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Labels: An Often Overlooked Productivity App

industrial labelsLabels: An Often Overlooked Productivity App

Recently my car began overheating, so I cast around looking for an automotive store where I could find some antifreeze/coolant that would, hopefully, rectify the problem. I was half a city away from home, and the whole time I was thinking, Even if I do get antifreeze, where am I going to get the water I'll need to dilute it? Most service stations don't even give you free water anymore. I found a store—and the second I hit the automotive aisle, I was saved by a label that proclaimed: 50% coolant/50% water mix. Exactly what I needed! The price was reasonable, and within fifteen minutes I was back in business with a much cooler car, sanity and productivity preserved for one more day.

More Helpful Than You Think

In this era of Evernote, DropBox, and CrashPlan, it seems that the only productivity applications we hear about anymore are software-based. And sure, that makes a lot of sense, given the incredible cheapness of storage memory, and the jaw-dropping speed at which cloud computing is taking over the developed world. (Post-human fans, rejoice—we may be closer to the Singularity than you think!) But even with all the new wireless technologies, there are many down-to-earth activities that, while still influenced and advanced by technology, aren't as "sexy" as the infotech revolution. (Cooling off cars isn't really sexy, is it, though I suppose it could be with the right model.) Some of the relevant technology quite literally helps define our lives, maximizing our use of time and resources without us really thinking about it. Consider, for example, the humble label...and I'm not talking about the mental kind, where you call your boss a "jerk" or your wife a "sweetheart" (and hopefully not vice-versa). I'm talking about the adhesive kind you peel off a backing and stick on things, not the kind you stick on people. Well...I suppose you could stick an adhesive label on a person if they would stand for it, but you know how people are. While you and I might like to put a label that says "Warning: Explosive When Agitated" on the guy next door, he might not find that so amusing.

Sticking to the Point

In a modern rat race where every second counts, labels save you time, and as some genius somewhere has certainly proved mathematically by now, Time = Money. The more productive you can be with your time (which, after all, we each have a fixed amount of), the better the bottom line—and the less overtime and stress you have to deal with. Whether you work for a manufacturer that has to label 20,000 bottles of tartar sauce daily or just want to be able to find your favorite brand in a split second, labels save you time and effort. One way labels that also save Modern Humanity oodles of time is via bar coding. With a clever combination of laser readers, computer technology, and printing, we can use bar codes to quickly and easily: Check out at the grocery stand (even by ourselves) Identify products and prices in seconds Track inventory and assets in a warehouse Speed up mail processing Identify books Ship items by airplane, boat, or train Access records (for example, in medical situation)

The Converting Life

Companies that create and print custom labels are known as label converters, since they convert existing materials created by other companies—paper, synthetics, metal foil, adhesive, ink, and liners—into completely new products. It may sound easy, but it isn't. Not only does it require fantastically complex equipment, but color-matching and pouring the right inks, setting the formats, curing the inks, and precisely cutting the labels all require a great deal of precision. And then there's mixing and matching the materials to fit the conditions. Moisture conditions, temperature extremes, rough handling, abrasion, chemical exposure, and much more all have to be taken into consideration. Laboratory labels, for example, need to be able to stick in a variety of conditions, and often have to resist chemical corrosion. Luckily, a skilled crew and large batches drives the cost-per-unit down, especially when we can print a larger number of labels per unit area. Big labels cost more than small ones, in other words, and the more labels you need, the cheaper they are.

Warning LabelsThe Business of Labeling

Imagine going to a store where the products had no labels. Besides the produce, you'd probably have a hard time finding what you need (and even then, could you really tell a jicama from a tomatillo?). Sure, you can recognize ground meat, but is it pork? Beef? Woodchuck? What's the fat content—10%, 20%, 40%? Remember the generic products in the stores briefly back in the early '80s, the ones with plain white labels that just said "BEER" or "PEANUT BUTTER" in big black letters? Boring, weren't they? There's a reason that experiment failed. See, people want attractive labels and packaging that not only tells them what they're buying but also to signal their favorite brands—items they know at a glance they'll like. The imagery also needs to make the product inside obvious, to cut down on shopping time and, yes, to maximize the shopper's productivity. Most of us would rather go to the park or hang with our buddies than spend more time shopping than absolutely necessary For product manufacturers, labels have to be vibrant and interesting enough to grab the buyer's attention. Today's market shelves are crowded with more items than ever before. Plain, drab, and humdrum labels—even the wholesomely informative—just won't cut it.

