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.
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.
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.
Fresh or Frozen? Turkey Labels
Approximately 46 million turkeys are consumed in the US on Thanksgiving day. About 20% of these are fresh turkeys. So what makes a turkey “fresh”? According to the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), “fresh” means whole poultry and cuts that have never been below 26°F (the temperature at which poultry freezes). FSIS is the US government agency responsible for ensuring the truthfulness and accuracy in labeling of meat and poultry products. So a turkey that has ever been below 26°F cannot legally be labeled as fresh.
Have a great Thanksgiving. And if you’re one of the 80% of us who choose a frozen turkey, don’t forget to take it out early to thaw. Those frozen turkeys can take from 3-6 days to thaw depending on size.