Upgrading Water Wash Plates Again!

Upgrading Water Wash Plates Again!

Help From our Friends

Our printing plates have been made with a water wash system since 2016. We were recognized for our eco friendly business practices for this move. Recently, the machine that makes these plates had an electrical issue. Thankfully, we were able to buy a backup machine from a friend in California. The timing couldn’t have worked out better, and it is a reminder of why the label industry is so special – people really pull together to help each other.

Since we were upgrading to a newer version of the machine, we took this time to clean up the room that houses the machine. Having a clean, bright environment is vital to getting the highest quality printing plates on press.

Quick Delivery — Minimal Downtime

Because our friends already had the machine ready for sale, they were able to get it on a truck within 24 hours. What started out as a plea to borrow a few parts turned into a full upgrade of our system. The timing couldn’t have been better. And, since our production manager, Jim, had worked with the California company in the past and has a very solid reputation, they shipped the unit to us immediately. It pays to have a solid reputation in the printing industry. You never know when you will need help from your friends.

APR to the Rescue

Even with the machine here in our building, we still needed the factory technician to come in from Chicago to help install it. All Print Resources (APR) came to our rescue and helped us get back up and running in record time. What a comforting feeling to have a partner like APR. Check this recent case study in an industry magazine to learn more about our partnership with APR.

Thank You Team

This was a stressful time at Rose City Label, but our team worked together and got the job done – with no disruption to our customers. We have a newer, fully calibrated and optimized plate maker and we are ready to help more customers with amazing labels. Thank your team!

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.

We are Beverage Can Label Experts!

We are Beverage Can Label Experts!

Beverage Can Label Experts

Because of the great brewery customers that have trusted us all these years, we have become beverage can label experts.  Putting labels on cold, wet cans moving at high speed is not easy.  Excellent machine operators need to keep the speed, tension, and label pressure at optimal levels. Still, without premium labels from bevergage can label experts, you don’t have a chance.

Tons of New Sizes!

Today we print for many, many different can sizes.  16oz and 12oz are definitely most popular, but the 19.2oz can is coming on strong.  A few of our brewery clients are going exclusively to the 4-pack of 16oz cans for all their packaged beer in 2021.  No bottles and no other formats.  Whatever you need, we can help.  We add new sizes to our library every week.

Gateway Brewing is a wonderful community brewery.  They had good success during COVID-19 by offering home delivery of their 16oz cans.  We love working with smart, creative businesses that adapt and stay relevant in tough times.  Check them out at gatewaybrewingpdx.com

Cider in Cans, Too!

Most of our beverage can labels are for beer – maybe that is changing.  More and more we are seeing cider, mead, and CBD infused seltzers packaged in cans.  This diversity makes it even more interesting for us.  And the material choices are endless – clear, white, metallic – we lots of options to make your design pop off the shelf.  And, with our very dense white ink, we can provide some amazing effects on clear and metallic substrates – ask us about them when you call with your next project.

Protection Matters!

The label hasn’t done its job until it gets into the consumer’s shopping cart and then into their cooler while still representing your brand image.  This requires lamination.  A laminate (lamination) is a thin layer of poly that is fused over the ink to protect from scuffing.  Most bottles have a ridge or bumper designed into the profile so you never have the label rubbing against the adjacent label – this protection isn’t provided to cans.  Cans are just a perfect cylinder with constant rubbing and scuffing.  Without lamination, your labels will look horrible in the grocery cooler.

Work with Experts!

Thankfully for you, we have made all the mistakes and learned all the lessons.  We work with all the leading mobile canners and we know how to get can labels done on time and budget.  We are beverage can label experts!  Call us today – we look forward to helping you.

Design for Quality Flexographic Printing

Design for Quality Flexographic Printing

Small Changes Make Better Labels

Quality flexographic printing begins with design. By outlining reverse type, adding a stroke to white text, and overprinting elements in one color, your label quality will improve dramatically.  There will ALWAYS be a small amount of misregistration on any printing press, and these simple art techniques can completely hide that from the eye of the consumer.

Reverse Copy is the Killer!

Reversing small text out of multiple colors spells trouble on press. Overprinting (and enlarging) will improve print quality.

When 4 or more colors are printed, with text knocked out, they must be in 100% perfect registration to print clean, crisp white text.  Sadly, at high speed this really isn’t achievable consistently.

Small changes that don’t compromise the artwork integrity provide crisp text on every label.

 

Outlines to the Rescue!

With a small black outline, you can hide any possible movement on press.  This border around the letters hides any stray movement.  It also makes the small type appear more crisp and readable to the eye.  

Additionally, printing the Independent Craft logo in Black, over the other colors, is another good way to avoid any misregistration.  When an element is only printed in one color, it can’t show any fuzzy edges or movement.

 

Quality Flexographic Printing

Our presses are nearly magic, but they do have limitations.  Yes, Digital Printing is exploding and fast growing at Rose City Label, but it isn’t the perfect solution for every job.  For long run, repeating work, the proven traditional press technology works very well.  This press is over 50′ long and the paper in the press webs up and down between stations.  This means that the total length of paper between the first and last station is over 100′.  If your print registration (precision alignment between colors) is even off 0.001% that will show to the careful eye.  Learn more about quality flexographic printing here.

