Tag Archive for: digital label printers

Get Inspired: Zodiac Label Design

Get Inspired: Zodiac Label Design

For many, as a new year begins, it’s time to look at the astrological forecast to see what 2018 has to offer. So, use the zodiac signs to design a new line of products, or reinvigorate a classic label with a new packaging twist. Those who connect with the practice will naturally gravitate to your idea of their perfect product. That said, there are three ways of approaching the label design task and catching customers’ attention.


Zodiac wine labels Designed by Andrew Herwig
Zodiac Wine Designed by Andrew Herwig

Literal Zodiac Design: Zodiac Wine Labels Designed by Andrew Herwig

Herwig’s concept uses the literal imagery and names of the zodiac signs. This strategy directly captures the attention of each sign and makes it easy for them to connect with their appropriate flavor. Adding personalization to wine like this makes the product much more social media shareable. Customers will want to share their opinion on the accuracy of the product as well as share images of them using it in their environment.

Naturally Sourced Teas Designed by Dawson Beggs
Naturally Sourced Teas Designed by Dawson Beggs

Zodiac Symbols: Naturally Sourced Teas Packaging Designed by Dawson Beggs

Each sign has its own symbol. These are motifs that draw the attention of each sign, similar to featuring the animal or zodiac name. These label designs aren’t making a reference to astrology. That said, the lines on the side of this bottle are reminiscent of Aquarius’ symbol. If your design uses minimalism, this is an opportunity to keep your simplistic style. To highlight the symbol or motif, use eye-catching labeling techniques such as the precise foiling technique, MiraFoil.

Betty Blonde Packaging by Holly Prince
Betty Blonde Packaging by Holly Prince

Interpretive Design: Betty Blonde Packaging Design By Holly Prince

A subtle and interpretive approach creates sophistication around the astrology theme. In this example, Prince’s use of color implies the Gemini duality. That said, this design was not created with the zodiac in mind. Imagine if these designs were each a side of the same bottle! The sign name could easily be included onto the label to make the simplicity crystal clear.


Learn helpful marketing strategies to create labels that will also delight and surprise customers! So, download our e-book, The Marketing Guide here.

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Breaking Down AI File Requirements For Label Design

Breaking Down AI File Requirements For Label Design

Learn how to optimize your Adobe Illustrator, or Ai file for flexographic and digital printing. There are some differences between the two, covered in this blog, as well what’s required for both processes.

Flexographic Printing VS. Digital Printing

Flexographic labels are printed using a flexographic press where a flexible relief plate is used to imprint the image onto the label stock, color by color. Digital printers use inkjet or laser printer technology instead. Learn the differences between the two processes in more detail here.


Requirements For Your AI File – Flexographic Printing

Great Lakes Label Flexographic printed label in adobe illustrator

This is what a “flexo ready” illustrator file looks like.

Calling Out Labeling Techniques

If the above label was going to use foiling over the “Oktoberfest” title, you would not create them with gradient color as seen above. While the proof shines a light on what the final product will look like, leave the color as one and call out the effect in text beside the image. Same goes for using metallic stock. Do not include a gradient color when you plan to use gradient stock.

Or, if using MiraFoil, a precise foiling ink, you can likely get away with a gradient should that specific look be what you are going for. Speak to your Great Lakes Label rep for more information if this is the case. Communicating how these techniques is a crucial part of the process before printing.


Art Proof Approval Bar

Art Proof Approval bar Great Lakes Label adobe illustrator label design

The below bar is added by your rep at Great Lakes Label. It looks overwhelming, but once you break it down piece by piece, it’s all practical information to help us print your design. First, the left-hand box is to be signed and dated once the proof is complete and ready to be printed. This lets us know everything has been approved and the design is suitable to move forward in the printing process. The middle box under “Finishing” shows our team how you would like the roll to be wound. This is crucial if you are using a labeling automation system since some systems need labels to be wound and loaded in a specific way.

