How important is your label?

Never judge a book by it’s cover we’ve heard time and time again. But we do, at some deeply emotional level, a cover either resonates with us or it doesn’t. The same is true of wine labels.

The market for wine labels is forecast to grow by 2% between 2016 and 2018, but in the Pacific Northwest, we’re pretty sure the growth’s going to be stronger that that.

With an increasingly competitive market, incorporating local producers, those from other parts of the United States, and international producers, wineries have to consider carefully the decisions they make on product marketing in order to maximize profitability for their product.

Consumers, faced with around 750 bottles to choose from (in a US supermarket) consumers will rely on wine labels, rather than looking at wine guides, reviews, advertising, and even above asking employees.

Label design has greatest influence in persuading wine novices than for connoisseurs. However, wine novices represent the vast majority of the wine market, at least by volume. They tend also to be the more price sensitive. This means therefore, that a good label design can help persuade a novice buyer to spend a little more on one wine over another, based on nothing else at all.

Generally, the advice we give out to up and coming wineries is to spend almost the same attention to planning the branding and image for your wines as you do their taste.  To read more about good wine label design principles… we’ve shared this great presentation found on LinkedIn.

The 2016 NW Food and Wine Festival: Don’t Miss It!

The 2016 NW Food and Wine Festival: Don’t Miss It!

As we turn the corner into November, the holiday season is just around the bend. If you’re like us, you look forward to the warmth of gatherings of friends and family—and the delicious food and drinks you’ll share.

What better way to kick off the season’s eatings (and drinkings) than at the Northwest Food and Wine Festival? Coming Saturday, November 12 to the Doubletree Hotel at Lloyd Center; this is your chance to sample some of the region’s finest wines and delicious small bites.


Northwest Wine Tasting and More

The event, which offers your choice of general or VIP admission, includes live music and an array of wines from some of Oregon and Washington’s finest vintners. You’ll also find local brewers and distillers showcasing their finest.


Flavors of the Pacific Northwest

This festival isn’t just about wine; you foodies will find plenty to interest you as well. In addition to some flavorful bites to taste, you’ll find some treats available for purchase. For the home chef, look for the latest and greatest in kitchen gear and equipment.


Best of all, if you attend this year’s Northwest Food and Wine Festival, you’ll be in the company of local gourmet food, spirits and wine enthusiasts. What a great way to meet new friends!

New Rules for Food & Beverage Labels

New Rules for Food & Beverage Labels

Just last month, the FDA finalized its new requirements for the new Nutrition Facts label for packaged foods and beverages. This is good news for consumers, who can use the updated layout and information to make better-informed food choices. The new label design is easier to read and understand while retaining the iconic look people have come to recognize.

Nearly all food and beverage manufacturers will need to adjust their labeling within the next two to three years in order to comply with the new requirements for FDA Nutrition Facts labels. Food and beverage producers with annual sales totaling $10 million or more will have until July 26, 2018 to comply. Those with sales of less than $10 million annually will have until July 26, 2019 to bring their labels into compliance.

Changes to Nutrition Facts Labeling

Some of the FDA’s changes are meant to make certain data stand out, such as using large, bold type for serving size and calorie count. The updated Nutrition Facts label is easier to read, understand and scan.

Other changes include:

  • Changes to required nutrients listed
  • Gram amounts of certain nutrients in addition to daily value percentage
  • Updated daily values
  • New footnote detailing the meaning of “daily value”

New Data on Nutrition Facts Labels

In addition to these changes, the new nutrition label includes some data not previously mandated. Several reputable groups, including the World Health Organization, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Heart Association, recommend decreasing our intake of added sugars. For that reason, the FDA now requires “added sugars” to be listed in addition to “total sugars” in food and beverage labeling.

Updated Serving Size

Perhaps the most long-overdue change in the Nutrition Facts label is an update to serving size, to more accurately reflect the amounts people actually consume. In the past, serving size was an arbitrary amount, left up to the manufacturer to decide. This led to unrealistic “serving” sizes such as one-third of a muffin or 1.6 “servings” of soda in a bottle. Additionally, Americans tend to consume more in one sitting than they did several decades ago, when the Nutrition Facts label was first introduced.

Additionally, since package sizes affect the amounts people eat or drink, packages that are between one and two servings are to be labeled as a single serving. For certain package sizes, manufacturers will have to provide “dual column” labels to indicate the amount of calories and nutrients on both a per serving and per package/per unit basis. With dual-column labels available, people will be able to easily compare the calories and nutrients they are getting if they choose to consume one serving or the entire package at one time.

