Labels Need a Shape
Nearly all the labels we produce are die cut to a specific shape. Some are simple rectangles, but many are custom shapes. Regardless of the specific shape nearly all our labels to through the process of high speed rotary die cutting before they get to the customer.
Engraved Dies for Long Life
Many of our labels use very flexible, in expensive magnetic dies now. Our off line die cutter used for digital production uses only magnetic dies. Check out the video of this machine here. Even with this rapid growth, engraved (solid) dies are still very popular and useful on our longer run flexographic label presses.
Across and Around
Because the die image is engraved on the rotary tool, we can’t change the orientation on press. The die can only run in one direction on the roll. Once the label is removed from the backing, you can turn it any direction for hand application, but if you are machine applying your labels, then the run direction is critical. Nobody wants labels upside down on their bottle! For clarity, we always refer to the ACROSS and AROUND dimension on a roll label. This image shows the difference, so please be sure your labels are oriented the correct way.
Call Us Today – We Can Help
With 90 years in business and millions of labels printed, we have thousands of cutting dies to choose from. Sometimes (but not often) we have the same label size running in multiple directions on the roll. If the roll unwind is important to you, please clarify that up front before you design your labels to fit a particular cutting die.
Thank you! Call us at 503-777-4711 today!
Label Branding Experts
The Rose City Label label branding experts can help you connect with your customers. Your brand is a promise to your customers. It sets the expectation for their experience with your product. After purchasing and trying your product, the quality of the product and the service that delivers the product will bring them back. Before they purchase, it is your brand that will bring them in.
Your Authentic Brand Voice
Knowing your purpose is critical. Before you come to visit the label branding experts, you need to know exactly the image you want – fancy, relaxed, formal, or casual? How do you want people to feel when they eat, drink, or apply your product to their body? Are you a good value? Premium quality? Best supported? What makes your product special and why should someone choose you? Once you have this, you can begin to select the ideal label color as discussed in this previous post.
Your ideal Customer
Who you are selling to is another thing to decide before you come to the label branding experts. Who you are talking to will radically inform the decision about your label design, material, size, and perhaps even quantity. When in doubt, go smaller on your target market. You only want to target and focus on the ideal customer. If you focus on this group, you will catch some adjacent groups that buy, and that is great, but don’t dilute your branding by focusing on a wide market. Go narrow.
What Resonates with Them?
Your look and feel – especially your packaging and labels – must be defined on the wants and needs of your ideal customers. You have to be authentic and speak in your true voice, but if your ideal customer doesn’t resonate with the message, you have a problem! Make sure your facility, the taste and style of your product, and especially your labels, all resonate with this idea customer.
Everything Works A Little
All the elements of your BRAND – from how you answer the phone to the quality of your physical product – all contribute to your ultimate brand experience. Hopefully, if you use discipline and thought, all these touch points work together. Everything must work together – the elements of your brand don’t exist in a vacuum. Make sure everything is working together. All the elements need to reinforce each other.
It’s A Marathon Not a Sprint
Think about the lifetime value of a customer, not just the first sale. The marketing journey is a long game. Don’t get discouraged – make sure you have the discipline to keep the business and the marketing going over the long haul. Branding and marketing is an ongoing, never ending process. It is a marathon, not a sprint.
Labels Can Help
One of the key parts of this brand is your physical brand. If you have a product in a bag, box or bottle, your labels are critical. If they don’t align with your other branding elements, you will have a hard time growing your business. The labels have to reinforce (rather than fight with) the other elements of your brand. If you like the way the RCL label branding experts think about branding, please call us today.
Begin with the End In Mind
Remember that every part of your business that the customer sees has an impact – positive or negative – whether it is intentional or accidental. Everything WILL have an impact, and by being proactive and thoughtful, you can shape that impact. Think about the feelings you want people to have when they come to your store, view your packaging, or use your product. How do they feel? These are all good and viable feelings your product could invoke, but they are all very different.
- Bad A$$?
Be sure that when you set out to create or update your brand, you begin with this end in mind. Start with you you want them to feel when they interact with you, then work backwards to create that feeling.
Labels are Only Part of the Package
We love labels! Labels are our life – but we know that they are only a small part of the brand. Labels only ‘work’ to the extent that they reinforce and build on your web design, your on-premise look and feel, your menu, your actual product in the bag, box, or bottle. The owners’ personality also plays into this – if you are an owner-operator, or otherwise serve as the ‘face’ of the business, then how you interact matters too. Again, we don’t want to minimize the value of labels (never!) but we realize they are part of a larger branding system. Read more about that in the great article below.
Start with your Authentic Brand
Begin with your message and your brand voice. A presentation by our friend Clare Carver was the inspiration for this Authentic Brand blog post. Check it out. This is covered in more detail in the tutorial below.
