered at coffee shops throughout the country, there’s a good chance your cup of joe was labeled with a linerless label.

 

Traditional pressure sensitive labels are usually produced with a silicone backing or liner. Once the label is applied, the liner is discarded. In comparison, linerless labels adhere to themselves, essentially serving as their own liners. This is accomplished by applying a release coating to the top of the label facestock. The labels are easily peeled off the surface of the label underneath, but they will securely grip the surface when applied.

 

Linerless labels have been around for quite some time, but their adoption has been relatively slow. However, as the technology has improved and demand for more sustainable labeling and packaging options has skyrocketed, use of linerless labels has increased.

 

Linerless labels provide several benefits. They produce less waste since there is no liner to dispose of. Linerless labels are faster to apply without the need to separate liners from labels. And because there are more labels per roll, linerless labels decrease shipping costs and require less storage space.

 

Talk to DLS for both traditional pressure sensitive and linerless labels.

 

 

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  Microtext

To the naked eye, microtext may appear as a solid line or simply part of a design. But magnify it and you will find teeny tiny text. Microtext is used as a hard to reproduce security/anti-counterfeit feature.

 

A high-profile use of microtext is US currency. Can you find the microtext in these bills?

  • $5 - “FIVE DOLLARS” in the squiggles
  • $10 - “THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA TEN DOLLARS THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” above Hamilton’s name
  • $20 - “THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 20 USA 20 USA” on Jackson's left
  • $50 and $100 - “THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” in Grant and Franklin’s collars

 

In the world of labels, microtext is used to combat counterfeit or pirated products. Brands incorporate microtext as part of their label design so that savvy consumers can differentiate between their product and imposters. But not all printers are equal when it comes to microtext. Differences in ink and print technology can drastically effect how small text can be and still be readable when magnified. At DLS, we can print clear text as small as 0.5 pt using our HP Indigo.

 

If your customers could benefit from microtext for their brand labels, contact us and we can help you find the best solution.

  Authorized UL Labels Supplier Program

Chances are you’ve seen a UL (Underwriters Laboratory) label. These ubiquitous labels can be found on a wide variety of consumer or industrial equipment, and provide assurance that UL has certified the product is designed to be safe. But did you know that in order for a company to apply one of these labels to their product, it’s not just the product that needs to be approved by UL, but also the label itself?

 

UL labels must meet strict standards for materials, performance, information and layout. The design/layout of a UL label must be reviewed to verify all information is in an acceptable format, and only suppliers approved by UL, and found in the UL database are authorized to print labels with the UL Mark.

 

Participants in the UL Authorized Label Supplier Program have undergone their own testing process with UL to ensure the materials and printing process of their labels will stand up to the end-use conditions. These approved suppliers also undergo ongoing reviews and inspections to ensure that they continue to adhere to UL label standards.

 

As a participant in the UL Authorized Label Supplier Program, DLS can help with your customer’s UL labels. Contact us for more information.

  Beer Bottle Labels

Bottled beverages and football just go together. In fact, during the two weeks leading up to the big game, Americans are expected to spend upwards of $1.3 billion on beer and cider. When we reach for those bottles, most of us probably don’t think too much about the label – unless something goes wrong. And there is a lot that can go wrong with a bottle label.

 

Labels like those on beer bottles need to stand up to issues during production including moisture and temperature changes, overspill, and abrasion as the bottles speed through the bottling process. Once the bottle makes its way to consumers that label needs to withstand changes in temperature, light and even a lengthy soak in a cooler filled with melting ice.

 

Without the right label, these conditions can lead to smudges, scratches, flaking, fading or a label that completely falls off. The wrong label can also lead to significant issues in the bottling process – which means lost time and money. In order to ensure that bottle labels will hold up throughout production and use, it’s important to choose the right substrate, adhesive, ink and printing process.

 

Contact the label experts at DLS for help making sure your customer’s bottle labels perform.

  Monroney Stickers

If you've shopped for a vehicle, you've probably seen a Monroney sticker. This large label that is posted on the side window of all new cars sold in the US has been legally required since the Automobile Disclosure Act of 1958 (sponsored by Oklahoma senator Almer Stillwell Monroney).

