As the consumer is very sophisticated these days, there is no room for inferior products or major errors. If you have no fine arts background, get a decent artist that can develop a look for your products. The design element should target or convey something to your selected customer....like uptown, downtown, country, etc. Even if you think you can design it yourself, its really worth paying for a professional to refine your concept or give a second opinion.
Let these ideas simmer for a while, pin them up, get comments, re-design. This is your image and future ‘brand’, which will become the true value of your business. Bottles, products and packaging might change, but your ‘brand’ will be around for the life of your business...so you better like it.
So your logo and image is decent...this alone can overcome some of the limitations placed on making your own labels. Printed labels are fabulous, but can become costly. Many don’t want to spend the money up front, especially if you see changes down the road or a new introduction. What’s worse is noticing you have spelled something wrong or forgot a key element. You can keep your costs low, look fairly decent and it won’t break the bank.
First, you can use a typical inkjet and buy a laminating machine for your labels to protect the ink from ‘bleeding’. They cost about $100 and can laminate one side, both sides or you can use regular paper and put it through the machine and have it laminate one side and apply a peel off label stock to the back. It works well on bottles that don’t have too much of a curve. On small bottles or rounded shapes, the laminated label stock is too rigid and will have ‘dog ears’...where the corners don’t stay down. You can probably ‘crash’ a business supply store and ask to see what it can do...just take some labels along to get an idea if this is the right thing for you. The laminate can work out to be expensive, especially if you make many mistakes. Remember, they are paper and not very resistant in showers and bathtubs.
If image quality is most important and you are wanting a full color professional look, take a computer disc to a printing or ‘copy’ house and ask them to do a color laser output on a full sheet label. It looks as if it was printed, won’t smudge, plus you won’t incur the cost of having thousands of labels printed. Sure its slightly more expensive, but the image is much clearer and can do small runs to test out the market. Actually, with the cost of inkjet cartridges at full color, it likely won’t seem too outrageous. Do the template layout before you go, cramming as many images on an 8 1/2 x 11 inch as possible. Regrettably, you have to get out the scissors and cut them out to size.
There is another choice for printing your own. Go to a web site called www.rippedsheets.com, here they have special letter-sized sheets that can ‘encapsulate’ inks, so it won’t smudge or ‘bleed’. They are more expensive than standard store bought labels, but can be printed by any inkjet or laser printer and come in paper, clear mylar, plastic, vinyl, gloss and colors. You pay more...but get more, as each 8 1/2 x 11 inch sheet is ‘die’ cut to any size label you want, so you just have to print and peel them off.
Digital Direct to Press
A new alternative for labels allows you to have full color labels professionally printed on die cut sheets, without any printing plate costs. As this is digital, you can have multiple images in small runs without printing them yourself and can change these at any time. They are permanent, easy to use and very cost effective. Click here for details.
Thermal Printing & Printing Machines
Unlike laser or inkjet, thermal printers use a thin wax roll that is heat applied onto professional label stock. We use this here for all of our samples and jugs. It’s permanent, smudge proof, but fairly limited to colors and detail. There is another alternative, where you can buy an actual label printer from Primera, that will make 4-color labels for you, one at a time. It uses labels on a roll with inkjet technology that doesn’t smudge. These are great for small runs or multiple products. Look on the web for more information about these types of printers.
Most of the above solutions can address your specific needs, time lines and budgets.