Lastly, the right-hand box details what colors are used in your design. We ensure quality by using PMS colors and check for accuracy while printing. This is the area where the specific PMS colors would be communicated.

Labeling 101 Resource Center blog button Great Lakes Label - high quality

In our video, Meet Great Lakes Label, our owner Tony Cook discusses the color matching process. He says, “We start off with color matching the ink prior to sending it to press. Then at the end of the press, we also use a digital tool called a spectrophotometer that we measure the hue and balance of the ink and we make sure that is within industry standard specified by the customer.”

Meet Great Lakes Label

Since 1994, Great Lakes Label LLC has been dedicated to producing and delivering quality products. We print cutting edge labels and distribute custom labeling applicators to a wide range of industries. Our experts work closely with each and every customer to solve your toughest packaging design requirements.

Requirements For You AI File – Digital Printing

Great Lakes Label digital printed label in adobe illustrator - ai fileThis is what an illustrator file looks like when the label is ready for digital printing.

Digital Printing Makes For A Simple AI File

What you see above is what you get for digital printing. No “Art Proof Approval” bar is needed since no ink is used to create color accuracy. At Great Lakes Label, all innovative labeling techniques are printed using the flexographic press, so on digital, nothing needs to be called out. While size would be good to communicate like the above example, here it is not used.

Standard Requirements & Practices


Great Lakes Label bleed line of adobe illustrator label design file

All files should have the background flow past the trim edge. This is called a bleed and they are a crucial element to designing a label. If there is any slight shifting when printing, the bleed ensures a seamless look. As a general rule, you should always give yourself at least 0.125 inches past the trim. You should also be sure to keep your images and text away from the edge in order to prevent them being cut off. Unless that is, of course, you want the image to spill over past the trim. The general rule is that all information should remain contained within 0.125 inches from the trim line. Although the trim line is not shown above, you can see it in the next example.


Great Lakes Label bleed lines in adobe illustrator for label design

It is generally considered that rounded edges are much more appealing and a standard when it comes to label design. Sometimes, however, there are exceptions to the rule like the Lake Day Chardonnay label example used in this blog. If a label is supposed to wrap around and touch with a flat edge, naturally you might want to discuss using a sharp corner with your Great Lakes Label rep.

Accuracy in Sizing in Your Ai File

When designing your label in Adobe Illustrator, always size your document to be true to life and call out your measurements as seen in the Oktoberfest design. If your label is going to be printed at 1 inch by 1 inch, do not scale it down to 1/2 inch by 1/2 inch. If you are working in the metric system, do not scale the label down to 1cm by 1cm. It also makes it easier to communicate and design in inches instead of converting your measurements. Otherwise, communication tends to get muddied and makes for unnecessary stresses along the way.


Beyond that, get creative and never hesitate to ask us questions along the way. Best of luck with your labeling project!


Learn more about the labeling solutions Great Lakes Label offers. Now that you’ve learned the design basics, take your vision to the next level. Download our e-book, Complete Labeling Solutions.

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Visit Us at PLMA!

Visit Us at PLMA!

Visit us at PLMA and also learn more about how our labeling solutions can work for you. From digitally printed labels to flexographic labels, it’ll all be there. Come see our innovative labeling techniques in person. Once you visit our booth, you’ll see the value techniques offer. Because of the luxury market increase, you’ll also see how to revamp high-end product lines

Meijer Sandwiches Labels by Great Lakes LabelMeijer R&D Trail Mix & Nuts Bag LabelsCVS Label by Great Lakes LabelBissell Cast & Cure - Great Lakes LabelPLMA – Booth #F4225

Rosemont Convention Center – Chicago

November 12th – 14th, 2017


Learning more about what Great Lakes Label offers, or how to incorporate these techniques into your label design. Download our e-book, Complete Labeling Solutions.