 

Every manufacturer’s sticker looks a bit different, but they all carry the same basic information – the features, options, and charges as well as information on fuel efficiency, air pollution and vehicle origin. Before the Monroney sticker, customers had to trust the salesperson for information about what a car included, and how much it cost.

 

One of the more interesting parts of Monroney stickers is how they’re constructed. Most labels consist of a printed facestock, backed by adhesive and a liner that is removed on application. With a Monroney sticker, the label is applied “backwards”. The information is printed on the liner and adhesive is applied to only the edges of the facestock - which sticks to the window so the printed liner faces the outside of the vehicle. This allows for easy removal without destroying the information printed on the label.

 

Contact DLS for more information or a quote for your customer’s Monroney stickers.

  Decoding the Sections of a UPC Label

The Universal Product Code or UPC is one of the most commonly used barcodes for retail sales. There are a number of UPC codes in use, but the barcode you will find on most products you buy will be UPC-A. A UPC-A is made up of 95 columns that are read by a barcode reader as either a 1 or 0. This 95-digit number made up of 1s and 0s is then translated into the 12 digit UPC code. The modules include left and right sections of the UPC code, as well as start, middle and end guard patterns.

 

These sections serve several important functions. The guard patterns identify the beginning and end of the UPC, as well as separating the left and right sections. The number in the left section indicates the manufacturer or seller, while the right section identifies the product. Additionally, a barcode reader can determine if the barcode is upside down based on the numbers of 1s read in the left and right sections. All codes on the left side have an odd number of 1s, and the codes on the right side have an even number of 1s. If the computer identifies that the barcode is being read upside down, it can immediately flip it so it’s scanned correctly.

 

Contact DLS to see how we can help you with UPC and other barcodes for your customers.

  BS5609 Labels

If you were at the beach and came upon a drum of chemicals washed up onto shore, you’d probably want an easy way to determine if the contents of this drum were hazardous. Companies transporting dangerous goods overseas are subject to International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) regulations, that include labeling requirements for hazardous chemicals.

 

These requirements include the use of durable labels as defined by British Standard 5609 (BS5609). BS5609 compliant labels must be able to remain intact and legible after a three-month submersion in salt water. Labels undergo stringent testing to ensure they are BS5609 compliant. This testing involves simulating marine conditions such as: prolonged salt water submersion, simulated salt spray, changes in temperature, and UV exposure.

 

Compliant labels are subjected to two categories of testing. BS5609 Section 2 tests the durability of the label base materials (such as facestock, adhesive and any additional topcoats), while BS5609 Section 3 tests the durability of the label once it is printed to test the durability of the print process.

 

Contact DLS for help with your customer’s BS5609 compliant labels.

  Labeling Regional Wines - Texas

Do you know where the grapes for your wine are grown? Federal law states that if a wine is labeled as a product of a state, 75% of the grapes in the wine must originate in that state, but the remaining 25% can come from elsewhere. Some states have more strict requirements. For example, in order for a wine to be labeled a product of California, 100% of the grapes must be grown in California.

 

Texas recently passed a law clarifying requirements for Texas wine labels. The state will continue to follow federal rules that 25% of the grapes in a “Texas” wine can be from outside the state. But if a Texas wine gets more specific to its product origin, the requirements get more stringent.

 

For a wine labeled as a product of a specific Texas county, 75% of the grapes must come from that county. A wine labeled as a product of a specific American Viticultural Area (AVA) must use 85% of its grapes from within that AVA. And if a wine is designated as a product of a specific vineyard, 95% of the grapes must come from that vineyard. In all of these cases, the remaining grapes must come from elsewhere within Texas.

 

Wherever your customer’s wine comes from, contact DLS for help with their wine labels.

  1D vs. 2D Barcodes

What is the difference between a 1D and 2D barcode?

 

1D barcodes are the most well-recognized barcode types (like those in the supermarket). These linear barcodes represent data by varying the widths and spacing of parallel lines. The amount of data contained in a 1D barcode is relatively limited, but often these barcodes are attached to a secondary database that provides additional information.

