If there were one industry that is not at all affected by the transition away from the use of paper in print media and in the office, then it would surely be in the field of label printing.
While not an area that is normally on the minds of printing professionals, it is undeniable that labels are very much a part of our modern lifestyle. After all, labels can be found on items such as soft drink bottles, wine bottles, detergents and shampoos, just to name a few. And what’s more, label printing is a huge industry that can only grow as the buying power of consumers increases with affluence.
Over the last few years, a number of technological advances have quietly revolutionized label printing, transforming a once staid field into one that is more vibrant than ever. We take a look at a few of them.
Innovating through multilayer labels
Labels have evolved from strictly one-dimensional pieces of material that is printed with a static image. Today, multilayer labels offer the ability for multiple printed pages on a single label, with the underlying layers revealed by peeling the preceding layers away.
This could offer the ability to fit in additional information such as ingredients, or multilingual instructions on a smaller label, allowing for greater flexibility in the distribution of manufactured goods. Moreover, the second layer can also be used to hold information on promotions, or to hide a secret code or coupon as a means to engage customers.
Engaging customers through QR codes
Aside from the usual barcodes, the use of QR codes on consumer products have opened the door for brands to interact with their customers through their smartphones, which has become ubiquitous around the world.
QR codes can be implemented as promotional offers, for example, which can in turn be linked to a backend CRM or information collection system to gain greater insights into customers. Regardless of how you dice it, this prospect of digital engagement can be leveraged to strengthen the brand-user relationship.
Going digital for customization, short runs
Like the rest of the printing world, label printers are increasingly going digital, bringing with it the same low turnaround time and high customization advantages that digital printing is enabling throughout the printing industry.
In addition, digital printing also makes it possible to conduct limited or short runs at a flat cost, and makes it trivial to tap into the field of variable data digital printing for promotional or spot campaigns.
Importantly, the quality of digital label printers is such that even complicated backgrounds and textual such as cork material can be convincingly replicated–but without the high cost that printing on real material would entail.
There is no doubt that the label industry will continue to evolve in 2015 and beyond. Indeed, a recent advancement would be the extremely high quality output that technologies such as Epson’s PrecisionCore ink jet technology, featured in the new Colorworks C3510 label printer, can deliver.
“Our new label printer improves customers’ work cost-efficiency and productivity by allowing users to customise content for low volume requirements while still providing uncompromising levels of quality,” states Ng Ngee Khiang, the general manager of Business Systems, Epson Southeast Asia.
“We spend a lot of time on ensuring that we understand the needs of our business partners and those needs are incredibly varied. This is why we’ve ventured into creating the widest range of labelling solutions, from mass produced all the way down to extremely customisable colour labels, so that no matter what our customers need, we have the ability to serve them,” he said.
Ultimately, the affordability and ease of operations of modern digital label printers is making it possible for some businesses to acquire their own commercial label printers. They could then use it to create stickers that can be used for signage labels, pipe markers, equipment labels–and more, without having to rely on an external vendor.