Labeling Solutions E-Book

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Get Inspired: Artistic Design in Labeling

Get Inspired: Artistic Design in Labeling

To celebrate this month’s ArtPrize in Grand Rapids, MI, we’re taking a look at artistic design in labeling. These are labels that incorporate art in a unique way. A label can be both functional and beautiful.


Rare Barrel - A Sour Beer Co. using abstract artistic design by Mackenzie Freemire
Rare Barrel – A Sour Beer Co. Designed By Mackenzie Freemire

Rare Barrel, A Sour Beer Co. Label Designed By Mackenzie Freemire

Speaking of ArtPrize, this beer label by Freemire is reminiscent of the below poster design for ArtPrize 2016.


We’re thrilled to reveal the #ArtPrize8 poster design, presented in partnership with the incredible team at Conduit Studio. We were inspired by the creative tension that exists within the fabric of…

The simplicity and open white space of the design allow for the patterns to take center stage. Primarily white color schemes and abstract art aren’t often seen on beer labels. Freemire’s work creates a stark difference when sitting on the grocery store shelf. It’s also a perfect example of how color and smart design impact customer engagement.


Vela Acesa single color label designed by Elizabeth N Susanto
Vela Acesa label design by Elizabeth N Susanto

Vela Acesa Luxury Candle Label Designed By Elizabeth N Susanto

Fittingly enough, the all black aesthetic creates a luxury look for this luxury product. The information displayed uses a glossy, tactile coating over the thick, matte stock. Since many brands opt for white packaging, this design pops off the shelf.


Medusa intricate olive oil label design by Amber Southall
Medusa Olive Oil Label Designed By Amber Southall

Medusa Olive Oil Label With Artistic Design By Amber Southall

Inspired by Medusa’s role in giving Greece an olive tree, this design blends ancient lore and vintage design with modern day packaging. The minimalistic look of the bottle label is not only a trendy choice but also a practical one. The art is the focal point, while the information on the product is included in a sophisticated looking tag. The intricate and carefully illustrated image of Medusa catches the eye since it differentiates itself from other olive oil labels.


Take the next step in your label design and learn more about our innovative labeling techniques. Download our Guide to Innovative Labeling Techniques.


Great Lakes Label Innovative Labeling Techniques E-Book Download

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Great Lakes Label’s Video Portfolio

Great Lakes Label’s Video Portfolio

This video portfolio highlights some of Great Lakes Label’s clientele and label samples. You can also check out our work by clicking here. As you can see in the below image, this video even highlights our research and design work. As a result, it covers the various uses of innovative labeling techniques. This even includes embossing, foiling, and motion coat.

THYK hair label with motion coat - Great Lakes Label Collage for Website for video portfolio
THYK R&D Label by Great Lakes Label featuring Motion Coat


Innovative Labeling Techniques in Great Lakes Label’s Video Portfolio

There are a variety of innovative labeling techniques found in the video portfolio. This is because every technique offers something different in creating a captivating label. So, it creates a different aesthetic and a different experience for the in-store customer.

One of these examples is the above THYK R&D label which uses the holographic technique, Motion Coat. We guarantee your competition isn’t using MotionCoat, so consider it instead of others. This is because they either don’t know about it, or they ignore the potential of the technique. Brands incorporate foiling, especially when conveying luxury. However, Motion Coat is an undiscovered gem. Not only does it catch the light, but it creates a unique, and bumpy texture customers will want to get their hands on.

Here are other techniques that are shown in the below video portfolio:

Labeling 101 Resource Center blog button Great Lakes Label - high quality

Both pictures and videos are included in this video portfolio. Here’s why.

This video portfolio has a mixture of picture and video content because it better showcases how the product will look when customers are holding it in their hands. While pictures are worth a thousand words, sometimes they don’t do labeling techniques justice. With this video, you can look at the shine, depth, and even the texture of the products shown just like you’re there in-store holding it. Are you interested in what you see? Contact us to receive a package of samples personalized for your labeling needs.