 

2D barcodes are graphical images that store information on both the horizontal and vertical planes (QR codes, for example). 2D barcodes can be smaller than 1D barcodes, and store a larger amount of data—without the need for a secondary database. Other advantages of 2D barcodes include the ability to very quickly scan items, often from farther away.

 

Contact DLS for help with all of your barcode labels.

   Augmented Labels Against Counterfeit Cosmetics

Did you know that labels can be used to help fight international counterfeiters? The proliferation of counterfeit cosmetics is a significant international problem—threatening the bottom line of legitimate makeup companies and creating substantial health hazards for consumers.

 

The monetary loss to legitimate makeup companies is considerable. It’s estimated that the cosmetics and personal care industry lost $5.5 billion in sales to counterfeit products in 2020. Counterfeit cosmetics also hurt the bottom line of legitimate companies by damaging their brand and reputation.

 

Counterfeiters will often replace more expensive ingredients with cheaper substitutes. The phony products are also often produced in unsanitary conditions, and the products do not meet standard safety regulations. Seized shipments of counterfeit makeup have been found to contain dangerous chemicals and toxic metals, as well as bacterial contaminants and feces. Not only do these products not work as they are supposed to, they often cause chemical burns and skin rashes. When consumers use these inferior or dangerous counterfeits, they often assume the product is bad, not that it isn’t legitimate. This leads to considerable damage to the company’s brand.

 

Augmented labels provide a potential weapon to help thwart counterfeiters. These specialty prime labels incorporate unique print effects—making it more difficult for counterfeiters to duplicate. Features such as microtext, holographs, specialty inks or label stocks make it easier for consumers to recognize a fake product.

 

Contact DLS to help design unique and secure augmented labels for your customers.

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  UPC Barcode Basics

UPC or Universal Product Code barcodes are a digitally readable series of bars that is translated into 12 digits allowing products to be digitally tracked and scanned.

 

But how do those bars translate into 12 digits? The UPC barcode is actually made up of 95 evenly spaced columns. Once scanned, the computer reads those columns as a 95-character number made up of 1s and zeros. A light column is read as 0 and dark columns are 1.

 

This 95-character number is then translated into 12 digits. The first six digits identify the manufacturer, the next five represent the product and the final digit is a check digit. These 12 numbers are also printed at the bottom of the barcode in a human readable form.

 

Barcodes provide a lot of information about a product, but they do not provide the price of an item (stores get this information by pairing the barcode with their internal database). And despite what numerous viral social media posts may say, barcodes do not provide information on the product’s country of origin.

 

Contact DLS for help with your customers pre-printed barcodes or supplies to print them on demand.

  GHS Labels

Chemicals are big business. In fact, 2019 global chemical shipments were worth nearly $4 trillion. With all these chemicals traveling around the world, it makes sense for there to be a standard way to label and classify hazardous materials.

 

GHS, or the Globally Harmonized System of the Classification and Labeling of Chemicals was developed by the UN beginning in 1992, so workers throughout the world can easily identify dangerous substances. Instead of each country having its own system for labeling hazardous materials, the symbols are standardized and easily recognizable. Additionally, GHS labels need to meet certain requirements for quality and durability.

 

GHS is not a global law, but recommendations that countries can incorporate into their own chemical management system and regulations. Countries can pick and choose which pieces of GHS they wish to incorporate into their own regulations to enforce within their jurisdiction. No country is obligated to adopt all or any of the GHS system. But more than 65 countries have. The U.S. officially adopted GHS in 2012, when OSHA adapted their standards to incorporate GHS.

 

Contact DLS for more information on or help with your customer’s GHS labels.

  Tamper-Proof Prepared Food Labels

How would you feel about a delivery driver helping themselves to a few of your fries? What if all it took was a label to keep your food safe? A survey conducted by US Foods in late 2019 found that 28% of food delivery drivers admitted to occasionally sampling customers’ food. The same survey found that 85% of customers wanted restaurants to use tamper-evident packaging to help discourage the practice. Enter tamper-evident labels.

