Labels are brand ambassadors and help influence sales success. Label finishing is the order of the day. But it must fit the brand.
Best-before dates, nutrition tables, ingredients, barcodes, filling quantities: the list of things on a label is long. And it is getting longer. For example, calorie information will also be presented on beer bottles soon. Labels provide information about the product and about the packaging – how it should be disposed of and what it consists of – and give tips on the correct usage of the product. But labels are much more than just information carriers. They transport brands, and they are crucial for purchasing decisions – so they help influence the success of a sales. The fact that labels are considered to be the market criers of today can be seen on many beverage labels: Wine bottles with glittering logos and craft beer bottles that tell stories in large letters on their labels and talk about home, honest brewing and matters of the heart.
Inherent necessities impinge on emotions. Brand owners and agencies have to come up with a number of ideas in order to comply with legal requirements and at the same time keep spreading new advertising messages without losing their regular customers. Labels with a natural look are currently the order of the day. The first thing to look at is the appearance, not necessarily the substance. Of course, natural is everything that looks “non-industrial” according to brand experts. There are hardly any hand-made labels, but there are labels with handwriting fonts. You can find them more often on beverage bottles. The preserving sugar manufacturer Nordzucker AG allows customers to design their own labels. There are templates on the company’s homepage that the customer can fill in and print out. These can then be stuck on to jam jars as labels.
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Technology is part of many trends: It has been making rapid progress in the printing industry for years. All common printing processes (letterpress, flexographic, offset, screen and gravure printing as well as digital processes such as laser or inkjet printing, thermal transfer and thermal printing) and processing processes (hot and cold foil stamping, die cutting, lamination, blind embossing) are used to cover the wide range of different labelling requirements.
Not every printing technique is suitable for every label. “When it comes to high printing speed, very good print quality, consistent print quality and the use of several special colours, offset printing is ideal and is used in many cases,” according to InForm Etiketten GmbH & Co. KG and continues: “In letterpress printing, colours are reproduced particularly brilliantly and precisely – for large and small runs. The modern photopolymer letterpress plates ensure an irresistible colour experience.”
Digital printing has been established for years. Especially in cases of beverages, cosmetics and hygiene articles packed in folding cartons. “Digital printing offers a different added value. Our customers conjure up high-quality labels that open up new playful possibilities,” says Jörg Hunsche, Market Development Manager at HP Deutschland GmbH. Fluorescent inks are currently in vogue in digital printing, explains Hunsche. With their use, completely new accents can be set in label design. HP technology offers a range of different fluorescent colours. “Silver is the trend” – especially for beverage labels, says Hunsche. James Nilles, Managing Director of Etikett.de, who founded the first label printing company as an online business in 2011, is one of those who is making use of this trend. He sold the company to the Canadian group CCL Label in 2014.
“In daylight, labels with fluorescent inks can hardly be identified, but under UV or black light their full brilliance unfolds. In discotheques or bars, where black light is often used, fluorescent labels work particularly well and are a real eye-catcher. They are therefore often used as bottle labels for trendy drinks such as craft beer or ready-mixed drinks, or as can labels,” explains Nilles. His grandfather owned a wine label printing plant on the Moselle and supplied regular customers. In competing for customers, labelling has become the method par excellence for winegrowers today. The motto “Nomen est omen” hardly applies anymore. For brand owners, “personalization with high-quality finishing” is the trend, especially in the beverage and confectionery industry. Brand owners have high-quality labels with the consumer’s name produced for a specific occasion or customer group. According to Nilles, haptic effects are also the right choice for developing labels.
Roll and wet glue labels with hot foil stamping are particularly popular for attracting attention. The hot foil can be combined with numerous other finishes, such as an upgrading foil lamination or protective UV varnish. Hot foil stamping ensures that labels have a special surface structure that refracts light. Visual and haptic contrasts can be created. There are also virtually no limits to the choice of material. With a transparent film, for example, ludic effects can be created in a beverage bottle by having the front and back of the bottle labelled and letting the labels gleam. Printed, highly transparent adhesive labels are traded as no-label labels in technical jargon and are often used for glass bottles or exclusive products. They look as if the glass bottle was directly printed on. They are printed on clear films to create the impression of direct printing on product packaging. “Skilfully staged, no-label-look labels are the ideal solution for an eye-catching product presentation, and compared to direct printing, transparent labels are more flexible and cost-effective to produce. They offer the possibility of achieving interesting effects, for example to allow a glimpse into the bottle”, says Nilles.
A no-label-look label from Etikett.de "Finishing, if used correctly, are good,” says Friedrich Detering, Managing Director of the agency Flaechenbrand, which has developed designs for brand manufacturers within the consumer goods industry and has been honoured several times with awards. Haptic effects are difficult to implement in everyday objects. "Finishing must take a back seat with regard to the message of the brand", says Detering.
Label must match the brand
“Finishing, if used correctly, are good,” says Friedrich Detering, Managing Director of the agency Flaechenbrand, which has developed designs for brand manufacturers within the consumer goods industry and has been honoured several times with awards. Haptic effects are difficult to implement in everyday objects. “Finishing must take a back seat with regard to the message of the brand”, says Detering.
“In general, a lot can be done technologically with today’s printing presses, “but ultimately the idea is decisive,” explains Hunsche. Which idea attracts attention? This could be, for example, a label that establishes a connection to the digital world. “The IT natives see a benefit in it. They have purchasing power,” continues Hunsche. The brand manufacturer must consider which technological option is suitable from the customer’s point of view. However the question arises here too: What makes sense, what perhaps contains too much information? Hunsche knows that there are off-putting examples of value-added promotions on labels from the food industry. “If, for example, a voucher code is not clearly recognizable as such and is confusing to the consumer, then he/she becomes overwhelmed. It is essential that this be avoided. “And one should always keep in mind: The label must match the brand.”