Great Lakes Label’s Video Portfolio

This is a video portfolio of labels created by Great Lakes Label.

Brands Shown in Video

Horticulture Labels

  • Bloem – Plant Containers
  • Bonnie Plants – Plants
  • Costa Farms – Plants

Food Labels

  • Heinz – Mayo
  • Johnsonville – Condiments and Spreads
  • Andrulis – Artisan Cheese and Dairy Products
  • Koeze Cream-Nut – Peanut Butter and Nut Products
  • Michigan Bee – Honey
  • Meijer – Trail Mixes, Nut Mixes
  • Silver Spring – Sauces and Condiments
  • Country Dairy – Milk and Dairy Products
  • Moo-ville Creamery – Milk and Dairy Products
  • Heath – Bird Food and Outdoor Products
  • National Geographic – Pet Food

Health & Beauty Labels

  • Meijer – Pharmacy

Industrial Labels

  • Bissell – Cleaning and Household Products
  • Rain-X – Automotive Cleaning Wipes

Wine, Beer & Beverage Labels

  • Perrin Brewery – Beer
  • McClary’s – Drinking Vinegar/Shrubs
  • Destiladora de Agave Azul – Tequila
  • Wine Trader’s – Wine (Gaby Cuvee Bordeaux, Plot 88 Bordeaux, Chateau Moya Bordeaux)

Original Great Lakes Label Designs

  • Great Lakes Label R&D Designs
    • Beer
    • Wine
    • Health & Beauty


Why Our Portfolio Matters

At Great Lakes Label, we’re always updating our portfolio web page with new clients and samples of what we do. This video highlights how our products look on the grocery store shelf, but also the wide range of industries we serve. We have experience in all industries and a wide range of products. We understand how your specific labeling needs change from year to year. On top of that, we can deliver a quality product to withstand any condition. Industrial labels on appliances need heat resistance, beer labels need moisture resistance.

wetstick label - great lakes label
Great Lakes Label’s WetStick Label with Superior Adhesive Chemistry

A Few of Our Capabilities For Creating A Durable Label

  • Heat Resistance
  • Moisture Resistance That Passes All Ice Bucket Tests – Our WetStick Label Can Even Be Applied Underwater
  • UV Coatings That Eliminate Fade
  • Permanent, as well as Removable, Adhesive Solutions
  • Booklet-Style Labeling For Expanded Content
Bissell Cast & Cure - Great Lakes Label
Great Lakes Label’s R&D Bissell Labels Using Cast & Cure Holographic Techniques

And, Why Our R&D Work Matters

We are always testing new innovative labeling techniques. We always ensure they look good on our research and design labels. This is first, for sheer curiosity, but also because we care about perfecting all our labeling solutions. By the time you decide to use Motion Coat on your label, it’s ready. We’ve worked out all the kinks and know the ins and outs of what is possible for your aesthetic. Great Lakes Label is a beta testing site for some of our suppliers. This allows us to also get a first look at up and coming trends. We are on the cutting edge of the flexographic label printing industry.

Meijer R&D Trail Mix & Nuts Bag Labels
Great Lakes Label’s Research & Design Labels For Meijer Trail Mix & Nuts Bag Labels

Our Work Says A Lot About Us

If you haven’t already noticed, we take your labeling needs seriously. We guarantee a professional grade product every time. A label that meets all requirements for your industry. We also guarantee a durable label that can withstand any condition. To us, it’s important that your label captures the attention and imagination of your customers. The grocery aisle is a competitive arena with many, many options for them to choose from. We offer solutions to make your product stand out. On top of this, we offer an in-house design team to make your wildest dreams a reality.


Learn even more about how to incorporate these techniques into your label design. So, download our e-book, The Complete Guide to Innovative Labeling Techniques. It even covers all the innovative techniques mentioned. It also teaches you what “sensory marketing” is and how it is impacting your sales.