 

This relatively simple solution uses a label to seal bags, boxes or other food containers and helps customers feel confident that their food hasn’t been pilfered. These little labels have become especially prevalent and important with the increased use of food delivery services, as well as the increased focus on preventing the spread of germs and viruses that has come with Covid-19. In addition to helping customers feel confident in the safety of a restaurant’s food, these labels also provide additional opportunities for companies to market to their customers with branded graphics or promotional labels.

 

Contact DLS for tamper-evident labels for your customers.

  QR Codes on Labels

QR codes, or quick respond codes were invented in 1994 by Masahiro Hara from the Japanese company Denso Wave. They were designed to allow for high-speed scanning and were originally used to track vehicles during manufacturing.

 

QR codes are an example of a 2d or matrix code. Unlike traditional barcodes that only present information linearly, QR codes have the ability to hold information both horizontally and vertically. This allows the code to contain significantly more information. Common uses include displaying text, opening a webpage, adding a vCard, opening a Uniform Resource Identifier or connecting to a wireless network.

 

There are a large number of tools to create QR codes, as well as to read them. While in the past, smart phones would require a special app to read QR codes, most modern smart phones will now read a QR code simply by viewing it through the phone’s camera.

 

QR codes are often used in marketing, making it easy to direct customers to additional information. Other markets that utilize the versatile codes include manufacturing, consumer products and electronics, healthcare, retail and warehouse and distribution.

 

Contact DLS to learn how you can help your customers add QR codes to their labels.

  Dissolvable Labels

What if your labels could just… disappear? Dissolvable labels can do just that. Dissolvable labels are made up of water-soluble stock and adhesive, that will dissolve within 30 seconds in any temperature water. They leave behind no residue and won’t clog drains. Labels are easily removed without the need for scraping either the label or adhesive—saving considerable time. Restaurant and food service businesses regularly use dissolvable labels for food rotation or storage labels—since they can simply wash off in the dishwasher.

 

They are also useful in healthcare or laboratory settings. In some cases, dissolvable labels can also be an eco-friendly option for companies who want to make it easier to reuse packaging. When used in this way, it is necessary to keep in mind how long the label needs to last and where and how the product would be stored to be sure that the label doesn’t dissolve before it's done its job.

 

Contact DLS for help with dissolvable labels for your customers.

  Organic Food Labels

Organic food is worth big money. According to the Organic Trade Association, U.S. organic food sales hit $50.1 billion in 2020. This means that the use of "organic" on product labels can be a valuable marketing tool. But there are actually strict federal requirements for which products can be labeled organic.

 

USDA Organic certification confirms that the farm or handling facility (whether within the United States or internationally) complies with USDA organic regulations related to soil quality, animal welfare, pest and weed control, and use of additives. In order to label their products organic, producers must be certified by a certification agent approved by the USDA.

 

There are three levels of organic labeling. Products made entirely with certified organic ingredients, methods, and processing aids can be labeled "100% organic". Products with at least 95% organic ingredients may be labeled "organic". Products containing a minimum of 70% organic ingredients, can be labeled "made with organic ingredients," but may not display the USDA Organic seal.

 

Contact DLS for help with your customer’s food labels (both organic and conventional).

  Augmented Reality Labels

Imagine pointing your phone at a label and watching the image on that label come to life. Maybe the image starts moving and speaking. Maybe the image completely explodes off the label into an interactive app. Or maybe the image takes you to additional content and information about the product. Augmented reality makes this possible. Augmented reality labels utilize a specially designed smartphone app that recognizes scannable images in the label. When the app user scans the label with their smart phone, the app recognizes a special visual cue that will then trigger the augmented reality content.


One of the most famous examples of this interactive label option is 19 Crimes wine. When users viewed the wine labels, which featured portraits of “criminals”, the app would bring the portraits to life, with augmented reality video of the criminals explaining their story. This early use of Augmented Reality labels was extremely successful from a marketing perspective—helping the winemaker increase their sales by 90%.