Are Your Custom Product Labels in Compliance?

If the FDA requires your product to bear a Nutrition Facts Label, let us help you prepare for the required changes. Don’t wait until the deadline is approaching—these food and beverage label changes are already proving popular with consumers.
The sooner you shift to the new nutrition label format, the more likely your customers are to recognize you as a company that cares about their health and well-being.

Craft Beer Labels: Styles, Seasons and Events

When it comes to designing a label for your craft beer, you have several things to consider. In most cases, you’ll feature your brand and logo on every label, as well as your multipack packaging. So how best to maintain a cohesive brand style while making each individual brew stand out from its brethren? How do you deliver variations on a theme while making each brew instantly recognizable as part of your brand?

Part of the beauty of craft beer is its individuality; its uniqueness. For most brewers, this extends to the artwork on the label. In many cases, you already have a remarkable logo that reflects your business personality. By featuring your logo and using labels with variances in color, background image or even shape, you make each batch instantly recognizable to your loyal fans while introducing your brand to everyone who tries any of your beers for the first time.

Varying Labels by Beer Style

Many craft brewers will simply change the background color and the text to differentiate their IPA from their German Lager. Certainly, this will get the job done. However, this can make for a shelf display that’s rather lackluster.

Why not have a little fun with the feature of each brew? For example, you could underlay a subtle golden honeycomb design into the background of your honey wheat ale labels. Your double-hopped IPA labels could feature your logo artwork perched against a background of pen-and-ink-drawn hops. The possibilities are as limitless as the flavors of your craft brews.

Labeling Your Seasonal Brews

Seasonal craft beers are increasingly popular, and many brewers wisely capitalize on that consumer trend by offering a cycle of limited edition beers throughout the year. You can have fun with seasonal craft beer labels as well. As above, background images or patterns are a good choice.

You can also change the shape of your seasonal beer labels to reflect the flavors within. Imagine a summer shandy with the label die-cut into the shape of a lemon. Your fall flavors ale could feature a pumpkin-shaped label and the winter stout may have your logo emblazoned on a snowman’s chest.

Custom Beer Labels for Special Events

If you’re hosting an event, or providing libations for a wedding, company retreat or other affair, that can become a fabulous opportunity to pair your image with the theme of the celebration. Even if your usual label printing is done on a conventional printing press, Rose City Label can easily do a short run of special edition beer labels on our digital press.

Because there are no plates to manufacture, digital label printing is perfectly suited to short runs such as for special events. With this technology, you can create custom craft beer labels for community events without the setup expenses associated with traditional label printing. So don’t be afraid to feature your limited editions and special event brews with subtle changes in art framing your recognizable brand logo. Your consumers will be impressed with the detail.

Ready to discuss how we can help your collection of brews jump off the shelf with a unique set of eye-catching custom beer labels? Bring us your artwork and tell us your goals. We’ll help you determine the perfect way to make your craft beer collection stand out among the rest.

Innovation: Making Your Brand Shine

Recently, one of our clients came to us asking for the glossiest finish possible for their gourmet food labels. After looking through some samples of our previous work, they still wanted something with a bit more shiny gloss to it than anything we’d produced in the past. This company sought the most brilliantly reflective, wet-look labels available; and we agreed that such a label would really set them apart from competing products.

But how to accomplish this goal?

We already have multiple ways to provide our customers with a varnished, glossy product label. Could we improve on that? Could we make it … shinier? Could we set up the design, and then somehow add a deeper, gleaming shine to the finished run? At Rose City Label, we relish a challenge such as this one.

Experimenting With Label Finishes

For many of our current labels, from food and beverage to personal products, we already use a clear coat—rather like a varnish—as the final step in label printing. This liquid coating is then cured under a powerful UV light. This seemed like a good place to start.

Could the solution to this challenge be as simple as using a heavier dose of clear coat for this client’s food labels? That presented a problem. Too much, and the UV light won’t penetrate deeply enough into the coating. This would result in a tacky, unfinished surface. Still, it seemed to be the best place to begin.

We ended up adjusting the printing press to deliver just the right amount of clear coat to obtain a deep, polished gleam without applying a heavier coat than the UV light can penetrate. It took some trial and error, but we found just the right amount of clear gloss to overlay onto the printed labels for an intense shine, fully cured and smooth to the touch.

