What makes a label worthy of winning an international award? Solid design and vibrant colors are two keys. And labels that help to move products off store shelves are deemed successful, of course. For a more in-depth look into what makes labels stand out, MPR talked with four executives whose...
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In terms of leading-edge technologies, ASL Print FX is constantly investing in top line print presses as well as its prepress equipment. “Over the last eight years, we have invested over $8 million to ensure we can share this innovation with our clients,” Hamilton-Edwards concluded. Its 12 printing presses deliver up to a dozen stations with foils, silkscreens, raised textures, scratch-n-reveal, variable data, laminations, and effect varnishes, all printed in a single pass.
In prepress, its Kodak Flexcel NX plating system provides consistent structure and repeatability on press -- the result of a stable, flat-top dot structure. The firm also was one of the first converters in North America to offer proprietary HDFX screening: “The ability to print a 20-micron dot allows us to achieve close to continuous-tone imaging -- softer shadows, smoother highlights, and near-photographic quality images,” touts its website.
More Vino, Please
In addition to ASL Print FX and McDowell Label, TAPP Label Technologies is one of four other U.S. winners of a 2012 WLA award (see sidebar). A total of 21 WLA awards were presented to firms worldwide. TAPP won for Terravant Wine’s Cloud Valley 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon label, an international winner in the category of Offset Wines/Spirits. “Submitting winning entries at TAPP Label starts with selection and ends with inspection,” explained Bill Knopka, VP of sales and marketing at the Napa, CA firm that specializes in wine and spirits label solutions. “We carefully select the labels that represent the best of what we do, are technically challenging, aesthetically sophisticated, and unique from other labels.
“Our [award] selection process is a year-round endeavor that is a very lengthy and involved, calling upon the various business teams within the company. Our inspection process of potential label contest candidates is where winning labels come to the fore. We review hundreds of labels, one at a time to find that representative portion of the run that is competition-worthy.”
Early in 2013, TAPP Label acquired the assets of nearby wine label competitor Ben Franklin Press & Label. In late 2012, the firm took delivery of an HP Indigo WS6600 digital offset press, the latest model for wine labels with an inline primer unit. Also, arriving in March from the U.K. was a fully loaded ABG Digicon finishing press that provides the high-class finishing of multiprocess labels. This technology bridges the gap between digital and traditional label printing, according to TAPP CEO John Attayek.
“This new HP WS 6600 does the work of the two old ones,” Attayek told the North Bay Business Journal. “That’s how we could justify the capital expenditure, which was a large investment for us, coupled with the new multiprocess Digicon finishing press. We couldn’t have made this investment and done the deal with Ben Franklin Press without TAPP’s dramatic turnaround in the last 12 to 18 months.” TAPP returned one of its earlier-model Indigo models at the plant while keeping one as a backup and for additional capacity.
If your firm wins a prestigious label award, such as WLA, how can your firm toot its own horn and get the most mileage from its recognition? “We make sure award-winning label projects are given a press release, so that our various constituencies are aware of the work we are doing and the recognition it is receiving,” shared Bill Orme, marketing communications manager for Smyth Companies, the 136-year old label printer based in St. Paul, MN. Its Dow Industries subsidiary (Wilmington, MA), acquired two years ago, won for the Dream Angels Glow fragrance wash label it produced for Victoria’s Secret.
“We also feature award-winning and other noteworthy or technically challenging projects in case histories, which we share with prospects and clients in order to demonstrate our capabilities and innovative solutions,” Orme added. Taking self promotion a step further, Smyth often will compose white papers featuring one or more of these projects. “[These] give readers an idea of the lengths we go to in order to develop new labeling solutions for our clients’ packaged brands,” he said.