7 Tips for Evaluating a Color Label Printer

These 7 Tips Will Help you Evaluate Any Color Label Printing Solution

Whether you’re currently printing your own product labels, or you’re considering printing your labels in your facility, you want to ensure you’re making the right decision and best investment for your business. Many companies consider their first or additional systems for several reasons – keeping up with demand, looking to reduce total cost of ownership or cost per label, or improving operational efficiencies. But, currently, the biggest reason is that people want to control their labeling under their own roof.

While there is undoubtedly a breadth of benefits labeling in-house and on-demand provides, there are several factors to consider before making a decision. Considering label printing systems for your business is more complicated than evaluating a standard at-home desktop printer.

Here are some tips to make this process easier for you:

1. Observe as a full roll of labels is printed
Get an in-person demonstration 

This is vital.  It’s important not to rely on “canned” printed label samples or a video from the manufacturer.  Witnessing the labels print will expose any technical shortcomings in the printer.   Ultimately, you’re the expert on your labels and how they should look.  If print quality and color-matching is a priority, you’ll get the best demonstration of a printer’s capabilities by seeing your label artwork printed.  So, before committing to a purchase, it’s advised to schedule a demonstration and request to watch while your labels are printed in real-time.

2. Ask to see your label format printed
You can evaluate your own labels better than a sample or pre-printed label 

To ensure you see all the capabilities of the printer, provide digital label artwork to your printer salesman prior to the demonstration.  It’s important to note that if your artwork was designed for a different output device, whether it’s your office inkjet or a commercial flexographic press,  your salesperson may need to adjust the colors to match expectations.

Color Label Printer3. Compare “how long it takes to print”, not just “print speed”
Time the print job while you watch 

When evaluating “print speed,” it’s natural to assume that you are evaluating “how fast it takes to produce a print job.”  However, there are many technical reasons why this is not the case.  Factors such as pauses for maintenance procedures, processing time delays, and the time it takes to load a printer with blank labels and inks all have a significant impact on throughput.  These are all factors your production department needs to measure when evaluating.

4. Compare “print quality”, not just “print resolution”
Be the judge

All label printers list a specification for “resolution”, but this does not necessarily imply “print quality”.  “What resolution should I be looking for?” is a notoriously difficult question to answer, given there’s often some trade-off between print quality and print speed.  In addition to the physical dot size produced by the label printer, the halftone printing algorithm, substrate material, and ink set each has a tremendous bearing on the appearance and color gamut of the printed label.  So, when comparing 1200 dpi to 1600 dpi to 2400 dpi, your own perception of quality is much more accurate than the technical specification.

5. Ask how much it costs to print your roll of labels
Request a quote 

Importantly, after the full role of your label designs is printed, ask your salesperson to calculate the cost of the printed label roll, including the costs of the ink and the label material.  This will give you a realistic estimate of the finished cost per label, so ultimately, you can extrapolate how much you’d be paying each time you print your own labels.

6. Determine where you’ll purchase your labels
Select a substrate and a provider 

If you have a special performance or print quality requirement, the odds are that you will want to “spec in” a particular label material that works well with your printer.  So, determine who offers labels created from the material and whether the delivery timeframe and cost of the die-cut label is in line with your expectations.  Be advised, a good label solution provider should be able to offer a variety of compatible materials in a range of different price points.   AstroNova’s GetLabels division offers the widest variety of premium label materials for all of your labeling applications.

7. Ask who will maintain and repair your printer?
Who will service and fix any problems? 

Regular on-site maintenance of a printing system is necessary to prevent breakdowns due to wear.  So, don’t be afraid to ask who will be available to provide on-site maintenance service (or whether you are expected to do this yourself).  Because a label printer is a critical part of the packaging process,  it’s essential to find out whether on-site repair service and 24-hour telephone support are available.  These things may come at an extra cost or may be included as part of the warranty – find out!

Questions? Let us know, we’re here to help!

Interested in how bringing label printing in-house can provide you with significant cost and time savings?
Contact us to schedule a free, web-based demonstration and to speak with one of our specialists!

Not Your Average Licorice, Not Your Average Label Printer

During a trip to Denmark,  AstroNova met with luxury licorice company Lakrids by Bülow to see how they use their QuickLabel QL-300 to print quality, high-end labels to complement their brand.  

Now a luxury licorice brand with global reach, Lakrids by Bülow got its start in 2007 when the first shop was opened in Svaneke, Denmark.  The shop was an instant hit with locals, and the product seemed to be so popular, keeping up the demand was a challenge.  But, just a year later, in 2008, they scaled production to meet the demand, opened their first factory, and installed a licorice machine. From there, the operation only grew bigger.  Especially once Lakrids did what was said couldn’t be done – coat the licorice with chocolate.

Over a decade later, with a vision to spread the love for licorice around the globe, Lakrids has built itself into a high-end, luxury brand with fans around the world. Making their products all on-site with raw materials, Lakrids prides itself on not being your average licorice. Now, with over 25 locations globally, operations have understandably expanded to meet demands, and Lakrids has added the QuickLabel QL-300 to its production line and uses it to print the labels on the tops of their product jars.