What is the penalty for not designing correctly?

The results will not be pretty if these guidelines are ignored.  Luckily, this image is generated within our software to ‘simulate’ a movement of HALF a MILIMETER – this wasn’t printed on press, because we applied the proper corrections before we got to press.  Part of this is handled in prepress, the graphics department within a label company that fixes things like this to make them press friendly.  With out hundreds of years of combined experience, we know how to spot these problems early in the process.  The job of the designer and customer is to trust us, work with us, and allow us to help you get the most beautiful label we can make for you.

Questions?  Call us today.  We can help.

 

High Speed Cold Foil Printing

High Speed Cold Foil Printing

High Speed Cold Foil Printing

This amazing technology doesn’t fully replace hot stamp printing, and it isn’t perfect for every application, but it solves many problems.  This runs at near full press speed (up to 150 feet per minute) and completely avoids the processing on a separate machine.  It takes one full step and station out of process which saves time and money.

 

First, a special UV-curable adhesive is printed onto the label stock using a standard printing plate – no need for an expensive engraved metal plate

Next the foil is laminated to the label stock with the wet adhesive below it.  Then, the UV lamp cures the wet adhesive throught the foil.

Finally, the foil is peeled away from the label.  You can see where the printed image was left on the label – held down by the cured adhesive. 

Perfect for Labels

This inline high speed cold foil printing is perfect for labels. Here is why:

  • Faster press speeds reduce overall cost
  • No need for expensive engraved copper plates
  • Reduced handling for faster delivery
  • Wide variety of foils available

Thanks for considering this relatively new technology for your next project.  We are growing more excited about this with every job we run.  Call us today!

Elegant Hot Stamp Foil Printing

Elegant Hot Stamp Foil Printing

Elegant Hot Stamp Foil Printing

As we come out of COVID-19 every consumer product will be looking to grow their impact.  Every bottle of beer, wine, spirits and soda will be vying for new customer eyes.  Shopping will be a new beginning and old brand loyalties will largely be forgotten.  Getting out of the gate strong, making a huge impact on your ‘new’ customers right away, can be a game changer for many brands.  Think of this restart after COVID-19 as a blank slate – a true rebirth of physical products in the marketplace.  All the old loyalties and prejudices are gone – everyone is shopping in your category for the first time.

Nothing improves your image more than hot stamp foil printing on your label.  Foil pops off the shelf.  The lighting in a retail shelf or cold case interacts with the label in a way that catches the consumer.  You have read many scientific studies about how consumer eyes track around a shelf – you have milliseconds  to grab customer attention. Using elegant hot stamp foil on your label gives you that edge – the slight margin you need to capture new eyeballs and new customers.  Don’t waste this opportunity to grab your consumer for the first time.

The Machine

Although we have been hot stamp foil printing for years, we upgraded our machine a few years ago to a full servo-driven, state of the art press.  See the machine in action on our YouTube channel.  Basically, the process is the same as it Foil Platehas always been – you heat a magnesium, copper, or brass plate up to 220 degrees and smash the foil onto the label with tremendous force.  The process is the same, but this press is much more precise.  These are the key features explained in the video:

  • Large image area – 9″ x 9″ image area allows us to run very large labels, or run many at a time for better economy.
  • Stable steel frame to transfer needed force with precision.
  • Servo driven register for exacting foil placement.
  • Modern electronics for reliable production into the future.
  • Backed by a world wide company and a US-based service technician.

For all these reasons, the new machine is a fantastic addition to our lineup.  We are thrilled to have this technology in house – staffed by our own people – so we can always meet your needs for hot stamp foil label printing.  When you need an edge in the market after COVID-19, we are here to help.

Design Considerations

Elegant Hot Stamp FoilBecause this is a bit of a crude printing technology, the design must be appropriate.  Fade screens, photos, and extreme detail is not possible with hot stamp foil printing.  The printing plate seen in this image is etched or engraved (depending on the metal) and the fine details are not possible.  Besides the plate detail, the physical process of smashing foil into paper is not as elegant as our other printing press options.  Typically bold logos, sans serif type, and borders are good candidates for hot stamp foil printing.  If you have a design in mind, please send it to us for review.  We can make suggestions to help maximize the impact of your foil elements without wasting money on areas that won’t print well.  Fine lines – especially parallel lines together – can be very difficult.  The result can be a crude, blocky appearance that defeats the effect you are trying to create.  Send us your file for review – we can help get the foil in the right places for maximum impact.

Call Us Today – We have 35 YEARS of Hot Stamp Foil Printing!

We are experts in this area.  For nearly 35 years we have been industry leaders in elegant hot stamp foil printing.  Other label printers send jobs to us!  We are respected in this area because of our knowlege, experience, and results.  This COVID-19 crisis has been brutal on many of our customers.  We are here for you and want to see you rise from this with a better business than ever.  Elegant Hot Stamp foil printing can make a difference in your recovery.  Call us today.  We can help!