The technology for augmented reality labels isn’t yet standardized, so there isn’t a universal app that will read all augmented reality labels. As the technology catches on, there are several customizable AR apps that can be leveraged for your customer’s augmented reality labels, or mobile app developers can develop completely custom apps. It is also extremely important when developing an augmented reality label to work closely with your customer’s label designer and the label printing company to be sure that the image cues work correctly.


Consider augmented reality labels for your customers who are looking for a creative way to interact with their customers.

  Food Allergen Labels

When it comes to allergies, accurate labeling is serious business. Each year in the U.S. it’s estimated that severe food reactions cause 30,000 emergency room visits, 2,000 hospitalizations and 150 deaths. To help consumers easily identify products containing allergens, the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act was passed in 2004 and took effect in 2006. This law required that manufacturers call out and list any of eight major allergens (milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, and soybeans).

 

Manufacturers can satisfy the labeling requirements either by calling out the allergen in the ingredients list with the allergen in parenthesis, such as casein(milk) or by using the word “contains” followed by the allergen, such as contains milk.

 

While there are considerably more ingredients that could potentially cause allergic reactions, it was estimated that these 8 allergens were responsible for 90% of severe reactions, and for the last 17 years, there were not changes to the list of major allergens. However, the recently passed Food Allergy Safety, Treatment, Education, and Research Act (FASTER) adds sesame to the list of major allergens beginning Jan. 1, 2023. This law also contains provisions that make it easier for additional allergens to be identified and added to the list. So it is important that manufacturers stay abreast of potential changes to the regulations. What are other possible additions? As a major allergen in the regulations for both Canada and the EU, mustard may be one of the next candidates.

 

Contact DLS to help your customers with compliant allergy labeling.

 

 

 

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  Raster vs. Vector

Ever had a label or print provider ask for a higher resolution or EPS version of your artwork? Here's a quick explanation of how different image types are used to create clear, vibrant images.

 

Raster images (JPEG or PNG) are made up of individual pixels, or dots. Imagine that your image is made up of marbles. If your image is made up of 72 marbles (pixels) per inch, you can’t simply add more marbles. So… if you want to double the size, those marbles will have to be spread out in order to fill the larger space. This means gaps between the marbles, or fuzzy unclear prints. Raster images can be scaled smaller, but not effectively scaled up.

 

Vector images (EPS) are made of coordinates rather than pixels. Think of a line drawing that goes from point A to point B. If you make the image bigger, point A and point B are farther apart, but that line still connects them. Vector images can be scaled up or down without a loss of quality.

 

When you work with DLS for your labels, our prepress department will determine if your artwork needs adjustments. Or our graphic designers can help with the design of your customer’s labels. Contact us anytime to ensure your customer’s artwork will look its best.

  RGB vs. CMYK

When printing labels, RGB files are converted to CMYK prior to printing. To understand what this means, let’s look at the basics of RGB and CMYK.

 

RGB refers to the colors of light used in monitors, tv screens or digital cameras (Red, Green, Blue). Colors are created with varied intensity of these three colors (ranging from 0-255). For example, a nice grassy green can be created using a Red value of 59, Green 133 and Blue 36. If all three colors are set to zero, the result is pure black. All three maxed out at 255 creates pure white and anytime all three are equal between 0 and 255 you get a shade of gray that varies in darkness depending on how high the numbers are.

 

CMYK stands for Cyan, Yellow, Magenta and Black. Black is represented by a K as K is shorthand for the printing term key plate. These colors are traditional printing pigments, and they represent the percentage of how much of that color could be used. In CMYK 0% of all colors equals white and 100% equals black. That same grassy green in CMYK would be created with 79% Cyan, 25% Yellow, 100% Magenta and 11% Black (K).

  Effect of Label Substrate on Color

For brands that truly care about accurate color, it’s vitally important to consider the material that the label will be printed on. Even when labels are printed with the same ink formula, if they are printed on different substrates there can be significant color differences. This is especially evident on specialty substrates such as clear or metallic films, or colored or kraft paper substrates.

