Packaging Matters in 2023: How a Professional Can Help Your Sales Soar

Packaging Matters in 2023: How a Professional Can Help Your Sales Soar

In today’s crowded marketplace, making sure your product stands out on store shelves is more important than ever. With so many options vying for consumers’ attention, you only have a few seconds to capture their interest. But did you know that packaging plays a huge role in catching consumers’ eyes? According to Ipsos research, 72% of consumers are influenced by product packaging, and 67% say the materials used in the packaging matter.

One of the biggest trends in packaging today is sustainability. According to Ipsos, 85% of consumers consider sustainability when purchasing. This is especially true for younger generations like Millennials and Gen Z. Brands that prioritize eco-friendly packaging are more likely to win over these consumers.

Personalization is also becoming more important in packaging. It’s estimated that personalized packaging will double in the next decade, thanks to advances in digital printing. But it’s important to strike a balance between personalization and brand recognition. Your packaging should be visually appealing and instantly recognizable as your brand.

As an SGP-certified, eco-friendly print partner, we have the skills and expertise to help you navigate these challenges. We can provide digital labels with vast personalization options, while also ensuring that your packaging is sustainable and visually appealing. We are ideally positioned to help you soar in 2023. Call us today to learn more about how we can help you create packaging that will stand out on store shelves.

Consistent Color over Time – here’s how!

Consistent Color over Time – here’s how!

Consistent Color Over Time – RRWC

In our business, many of or new label print jobs are considered ‘RRWC’ – Re-Run With Change.  This is not a NEW item (something we have never printed) and not an exact reprint – it is somewhere in the middle.  The most common example in our business is wine labels.  If we printed 2018 Chardonnay last year, and then this year you want another run – 2019 Chardonnay – then this item is RRWC.  We have printed Chardonnay before, but we are updating (changing) to the new vintage and often a new alcohol percentage.


Baled Cans

Revising the Current File – Best Option

When we get an order for Rerun with Change, the BEST option is for Rose City Label to revise our current file and send a proof for approval.  This is the best way to ensure a color match with the existing item.  This is the best way to have consistent color printing.  Providing a new file is not required – and can be detrimental – on RRWC jobs.  Letting us make the file changes per your specification is the best option for the most consistent color printing.  

Fine Tuning After the File is Submitted 

Part of the difficulty with the submission of new files on RRWC jobs is that internally we do several additional processes to your submitted files after the proof is signed.  There is considerable calibration, setup for die cutting and potential foil stamping, and several other steps before the file is ready to print.  And, then we color correct the output to match the desired end sample.  All of this work has to be redone from scratch when you submit a new file.  This is a huge additional task that adds no value to your label production and actually slows down delivery of your labels.

Unintentional Changes = Big Time Wasters

Finally, sometimes when a new file is submitted for a RRWC job, there can be very small, unintended changes that throw off the color match to the previous label.  One small change in how a logo was built, one small change in a background image… Any of these changes can make a big difference and add hours to the label production. Because we don’t generally know what has been changed, we end up spending extra time playing detective to find the correct formula to match the prior label.  This is wasteful in time and material, and adds no value to the final label.

RRWC – Don’t Submit a File, Just Submit your Edits

For best results, trust the experts at Rose City Label to make your edits and send corrected proofs for approval.  Don’t waste time and energy sending new files unless you want a different look!  If you want consistent color printing, let us use the existing file as the base to work from, and edit from there.  Together, this will allow us to get the best results with the fastest turn around time.

Thank you for partnering with us and trusting our 94 years of label experience work for you.  Questions?  Call us today!

Vector File Format for Quality Label Printing

Vector File Format for Quality Label Printing

Vector File Format, please!

As we noted in a previous post, all great labels start with great design.  But besides great creative design, the next most important thing is digital file format.  File format is the package or language that your amazing design is sent to the printer. In many cases, a designer can save your label design file in many different formats.  In order to get the best possible printed labels, we must have Vector File Format.

Vector File Format

What is the Difference?

This image from Vector Magic shows the major difference between raster (bitmap) and vector file format.  Basically, a bitmap file format is like a digital photo – it is a grid with a certain number of dots per inch (DPI) in each direction.  Once that image is sized, it can’t be changed without hurting the quality.  Especially when trying to enlarge an image, the stretched image will never look right.  Depending on the specific file, it can look jagged, distorted, or just generally fuzzy.

With VECTOR FILE FORMAT, rather than a grid of dots, the file has specific instructions:

      • Start 1/4″ from the left edge
      • Draw a circle
      • 2″ below the circle, draw a box
      • etc.

These instructions are not specific to an output size – they can be resized, stretched, or changed without losing print quality.

What do I need to know?