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Packaging Material Alternatives

Packaging Material Alternatives

The future of packaging material alternatives and how sustainability is developing has been a hot topic for a while now. It is an exciting topic and one that demonstrates that there are many ways to apply sustainability to your brand. From milk to fungus, these alternatives are proof of a future with many sustainable options.

Image of 3D printed fungi chair made from packaging material alternatives from aka Mycelium Project 1.0 - Myceliumchair
Image of fungi chair from


As seen in the below video, researchers are discovering that they can create stiff, wood-like packaging. They can also create rubber, leather and cork-like materials. This makes it ideal for packaging, especially for e-commerce. The cork-like material helps pack delicate or breakable products as another option for styrofoam.



Fungus: The Plastic of the Future

In this episode of Upgrade, Motherboard dives head first into the R+D world surrounding the development of fungi as a viable replacement for plastic, and the people who hope it can lead to a better and more sustainable future.


Below is the TEDX Talk Eric Klarenbeek gave shown in the above video. This talk delves deeper into his research and what he’s discovering about these alternative materials.


Living design for local production | Eric Klarenbeek | TEDxMaastricht

This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. Eric Klarenbeek is a designer of the unusual and fuses robotics and living mycelium cells to 3D print furniture and possibly even architecture with a negative footprint.

Okay, that’s great, but how do packaging material alternatives affect labeling?

These fungal materials have the potential to replace plastics in all industries. It makes for a fantastic alternative to plastic labels, but yes, also paper. The fact that it also replicates leather means that it would be ideal for luxury products. The faux leather creates a realistic texture with the added bonus of appealing to customers’ global perspective.


The anti-packaging movement is looking to rid customers of wasteful packaging materials and go without labels altogether. This is a material that could be tossed away into our backyard without a negative environmental consequence. In fact, it could contribute to the fertilization of our ecosystem which is an outcome everyone can get behind.


The development of compostable labeling and packaging directly affects inks and other suppliers. The industry has the power to identify the growing concerns of the end user and listen when customers make their stance clear. We can anticipate the possible resolutions together and make a sustainable future a reality.


Get a comprehensive understanding of label production and design by downloading The Label Resource Guide.

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Do Light Colored Labels Equal Healthier Products?

Do Light Colored Labels Equal Healthier Products?

According to this newKerala article, and a study published in Journal of Retailing, light-colored labels lead health-conscious participants to associate products with health. On the flip side, it showed that they associate it with a less tasty product as well. The study claims that without a taste test, health-conscious people may overlook the product due to the look of the packaging. On the other hand, less health-conscious customers may have negative connotations to the design.

Digitally printed salad dressing light colored labels - great lakes label

How The Light Colored Labels Study Impacts Your Packaging

If your product is designed to be a healthier option, use a lighter color scheme. It will create that important and immediate association for the customer. The fact that customers will also associate a lack of appeal where taste is concerned, however, is disheartening. How can you create a design that provides the customer with the best of both worlds? Show them the product is healthy and delicious.


Create a Luxury Look To Improve Taste Expectations

The luxury packaging market has been increasing. It’s more important than ever to use special labeling techniques to keep up with your competition. Techniques such as foiling, embossing, and tri-panel labeling will create a higher quality look. In doing so, it will also shift perspectives on the taste of the product. Best of all, your product will stand out on the shelf and engage in sensory marketing.


Incorporate New Colors Into The Scheme

Keeping the lighter colors, and incorporating new shades will transform expectations. Look at luxury products’ packaging and the colors used. Create Inspired design and spark new ideas.  Mixing unique colors with innovative techniques will shatter expectations on your product’s taste.


See our labeling techniques in person and also check out the difference (or lack thereof) between our flexographic and digitally printed labels. Request free samples to be sent straight to your door.