 

A red that is vibrant and matches brand standards when printed on bright white coated label stock could appear transparent, darker than expected or even muddy depending on the substrate. Work closely with your label printer, and make sure they know that you don’t just want to use a specific color like Pantone® 485C. Let them know that you need to match that color on your substrate. Depending on the substrate, it may be necessary to first lay down a layer of opaque white or choose an alternate print method.

 

Contact DLS to help you match your customer’s color needs, even with different substrates.

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  Pantone® Matching System

The Pantone® Matching System is a proprietary color matching system developed by Pantone, LLC. Pantone or PMS colors can be accurately reproduced by any printer, anywhere in the world by using strictly defined combinations of pigments.

 

Pantone colors are used in branding situations where branding requires a very specific color. The yellow of McDonald’s arches (PMS 123) or the red of Target’s circle (PMS 186 C)... One of the most famous branding uses of a Pantone color is Tiffany, who worked with Pantone to create and trademark their robin blue (PMS 1837 – the year Tiffany was founded). Tiffany blue is a proprietary color not found in Pantone guides and cannot be used by other companies.

 

You don’t have to be a huge corporation or develop an all new color to be specific about your colors though. Companies of all sizes use specific colors for their logos and branding, and these companies are sticklers for consistency. This is where PMS colors are used in label printing.

 

Because 4-color label printing cannot exactly replicate most PMS colors, it may be necessary to add another ink, or perhaps your color can be matched with HP Indigo technology. Contact DLS for precise color and branding options.

  Working with White

In four-color printing, when a design includes white, the area set to white is left blank, and the substrate shows through. But this doesn’t really work when the substrate isn’t white. Additionally, printing on non-white substrates can potentially change the appearance of the colored portions of the design, as pigments are semi-opaque. This is most pronounced on dark or clear substrates.

 

Adding white as a color to your label printing opens up a wide range of design and substrate possibilities. The entire label design can be printed in white, which can be quite striking against a dark face stock or on clear labels. White can also be used as a spot color – filling in the areas that would have usually shown the substrate.

 

When laid down underneath color, white ink can help make all of your label colors more vibrant. This allows for brilliant color printing even on dark face stock. With clear labels, an undercoat of white allows your design to appear solid by preventing light from passing through.

 

Contact DLS for white color printing options or let our design team help incorporate creative uses of white into your label designs.

 

 

 

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  Labels Blast Off!

In July 2020, NASA launched the Perseverance robotic rover towards Mars aboard an Atlas V Rocket. Eagle-eyed observers to the launch may have noticed a lineup of labels on the top of the rocket that included the logos for NASA, the United Launch Alliance and the US Space Force.

 

These special labels are actually applied to the rocket in strips, so that they will peel off as the rocket ascends through the atmosphere. This helps ensure that the labels won’t interfere with the aerodynamics of the vehicle.

 

While DLS isn’t putting our labels in space (yet), we can help you find the right labels for all of your customer’s special projects. Contact us anytime to discuss any unique label needs.

  Label Symbol - The Skull and Crossbone

Not just a mainstay in Halloween decorations, the skull and crossbones has a long history of symbolizing danger.

 

It is commonly thought that the skull and crossbones originated with the Knights Templar in the 13th Century. The symbol is found on the graves of the Knights Templar, as well as countless medieval graves, buildings and monuments - denoting death and danger.

 

Around the 17th century, the skull and crossbones became a staple in pirate symbology, meant to strike fear in the pirates’ victims.

 

The use of the symbol in labeling got its start in the 1800’s. In 1829, New York passed a law requiring anything containing poison to be labeled, and the first skull and cross bones to denote poison appeared in 1850. Today the symbol is used globally to label poisonous substances.

 

Circling back to pirates, there was a call to replace the skull and crossbones on poison with the Mr. Yuk symbol. The reason? The widespread popularity of cartoonish pirates was thought to make the skull and crossbones actually ATTRACT the curiosity of young children. Ultimately, this movement failed, in part because the Mr. Yuk symbol is protected by copyright.