Endlessly Useful

The next time you notice a label, consider all the materials and thought that went into making it. Label makers, especially label converters, constantly implement new technology to make their art more accurate, cost-effective, and useful. And useful it is. In fact, labels—whether for products, inventory/asset management, or lab use—represent a small but significant aspect of the infrastructure of modern life. If they all disappeared suddenly, we'd face more than a little chaos. Think about that. Have you hugged your label maker lately? BIO: Etiquette Systems is a privately owned-and-operated printing/converting company specializing in the production of custom adhesive labels. We supply labels for a multitude of different industry groups, with a majority of our product made-to-order. Check us out at Have questions? Send 'em to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Popsicle Labels

Popsicle LabelsWhile we love all our creations equally, we get a special kick out of making popsicle labels. I mean, who doesn't love popsicles? They're the epitome of summer fun, and they keep people from keeling over from the heat. Just making something that refreshes people, keeps them healthy, and makes them happy is enough to make us happy, too. And hungry for popsicles. We love ice cream, sure but there's just something about frozen pops and juice that makes it different. And it's more portable than most ice cream, especially in the heat, and might last longer if were given the opportunity—but who takes longer than a couple of minutes to eat a popsicle?

Even if it does take longer, and the popsicle melts onto the label, you can be sure the cold and moisture won't mess up that popsicle label if we made it… so if someone needs evidence later on regarding who ate that last blueberry popsicle (darn it), then they can find out without too much trouble. Or, they can look to see whose lips and tongue are blue. That ought to work too.

Custom printed popsicle labels have certain technical requirements, given the moisture often found in freezer environments, the melting that threatens if you don't eat your popsicle quick, and the tendency of the cold to deaden some adhesives and render them non-sticky. Fortunately, custom popsicle labels aren't a real challenge for Etiquette Systems, since we're experts at making all kinds of freezer labels, and have been for years. (Check out our special Freezer Labels site.) We've got freezer labels down cold, you might say: we know the right inks, adhesives, and base materials to use for labels to handle all temperature ranges, from the barely-frozen like popsicles to the truly chilly environment of medical cryogenics.

Since popsicles are supposed to be fun, we know you need bright colors and happy text that you can bet we take into account when working on your custom popsicle labels. We can also apply our talents to printing your popsicle boxes and other containers, ensuring your logo is instantly obvious to your customers. After all, sometimes those freezers are a little fogged up by all that condensation! And don't worry: we take condensation into account for all popsicle labels, whether individual or box. We know you don't want an errant drip or drop to smear or obscure your popsicle labels, so we make them tough and durable, with the best materials for the environment that won't cost you an arm and a leg. Unless you want to spend an arm and leg—in which case, we'll be happy to oblige!

And going back to ice cream: if we can make popsicle labels, and we can, then we can make labels for your ice cream, frozen yogurt, and frozen fudge bars and their containers. Just saying, in case you decide you want to branch out when it comes to your product line.

Okay, enough drooling into the keyboard, I'm going to have a popsicle! Maybe two.

Sugar and Spice

Unique Beverage LabelsAs a mom raising a teenage girl, I often find myself standing in the aisle at Target trying to pick something out for my daughter that she will accept from me. Whether it's deodorant, teeth whitening strips, acne medication, makeup wipes, protein bars or a tasty beverage the more unique the packaging and labeling the better chance I have that she will receive my choice with the words, "Wow Mom this is pretty cool, thanks!"  Instead of,  "Why did you buy THAT"?

Even though we females do not like to openly admit it, "pretty packaging" means something to us. The more unique the packaging and labeling, the more we ladies gravitate towards a product. Now don't get me wrong, price is always an important part of the equation as well. No matter how attractively a product is packaged and labeled if the price is sky high it's a deal breaker. But if the price is comparable then pretty and unique looking will win every time. It's not rocket science, it's just nature. When I shop for my daughter, I apply this principle in the hopes that I won't end up returning what I bought for her and I must say 9 out of 10 times it works like a charm!  After all doesn't the nursery rhyme say that girls are made of sugar and spice and everything nice! 

Floating Away

Louisiana is having a problem, due to torrential downpours coffins are floating away. It is definitely an odd problem, in fact it's a little bit sad. I started thinking about how the coffins and the remains inside we're being identified and returned to their peaceful resting place? I know that many coffins have plaques attached identifying who's inside, but what about those that DON'T? Even those that do, may be so corroded from time and the elements that they are no longer a viable means of identification. Coffins from many years ago or coffins where there was little money to add identification plaques create a serious problem! How do you return people's loved ones if you can't identify who they are?

A simple and affordable solution... affix durable, long lasting, WATERPROOF labels that won't corrode over time or float away if your loved ones do!

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