Check out this Cool Tutorial from Codo
This is one of the most comprehensive, well written guides to branding that we have seen. This is specifically targeted to Craft Beer (which is a big part of our business) but it could equally apply to any product company with a consumer product in a bag, box, or bottle. Anyone with any business could learn from this guide. Check it by clicking here
Need Label Help?
Once you have the complete branding package complete, and you need to bring that brand vision into the world, please call us! We can help reinforce your brand and bring it to life in the hands of your consumers. We have great printing technology and people ready to help. Call us today!
What is the best label color?
This is a complex question with conflicting research on all sides. Regardless, one thing is clear – the best label color is the one that reinforces your authentic brand. Your brand voice must be established first before a label color can be selected to bring that voice to the market. Check out this post about Your Authentic Brand and Clare Carver’s rules to build your brand here
Once the brand and the brand voice are solid, you can begin to work on the best label color.
Is it important? Yes!
According to Emerald Insight and others (full study here), people make up their minds about a product or person – including your beer, wine, soap – within 90 seconds. And, importantly for us, 62-90% of that initial reaction is based on color. That’s right – color! Having the best label color is critical.
What does each color say – what makes the best label color?
Begin with the end in mind – what emotion are you trying to evoke? Happy? Angry? Fired up to Party? Each of these desired consumer reactions will require a different best label color. Yes – as always – it depends. If you know your intended reaction, and your brand voice, then finding the best label color is easy.
Specific examples of Best Label Color
Real Simple magazine has a great breakdown of 10 different colors and the reactions they evoke. Read the full article by clicking here. Here are a few examples, but read the full article for more detailed explanations.
- Black – the signature color of sophistication. Where do you want your brand positioned in the mind of your target consumer?
- Blue – everyone likes blue. It connotes trust and dependability. A blue logo can increase loyalty and feelings of security. Is this the reaction you want? Maybe this is your best label color?
- Burgundy – rich and refined. Think of full bodied, bold (expensive) wines. Luxury.
- Orange – fair and affordable are typical reactions from this color.
- Red – This may be your best label color is you want a hot, excited consumer, but red also means ‘stop’ or caution or danger to many people. Choose carefully.
There are five more great colors, and links to other research, in the full article link above.
Summary and Next Actions
Begin with your well defined brand image and voice. From there, layer on the reaction you want from your target consumer. From there, the best label color decision is much easier and logical. With all this data, you also need to add in a touch of your own flair and gut feeling. These are guidelines that are very helpful, but ultimately your decision is up to you. Make sure you are being consistent with your ultimate business goals – read this post for more information about brand alignment.
Still Stuck? Call us Today
We can help solve the best label color problem. We do it for many customers each year and we are happy to help you, too. With our new HP Indigo Press, printing great labels has never been easier. Cheers!
Beer label design is critical to building your brand and we like staying on the cutting edge with events like this. This sold out event was fun and inspiring as we work with our customers to keep their beer label design fresh.
Live Design in Real Time
Led by beer label design guru Ryan Wheaton, the Rough Draught event featured four designers doing live design in a compressed 90 minute time frame. Each designer was paired with a specific beer that was released for the event. Attendees were invited to taste the beer and come up with catchy names for the beers. Ultimately, in 90 minutes, the beers were named and labels were designed on site. This was likely the fastest beer label design they had ever done. Hearing the designers talk about their inspiration and process was very interesting.
Learning while They Draw
Harvey Shepard – founder of Oh Beautiful Beer gave us a fantastic history lesson while the designers were hard at work. Starting with the very first packaging – which was not controlled by the brewery or standardized – through prohibition, we learned about all the ups and downs of beer packaging through the ages. More important for many was the commentary on the current proliferation of specialty, one-off, short run products (and labels). Harvey did a good job of pointing out that all trends run in cycles and what is working now may not be viable in 5 years. Speaking of 5 years, this was a general guideline for a brand refresh. Every case is different – and elements of a brand may need a refresh much sooner – but this was an interesting and helpful part of the Q&A session.
True to the Brand – Discipline
This was another great reinforcement of something we preach daily – the design has to be true to the brand. Labels don’t exist in a vacuum, they are part of a larger brand story. In order to be effective, this story has to be authentic and consistent. Harvey was asked about how he avoids creating beer labels that all look the same and this was the answer – discipline. Designers in his studio Blind Tiger Design in Seattle work very hard to listen and draw out the authentic brand story. This discovery process is critical, and clearly one of the things that keeps their design fresh, fun, and authentic to the brands they serve.
Design is Key
Why does Rose City Label care about design this much? Design is key. Without great design partners, the label printing process is boring and our customers aren’t likely to succeed. We don’t do in-house design, but we do have a wonderful group of design partners that we can refer you to. Thanks to Ryan, Harvey, and our friends at Hopworks for hosting this fun, interesting event.
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.