  Chocolate Labels

When it comes to expressing affection, chocolate reigns supreme – with an estimated 8 million pounds of chocolate and 36 million heart-shaped boxes sold around Valentine’s Day. But did you know that there are strict requirements to be met before a candy can be labeled chocolate?

 

While it might not be romantic, in order to be marketed as chocolate, these heart-shaped confections must meet strict FDA requirements. In addition to the usual label requirements for displaying nutritional information, the FDA has created standards for the identification of chocolate.

 

To be labeled as chocolate (and not "chocolate flavored"), a product must meet very specific conditions related to the content of cacao or cocoa. To be labeled specifically as milk chocolate, a product must contain at least 10% chocolate liquor, 3.39% milkfat and 12% milk solids. And while there is a spirited debate on whether white chocolate is, in fact, chocolate... to be labeled as white chocolate a product must contain at least 20% cocoa butter, 14% total milk solids and 3.5% milkfat.

  Record Labels - When a Label Isn't a Label

When is a label not a label? When it’s a record label. What we usually think of as a modern “record label” doesn’t refer at all to any type of adhesive label, but to the companies who produce and sell music. The term does have its origins with actual labels though. It originates from the circular label in the center of a record that identified the record’s title and manufacturer. For early records, these labels played a particularly important role in identifying the disks, as most records were stored in plain paper or cardboard sleeves—with a cutout allowing the circular label to be seen. These labels were the main form of record identification until it became widespread for the records to be sold as albums with a printed outer cover or sleeve. Because early records could only really hold one or two songs, records were sold in booklets with multiple sleeves—similar to photo albums… Thus the origin of the term “record album”.

 

Contact DLS if you have a customer who needs a literal record label, or any other product identification labels.

  Holographic Olympic Labels

Large international sporting events like the Olympics create a huge demand for event branded merchandise such as clothing, toys and books. To protect their brands, event organizations work with a list of approved vendors to create and sell official merchandise. However, the events also create significant trade in unauthorized or counterfeit merchandise. For example, in the weeks leading up to the London games, thousands of counterfeit goods claiming to be officially linked to the Olympics were seized at British ports and airports.

 

One way that official vendors of Olympics related merchandise use to distinguish authorized products from counterfeits is by using holographic labels. Virtually every Olympics event since the Atlanta Games in 1996 has utilized this type of label augmentation. Each official item is labeled with a hologram of the official logo as well as a unique item number. Fans are encouraged to purchase their event merchandise from authorized vendors and can track their purchases online to determine authenticity.

 

The Olympics aren’t the only company who can benefit from the use of augmented or holographic labels. Contact DLS to provide holographic labels for your customers.

  Barcodes for Bumblebees

Barcoded bumblebees… not just a tongue twister, but an actual technique used by researchers looking at bee behavior. In a study published in the journal Nature Communications, a group of researchers from several universities attached special tiny QR codes to bumblebees to examine how worker bees know when to switch jobs.

 

Using these tiny QR codes, called BEEtags, researchers can use special cameras to automatically monitor hundreds of bees all day and night. This allows them to better understand the bumblebees’ interactions with each other. Beyond simply learning how bees decide who has to do the less glamorous bee jobs, this research is valuable for testing how exposure to outside hazards, such as pesticides, affects a bumblebee colony. In the long term, this type of research can help as researchers look for explanations and solutions for the widespread loss of bee populations.

 

At DLS, we haven’t attached any of our labels to bees, but we do have the capability to produce very small, high-resolution barcodes. Contact us for your customer’s Auto ID labels.

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  Sticker or Label?

It’s a long running debate. What is the difference between labels and stickers? Marion Webster defines a sticker as “a slip of paper with adhesive back that can be fastened to a surface”. A label is “a slip (as of paper or cloth) inscribed and affixed to something for identification or description”.

 

So… what is the difference? Some might say the difference is the material, with stickers usually being printed on a thicker material, with a shiny coating or fancy embellishments. But as the type of materials and print options for labels have increased, this difference has become blurred. Perhaps it’s how they’re disbursed… labels are most often produced on rolls or fanfold, while stickers are on individual sheets or even individual stickers. But this too blurs as labels can also be created in sheet or individual label form.