The most important thing to know about Vector File Format, is that you have to specificially ask your designer for this file.  Vector Files are also known as Adobe Illustrator (AI) files, or PDF files, or EPS files.  Any of these are basically interchangable.  The specific names are based on the software used to create the files, but in the end they are interchangable to us for printing high quality labels.

Besides sending files in Vector File Format, the next most important thing is to supply all the component parts. If your design includes specialized fonts, placed images, or logos, please include those and send them as separate files along with your main design file.

Confused? We Can Help – Call us Today!

We do our best to provide tools and tips for our customers that want to be deeply involved in the process.  But, we realize that for many people, labels are just a necessary evil – or something handled by another person in your organization. That is fine.  We are happy to train you as much or as little as you would like.  We are happy to chat directly with your graphic designer if that is more useful.  Regardless of the situation, we can help.  Please call us today.

Digital File Problems to Avoid

Digital File Problems to Avoid

FIRST Logo Small

Certified Professionals

Our success at Rose City Label is due to the quality of our people.  The people that do the work in our business every day are dedicated, experienced, and committed to our customers.  Our job – as a business – is to provide them the tools, training, and motivation to be excellent at their jobs.  Part of that effort includes ongoing training and certifications.  In the last year, our prepress graphics team was Level 3 certified by FIRST – the leading authority in our type of long run, traditional press printing.  This certification was largely a review, but also had good reminders about the basic principles of printing, ink, dot gain, and other factors.  All these play into our ability to create beautiful labels for our customers.

Top Graphics Errors

  1. Fonts not included or Outlined.  The font used in a label is actually a separate file that must be delivered with the label art file.  We have many, many fonts on our system, but if you have a very specific font you need on your label, please include it.  Or, as an alternative, you can outline your text.  This basically turns the text into a graphic element so spell check won’t work and we don’t have any way to edit the file.
  2. Images missing or incorrect.  If your design includes a placed photograph or other image, please include the original image. Again, like the fonts above, this is generally a separate raster image file (not vector).  Also, make sure the resolution is sufficient for a clean, crisp printed label.  300dpi or higher resolution is preferred.
  3. Asking for Edits when No Fonts Provided. This is related to #1 above. If you send your wine label without fonts, and outline the text, then we will have no trouble printing your label this year. But, for next year when we have to update the vintage and alcohol percentage, we won’t be able to since we don’t have the required fonts.

More Advanced Errors

  1. White Ink Layer. If you are printing on clear or metallic label stock, you may want a white layer beneath some of the graphics.  This has to be a specifically named layer in the file.  If it is not clearly labeled and called out in the design, the layer can easily be missed.  Depending on the press platform, white layers can be omitted if not properly formatted.
  2. Overprint layers incorrect.  In printing, the inks can often only be laid down in one order.  This is usually lightest color to darkest, but if you are using layers or special effects of one color on top of another, please contact us to discuss.  This is especially true with foil stamping and embossing – it is always down last, so no ink can print over those effects.
  3. Legacy File Formats in Adobe Illustrator.  We are on a subscription program with Adobe so we always have the latest versions of Adobe Illustrator and other front end software.  However, the back end RIP and imposition software that does the heavy lifting is not updated as regularly as Adobe Illustrator so please save your files in Legacy format so they are backward compatible.
Artwork Matters

Your Artwork Matters

We have talked about quality design previously in this post, but by working with our team and following these tips, we can bring your beautiful creation to life.  The design, the prepress, and the printing press all have to work together to get the desired results.  Thank you for partnering with us and allowing us to print beautiful labels for your products.  We appreciate you and the faith you put in our team.

Precision Quality Printing – Watch Details

Precision Quality Printing – Watch Details

Precision Details Matter

Everything in the label business requires a very high level of attention to detail. Precision details matter.  Even the smallest defect in a product or process can cause an entire job to be rejected.  We always check and double check all the details on our work.  We also rely on our customers and designer partners to provide correct artwork and check their proofs carefully.  Sometimes, even with all these QC procedures in place, we still miss things and have to go back to the drawing board.

In this case, the ORDER of the colors was not fully contemplated in the design process.  As good as computer design software is, it still can’t simulate every situation on press.

Foil Always Down Last (mostly)

In our company, hot stamping foil and embossing are nearly always the last operation in the label production process.  It is possible to add other embellishments to a label after foil, but in general, the foil goes down last.  This means, the foil layer can’t be spread to print under the adjacent colors.  This is a part of the trapping process, which is explained in more detail here.  The important thing for us to catch internally, and for our designer partners to keep in mind, is that foil is always down last.  The image above shows an outline of the digital printing, and the foil set to underprint the digital print, which is not possible.  The result, in this case, was an unwanted part of the foil showing an ugly effect over the primary digital printing.  It took quite a bit of work to figure out the problem, but after a few hours of troubleshooting, we found it. 

brass plate rose city label

The Solution was a New Plate

In this particular situation, the answer was to buy a new printing plate.  This is a lesson learned for everyone in the process – especially us.  This is the kind of thing we work very hard to catch in prepress, but it is a small, obscure detail that is easy to miss.  After a few hours of frustration, and some hand wringing about missed schedules, we were able to come up with a solution.  This job will be back on press with a new plate in about a week, and the end result will be very satisfying for us, the designer, and the end client.  Go team!