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Get Inspired: Packaging Design Trends For 2017

Get Inspired: Packaging Design Trends For 2017

Looking ahead, here are our predictions on the top packaging design trends for 2017. Last month, we also took a look at the top 5 labeling innovations of 2016.


Example of Trends - Cosmedicine Designed by Established
Example of Trends – Cosmedicine Designed by Established

Packaging Inspired By Nature

Forest green is a color dominating the fashion industry right now, but this trend doesn’t singularly encompass earthy hues and natural textures. There is also a push to use environmentally friendly materials. Last year we looked at ways environmentally friendly design may impact packaging. It seems that this push for ethical design is not slowing down anytime soon.


As seen above, the golden brown label mimics the natural color trend.


High-End Appeal Design Trends

Foiling is a popular technique found on many labels, but the mixing of metallics is a trend that will grow in 2017. With it, other uses of techniques such as embossing or tactile coating will naturally grow along with it. Specialty stock will grow as well. With the environmental perspective mentioned above, so too will ethically-made paper rise.  Considering the luxury packaging market is increasing, this is no surprise.


As seen above, there is a metallic label with foiled text. There is also a mixing between the rose gold packaging and gold label.


Back to Basics

Minimalism has been trendy for some time now, and in 2017 it will only grow. Designers will begin to reduce visual clutter and they will also discontinue the use of vibrant colors. Metallics such as rose gold have risen in popularity, and it seems as though design will make those features the primary focus.


As seen above, there is a somewhat minimalist label.


Are you interested in learning more about what Great Lakes Label’s products? Download our comprehensive label production and design guide.

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Get Inspired: Snow & Ice Motifs

Get Inspired: Snow & Ice Motifs

Tis the season to get inspired by snow & ice, right? Snowflakes, blustery landscapes, and icy motifs all help set a tone for your product. This theme isn’t restricted to cold products only. Here is how you can incorporate seasonality into any label design.



TRI Label Design By Ivan Bravin-Rogov

While these suds form mandalas, not snow & ice, these designs still produce a seasonal effect. This very clean look uses white and the sudsy texture which emulates the way snow looks after being walked in. Again, this is not the intention of the designer but is an inspiring design for something that could look more wintery on your own label. The scale and shape of the design compliment the bottle’s contours. It’s a great way to emphasize the unique qualities of the container. This label could be enhanced with a tactile coating to produce a raised effect. This would create even more interest with the customer once they pick the item up.

Tempest Tea snow & ice design By Tori Pickford

Tempest Tea Label Design By Tori Pickford

The tea flavor, Heavy Snow, is a cinnamon and chai tea blend. This label uses the snowflake motif as an identification marker, but also as a flap where tea can be pulled out from the packaging. Even the background behind that flap is reminiscent of a snowstorm. The color scheme is another effective use of the wintery theme. The white and baby blue hues are complementary to the snowflake motif. It creates a cohesive look.


Nimrod Whisky Label & Packaging By  Zef Narkiewicz

The packaging design was inspired by whiskey bottles discovered under Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton’s hut. It uses a photograph taken of the 1907 expedition, Shackleton went on. What is more on theme than an actual tundra? The tongue in cheek name is effective at creating a story behind the label and commenting on Shackleton’s expedition.



See our labeling techniques in person also. Request free samples to be sent straight to your door.

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Visit Us At Great Lakes Expo!

Visit Us At Great Lakes Expo!

We’re at the Great Lakes Expo! Stop by and have a chat about our latest labeling innovations and techniques! In addition to that, grab some brochures about what we offer. We’ve got plenty of free goodies for you to take home. Learn all about our innovative labeling techniques, automation system offerings, and label durability options. Plus, get advice specific to your business needs.

great lakes expo

Great Lakes Expo

Booth #545

December 6th-8th, 2016

DeVos Place, Grand Rapids, Michigan


See our labeling techniques, including fruit, vegetable, and even farm brand labels. So, request free samples to be sent straight to your door.

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