 

It really comes down to what they’re used for. Labels aren’t meant to stand alone as an end product. They are meant to "label" things – providing information like branding, warnings, identification, nutrition information or instructions. Stickers can simply be used for decoration or provided as an end product.

 

Tell us what you think. What’s the difference between stickers and labels?

  Robots Rely on Labels for Navigation

Imagine the warehouse of the future, with swarms of robots ferrying products and packages from here to there… This futuristic warehouse is fast becoming a present reality. Robots are increasingly used to assist in picking products, moving pallets, taking inventory, restocking, transporting products from one point in a warehouse to another and a myriad other tasks.

 

As advanced as many of these robots are though, it turns out that just like their human counterparts, many of these robotic warehouse workers require labels to navigate or perform their tasks. For example, robots in Amazon distribution centers navigate using a camera on their belly to read QR codes on the floor. Robots that are used to pick product can read either traditional barcodes or QR code labels to make sure they’re grabbing the right item. And in some cases drones are used to scan item labels to help keep an accurate inventory count. In all these cases, to fully realize the benefits of the warehouse robots, it’s important that the labels are accurate, readable, and able to withstand the wear and tear of a busy warehouse environment.

 

Contact DLS to help your customers with labels for their robotic and human warehouse workers.

 

  RFID and the Vatican Apostolic Library

How does one of the oldest and largest libraries in the world keep track of its collection? RFID… Built in the mid-15th century, the Vatican Apostolic library houses over 80,000 manuscripts and 1.6 million printed volumes. This vast collection documents the history of western civilization and is a treasure trove for historians and religious scholars around the world.

 

To keep track of this priceless collection, the Vatican library uses RFID to track the location and use of its volumes - drastically simplifying the process. Prior to the institution of RFID tracking, the library would have to be closed for a month each year to complete a full inventory. Now, this process takes an afternoon.

 

It doesn’t take divine intervention to see that RFID technology and labels can also provide significant benefits for other businesses and institutions when keeping track of their inventories.

 

Contact DLS for help with RFID labels for your customers.

  Zombie RFID Tags

No, a zombie RFID tag isn’t one used to keep track of zombies (although one could argue that the ability to track legions of the undead might help us survive a theoretical zombie apocalypse). So what is a zombie RFID tag?

 

There doesn’t appear to be an overall consensus on what a zombie RFID tag is – although the phrase is used fairly often. The most common meaning is to refer to a tag that has been deactivated, or “killed.”

 

Say a customer buys a product tagged with a non-zombie ID tag. After purchase, the product’s RFID tag could theoretically still be read by both the store’s and other RFID readers. This can potentially cause privacy problems. But enter the concept of turning a tag into a zombie. A customer would purchase the item, and as either part of the purchase transaction or a separate action, a device would deactivate the tag. Now we have an RFID tag that is killed but still “walking around” - thus the zombie reference…

  Coffee Filter Baskets & CRrom Labels

Ahh the late 90s… The heyday of individually produced CDroms containing everything from business information to carefully curated mix disks. And when a sharpie just wouldn’t cut it, millions of people turned to the Neato CDrom label system to print custom labels for their disks. The system included die-cut blank labels and a device to apply the labels. Early on, labeling disks was problematic. Simply applying a label by hand to a CD was difficult, especially since if the label wasn’t applied correctly it could negatively affect disc operation.

 

The founder of Neato originally found the solution to labeling CDs by using a Mr. Coffee brew basket to line up the labels for his company that sold disks of patent information. After labeling thousands of disks this way, he developed the Neato kit (apparently garnering its name from what people would say when they saw the kit in action). He started a new company to produce and sell millions of the labeling kits. Eventually, other companies developed competing printable labels and applicators for CDroms. And of course, CDroms themselves have fallen out of favor with the ease of online storage and data transfer.

 

At DLS, we use our coffee brew baskets to brew the coffee to keep our team awake and making your customer’s labels. But we do produce labels for uniquely shaped or hard to label products, in quantities from 100 to 100,000,000. Contact us today to learn more.

 

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