Leave It to Labels for Creative Solutions
New inks and adhesives, as well as innovative design concepts, are stimulating label sales.
According to Carl Gerlach, marketing director for Gill Studios, Shawnee Mission, Kan., labels are one of the most creative products that distributors can offer to their customers. "Between the imprinting and the diecutting, a label or decal gives imaginative distributors wonderful opportunities to impress their customers," he said.
Gerlach explained that, in general, Gill Studios refers to flexographically printed paper substrates intended for short-term, indoor applications as labels, and the more durable, screen-printed poly and vinyl products typically used outdoors as decals. "However, a harsh, indoor industrial environment requires the durability that screen printing provides. Flexography, on the other hand, is beginning to offer greater longevity, although still not matching that of screen printing. And, as ink technology advances, substrates other than paper are being used in flexo processes," he added.
Gerlach went on to say that developments in label adhesives and substrates are driving new applications. In addition, end-users seem to be doing a little more research and are becoming more informed buyers who know exactly what they want. "Customers' requests are resulting in combinations of different printing processes and different materials to achieve unique label products," he commented.
For example, one end-user wanted a decal tipped onto an offset sheet for a magazine insert. The job involved two different printing methods to produce two different products that were then combined.
There was also an order that involved a plastic substrate and, rather than a screen imprint, the end-user wanted it hot stamped for a super-shiny, metallic look. "More and more often, we're seeing people really pushing their creative limits," Gerlach observed. "It's great because it gets us all thinking outside of the box to come up with ways to achieve the solution."