Call Us Today – We can help

Since 1928, we have worked hard to solve complicated printing problems to create beautiful labels.  Our collective expertise, along with excellent designer partners, has allowed us produce some beautiful, award winning labels for our customers.  Our ultimate goal is to help the producers – wine, beer, food, and other consumer product companies – connect with their end users.  Beautiful labels help with that.

Precise Color Matching for Amazing Labels

Precise Color Matching for Amazing Labels

Precise Color Matching is something we are very good at.  Here is how we do it.  On our HP Indigo Premium Digital printing press, in nearly all cases, images are printed using the four primary colors – Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and blacK (known as CMYK in the print industry).  Though it is technically possible to purchase premade ‘spot’ colors, they are expensive, problematic, and not used at Rose City Label.

Photographs and complex, multicolor images are quite easy to print on this press.  There are density targets for each of the process colors (C, M, Y and K) and if those color densities are within the proper tolerance, then the image will look correct to the human eye.

Simulating and reproducing solid, spot colors is a bit more complex.  Depending on the color, sometimes just a few percentage points difference in one of the color components make the resulting color visibly different from the target.  This is where color matching comes in.

‘Spot’ Colors – We need a target to match

When we are trying to match a specific color in a large solid area, like a logo element, border, or type, we need something to match to.  The press needs to know what it is trying to print so it can keep that color within a very tight tolerance around the target.  There are two types of targets we can work with – PMS colors and Custom colors.

PMS Colors – the universal language of printed color

Precise Color MatchingPantone is the de facto standard of color communication.  According to the company website, over 10 million designers and producers around the world rely on the Pantone color system.  You can read more by clicking here.  There are hundreds of colors in the Pantone Matching System – also known as PMS colors.  New colors are added every few years as design trends and tastes change.  The beauty of this universal system is that our press knows these colors.  Because they really are a worldwide standard, these colors – and how to print them – are built into our press.  The other huge advantage of using PMS colors is that many designers already have a printed PMS book in their studio – it is a very common design tool.  With this printed color swatch book, we eliminate the time and cost of creating press proofs.

Custom Colors – when PMS isn’t enough

Sometimes despite all the choices available in the PMS library, the color just isn’t right.  In this case, we need to create custom colors.  This is an additional step, but it isn’t difficult if we have a correct, printed standard to work from.  Often to dial in these custom colors, we will provide physical printed press proofs with different variations on the same color.  The customer would review this color proof and pick the color that most closely matches their desired color.

From that chosen printed color sample, we scan that color into our custom color library, and it is retained within the press computer for future runs.  These colors are given a specific, descriptive name for future use, such as ‘Acme Company logo blue’.

Designers – Please read carefully!

The most important thing for designers to know about using ‘spot’ colors in jobs printed on the HP Indigo Premium Digital Press is that you must specifically select the proper color in your label design file.  The computer can’t guess the color you want – it must be very specific.

  •             PMS colors – you must pick the PMS color from within the graphics program (typically Adobe Illustrator).
  •             NEW Custom Colors – you must specify this as a custom color and coordinate with our graphics department to get a press proof (for an additional fee) to finalize and confirm this new color.
  •             Existing Custom Colors – you must specify the exact name of the custom color that was previously decided.  If you submit a future ‘Acme’ label design, but you call the color ‘Acme logo blue’ as opposed to the previously decided ‘Acme Company logo blue’ the computer will not link this new graphic element to the previously designated color.

How we make the colors match

Once these colors (either PMS or designated custom) are properly identified in the label artwork file, then the press magic takes over.  Because the press has a digital image of these colors as a reference, it has a standard to comparePrecise Color Matching the color to.  Throughout the run, as the job is printing, the color is scanned in real-time while the press is running.  Those scanned images on the label are compared and corrected during the run.  The color accuracy during the run is fantastic.

No Standard = No Color Match

Just to restate – none of this magic can happen without a standard to match to.  This standard must be either a PMS color selected within the graphics program, or a custom color that is properly created, named, and used in the label.

Still Not Sure? – No Problem – Call Us Today

We love to provide detailed technical information to help our customers work more efficiently with us.  Ultimately this helps us work together to create the best possible labels as quickly and cost effectively as possible.  But, if you prefer to chat directly with a live person, we are happy to accommodate that too. Our graphics team is always available by phone or email to answer your specific questions.  Together, we can collaborate and make sure your labels are beautiful.