Do You Have a Labeling Challenge?

For most labeling challenges, we may already have the ideal solution to provide custom product labels you—and your customers—will love. Your business faces enough trials on a daily basis. Let us handle the responsibility of providing the look and feel you desire for your custom product labels. We’ll find just the right process to deliver a high quality, consistent result.

Give us a call at 1-800-547-9920 or contact us online. We welcome the opportunity to provide the custom label solutions you seek for your product.

5 Steps to Find the Correct Label Technology

5 Steps to Find the Correct Label Technology

Theory and background are important, but now it is time to really begin printing your labels! You need to have the background work done – read more about that in a previous post by clicking here. Once you have laid the foundation and you have a solid brand, it is time to dive into the details of getting your perfect labels printed.  Follow the path laid out here, and you will be able to select the correct label technology for your project.

If you believe your new food, beverage, tool or gadget is really going to make people happy or improve their lives, you owe it to the world to get your product out there – don’t keep it to yourself. Go out and make it happen today.

  • How Complex and How Stable is Your Design?

If you have a full color or photographic design, then digital and conventional printing are both very good options.  If your design is more of a classic, simple layout, like a traditional wine label printed with one or two colors, then you will have a cost advantage with traditional press printing – more colors mean more cost on a traditional press.  How likely are you to revise your design on the next run?  If you aren’t in love with the design, this will lean you toward the digital production option because there are no setup fees and no penalties for changing the design on your future orders.  Simple design? Consider traditional press.  Very rough, unstable design? Lean toward digital printing.

  • How many labels can you commit to right now?

The more labels you buy, the cheaper they will be – this is true across all print platforms.  Sometimes it makes sense to select a fixed budget – ‘how many labels can I get for $700?’, but sometimes it makes more sense to base the quantity on your sales projections, or your batch quantity for production of your beer, wine, or peanut butter.  We never recommend buying more than a year’s supply of labels – buying more than this, generally, won’t lower your cost that much but it will add more risk of wasting labels – in case you move, change ingredients, or decide you want to give your labels a facelift.  Depending on the quantity you decide on, smaller quantities generally tend to favor digital production options.  The size of the label weighs on this decision too, but in most cases, 50-1000 labels should be printed on our Economy Digital platform, 1,000 to 10,000 labels belong in our Premium Digital department, and initial orders over 10,000 labels run best on our Traditional Press area.

  • Do you need metallic inks, perforation, special adhesive or other special operations?

Traditional press printing is still 70% of our business, despite the rapid growth of digital.  Because of this, we have many more material choices in the traditional press department – both label materials and adhesives.  We also have many, many more standard cutting dies available.  Metallic inks, inline embossing, perforation, top scoring, and many other special operations are ONLY available on the traditional press.  Finally, because the press is so much larger and faster, the very lowest cost labels will always be produced on the traditional printing press in almost all cases.

  • Do you want to add ‘bling’ like embossing or foil stamping?

Once you have decided on the primary printing technology, you get to look at the dessert menu.  What do you want to add onto the top of the beautiful label you just produced?  With our state of the art foil and embossing equipment, we can add a little extra ‘spice’ to any label – regardless of which press technology was used to print it.  Embossing and foil stamping make a label ‘pop’ and stand out on the shelf.  These secondary operations aren’t for everyone, and they aren’t cheap, but they do give a dimension to your product that you can’t get any other way.  Maybe you have a full line of food, beverage, or consumer products?  Consider embossing or foil stamping for your top tier product – the Private Reserve level – this will make it stand out, but still remain obviously recognizable as a part of your product family.

  • That’s It – Go Make it Happen!

Once we have the printing technology selected (Economy Digital, Premium Digital, or Traditional Press) and we have confirmed the need for secondary upgrades (adding the ‘bling’), we are ready to submit an order!  All orders are quoted and confirmed within 48 hours.  PDF proofs are sent back within 3 business days.  After PDF approval, typical lead time is about 7-9 working days.  That’s it!  Your product is ready to be released to the world – go out and make it happen.  If you believe your new food, beverage, tool or gadget is really going to make people happy or improve their lives, you owe it to the world to get your product out there – don’t keep it to yourself. Go out and make it happen today.

More questions?  No problem – we can help.  Follow this checklist and you will be on your way to making the right decisions, but don’t be afraid to ask for help along the way.  We do this every day, so we have many more ideas to help you launch your product with great success.