The Power of CMYK + WHITE

While QuickLabel was there, Lakrids expressed their appreciation and excitement about the quality of the white color, which influenced their decision to purchase the QL-300. With a desire to truly create something special, quality and branding are of utmost importance. 

So, when Lakrids was searching for a labeling solution, they were looking for a solution that would heighten their brand and, ultimately, add value to it. Lakrids wanted to print brilliantly beautiful labels to match the aesthetic of the brand, which is where QuickLabel came in. 

Tage Kusk, Technical Director at Lakrids by Bülow, said, “The QL-300 prints extra-wide like we needed to have the right background for our labels. The labels printed on the QL-300 look magnificent.”  

Kusk continued, “We get the labels on the same day, and we can change the design if we’re not satisfied since we have the flexibility to do so.” “Having the capability of printing with the white toner gave us a perfect look. The QL-300 can do so much more than you expect.”  

It’s All in the Packaging 

Lakrids by Büllow takes pride in not just selling a product but selling a design item.  They’ve found their customers enjoy the look of the product, and for this, Lakrids has become an icon.   

“The thing our customers should know about Lakrids by Büllow is that it’s quality, and we care about every little part; not just the core part that you eat, but also about the packaging and labeling.”, said Kusk. 

  “We make the world love licorice!

Looking to Print Labels In-House?

If you’re interested in learning more about how you can print dynamic, luxury labels on-demand, feel free to contact us to schedule a free demonstration or speak with one of our specialists!

3 Easy Steps to Make Your Wine and Beer Labels Stand Out

If you brew beer or bottle wine, you already know the challenges that occur once your products are sent to market. You need to make your wine and beer labels stand out in order to get on the consumer’s radar.

The shadows of big brands make it extremely difficult for new, local breweries and wineries to thrive. Here are a few tips to help make your products stand out.

How Do They Do It?

With well-known brands, it’s easy for consumers to walk into a store and pluck a product off the shelves.

It’s all in the packaging and product branding.

The familiarity, years of experience and trustworthiness of a brand make these decisions a no-brainer. But everyone has to start somewhere, right?

What Can You do to Make Your Brews Stand Out?

After determining the basics, there are a few extra things you need to make your wine and beer labels stand out and give your brand that extra push.

1. It’s All in the Packaging

Humans are visual beings, so first impressions matter. Especially when targeting first-time buyers browsing through the aisles of their local liquor store.

In fact, the human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text, and 90 percent of information transmitted to the brain is visual.

Since consumers can only view your products as they browse, what they find aesthetically pleasing makes all the difference.

According to Barrett Brynestad, Associate Creative Director/Designer for TDA Boulder, the package should tell consumers as much as possible about the beer, from the occasion to taste profile and overall brand ethos.

Our advice: Design your product label well and design it to be easily recognized. It can be as simple as your color scheme and font, qualifying image or logo, etc. Whatever it is, it has to be unique to you. Investing in a talented artist or graphic designer always helps.

After all, your brand logo is arguably the most important part of your product.

Check out some examples of branded beer labels that understand the importance of story-telling branding.

2. Save Face on the Shelves…and Money in Your Pocket

Once you have successfully created your brand label, it’s time to start labeling your cans and bottles.

Outsourced printing can get expensive. For local wineries or breweries, it may be wiser to print your product labels in-house. In addition to avoiding fees and delays, you’ll be able to control the entire process within your own facility.

If you choose to print in-house, you must make sure the label printer meets all the requirements your products need.

For example, wine and beer displayed in store freezers or chilling in coolers need labels that withstand frozen temperatures.

After all, it wouldn’t look very professional to have your labels wrinkling from condensation or losing adhesion and peeling off.

In combination, your printing system needs to produce clear, vivid, photo-quality labels to attract the consumers’ eye – and make your wine and beer labels stand out!

QuickLabel’s line of in-house label printers allows your business to meet all the requirements (aesthetic and physical) for printing labels on-demand and in-house.

These printing systems are perfect for the craft beer tradition of experimentation, adaptability and small batch production.

Our advice: Learn more about QuickLabel’s capabilities and benefits with printing frozen labels, wine, and beer labels to see if they’re right for your business. You can also browse the full line of in-house color label printers here.

3. Get Your Name Out There!

It’s time. You’ve made a solid brand name for yourself with the packaging (and product) to prove it.

Investing in trade shows, tastings at local liquor stores and advertising (print or video), is the next step in getting your brand recognized. The more people see your product, the more natural it becomes to pick it up.

Our advice: By promoting your brand, you are showing consumers that you are real; you have a story and a taste unique to your product. By investing in these promotions, you are building the trust of your brand.

These three steps will change the way your wine and beer products are perceived – now a known brand rising above the sea of shelves. Good luck!

 

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