Color Label Solutions

Color Label Solutions

Sunday, September 16, 2018


14er Boulder, the highest quality, most novel and pure cannabis flowers, extractions, and genetics found anywhere in the world.

According to Dan Seidman, Operations with 14er Boulder, “for a long time, we have worked hard to develop and grow the best strains possible, including many different hybrids.”

After visiting 14er’s operation, I can tell you that I was impressed; brand new and very clean operation.  14er has one of the best facilities in the cannabis business that I’ve seen.

When 14er first contacted me a long time ago, they were having issues with a C3500 label printer that was purchased elsewhere.  Although I don’t recall the specific issue, we solved the problem quickly and began selling 14er labels and ink.  We even began producing for them a custom size label for their nitrogen packed cans:

C7500 N2 Label Design
14er Label Design

And it wasn’t long after we started shipping ink and labels, 14er upgraded to a C7500.  According to Dan, “the C7500 is a beast and very important to our operation.  In fact, the C7500 has become a critical part of our operation.  Using Nicelabel, I’ve designed all of our artwork; which makes all of our product labels easy to print.”


And you can purchase a C7500 also here:

 And after purchasing the C7500, we had to change the design of 14er’s labels.  As the C7500 has a ~2” minimum width and 14er places the rolls on an applicator, we had to shift the narrow label to 1 side.  This change enabled the printing and application of a narrower label.

14er N2 Can Labels
14er N2 Can Labels

As a regular reader of this blog, you may remember an earlier post with similar issues around placement of a narrow label on wider liner to apply with an applicator:

14er Product Labels
14er Product Labels
Working with good people like Dan and 14er’s is why I started Color Label Solutions; and makes me happy.  Contact us if we can support your label operations as well.

Guy Mikel

Monday, July 23, 2018

Consumer Vs Label Printers

In this post, we have a guest blogger:  Hannah Gibson.  Hanna is a great new employee for Color Label Solutions; we're lucky to have her on our staff.  Read Hanna's first post next.

My name is Hannah Gibson, a Sales Manager for Color Label Solutions, based in the Seattle area. After working at a label convertor, I came to work at Color Label Solutions to manage label sales. In my conversations with different companies in different industries, I hear frequently “I don’t know anything about label printing”. To me, this situation is great as our mission is to support companies transition to On-Demand Color Label printing.

One question, that I get asked frequently when speaking to newer or smaller companies is “Why should I use a label printer?  I’d rather print from my office/home printer.”

When responding to this question, I provide several reasons why a label printer is a much more efficient choice for any company.

Sheet Vs Roll Labels
Sheet Vs Roll Labels

Let’s start with cost per label, which is a big factor for businesses. I Googled the top selling printer of 2018, which I found was an HP OfficeJet printer, according to Amazon.

HP: Highest Selling Consumer Printer
HP: Highest Selling Consumer Printer

For the HP OfficeJet printer, the yield is 165 pages/tri color cartridge. The cost of a black and tri color cartridge is $42.89. $42.89 divided by 165 is $0.26/page. With 10 labels per sheet, the ink cost per label is $0.026. Assuming the 165 page/cartridge yield was calculated at 15% coverage, the cost per label would be $0.13/label when printing at 80% coverage; 5-fold more.
To learn more about how these ink yields are calculated, read this previous post:

After calculating the ink, I calculated the cost per an actual label.  For this comparison, I used a 4” x 2” Matte Poly sheet label from Avery.

and calculated a cost per actual label of $0.11. Therefore, the ink and a 4 x 2” label combined would cost approximately $0.24.

C7500 Ink Cartridges
C7500 Ink Cartridges

When printing a 4 x2” label with approximately 80% ink coverage using the Epson C7500G, I calculated the ink cost at $0.017/label.  A 4” x 2” Matte poly Label we sell on a roll is $0.042/label, with significant discounts in volume.

Overall, I calculated the cost for ink and material in a consumer printer is at least 24 cents (assuming 80% coverage).  At the same time, the cost for ink and labels using an Epson label printer are less than 6 cents; a savings of 75%.

Sheet Labels
Sheet Labels

In addition to ink and label costs, add the extra waste. Most companies I talk to who are wanting to transition from sheet fed to labels on a roll mention they experience lots of jams, and have a hard time getting the print to line up on the labels, resulting in a lot of waste.  And what if you wanted to print only 4 labels at any one time?  You could waste up to 6 labels.

Another important factor is a printer designed for labels will increase your productivity. The simplest explanation of increase in productivity with a label printer is speed; a label printer is generally faster than your office printer. In addition, your employees will waste less time fixing jams or selecting which labels on a sheet to print. When needing a few labels, you can print the exact number rather than a full sheet of maybe 4-16 labels at time.  Also, rolls of labels enable you to use a label applicator or dispenser to automate more of the process.

Also, label printers give you flexibility in design and automation. With a label printer, graphic designers will have flexibility to create a more professional looking label, which is important for branding. Also, label printers enable the use of label design software such as BarTender, which allow for automating Variable Data printing. 

Besides cost, waste, productivity and design, label printers offer a HUGE difference in durability when compared to a consumer-oriented printer. By most accounts, a typical consumer printer should last 1 to 3 years. But when adding sheets of labels that are oozing adhesives, the printer typically wont hold up very long. A label printer is built for manufacturing environments and will last much longer with heavy use.

As the premier provider for Print on Demand systems, Color Label Solutions can help you transition to printing high resolution, durable labels with a low cost per label. Give us a call today to talk about your label requirements. 

C7500 With Rewind
C7500 With Rewind
Hannah Gibson

Purchase a C7500 here: 

Monday, July 9, 2018

Making Money On-Demand

Recently, I attended a webinar by HP titled, “Cost vs Value; how to monetize digitally printed packaging”.  In this webinar I found HP lays out the reasons for Color Label Solutions to exist: by explaining the benefits and returns for moving to on-demand color labels and packages. 

In addition, HP provides a ROI tool to calculate the potential return on investment for moving to on-demand color, or in their terms, “Packaging Decoration”.  In this post, I’ll summarize the paper; and provide links to download the whitepaper and get the calculator.

Overall, HP states that on-demand color packaging and labeling has 3 key advantages when compared to preprinted:

  • No Plates
  • No Press Setup
  • Easy configuration

These advantages lead to the benefits:
  • More cost-effective printing of small batches
  • Increased agility; by reducing the time to market
  • Increased variation and personalization of labels and packages, in which every item is “one-off”.

The benefits of on-demand color increase the value to the company, both internal and external to customers.  But where does a company find the value to pay for the typical cost per unit increase in using on-demand color labels and packages?

HP offers 4 areas to research inside a company to find returns from moving to on-demand:
  1. Supply Chain- Adding efficiencies
  2. Marketing-Extending customer engagement
  3. Finance-Increasing overall profitability
  4. Business Development-Developing/Testing new market opportunities

#1: In the Supply Chain, HP states moving to on-demand:
  • Reduces warehousing
  • Frees up capital trapped in inventory
  • Allows for fewer materials to be ordered
  • Reduces obsolesces of artwork changes
On-Demand saves money throughout the supply chain.

#2: In Marketing, HP opines that on-demand labels and packages are the final opportunity to convince customers to purchase their products.  In addition, on-demand color labels and packages enable companies to strengthen brands making it easy to set up product versions and localized promotions.  And finally, on-demand color enables brands to invest in promotions and advertising for less than traditional methods.

#3: In Finance, HP says on-demand color offers ways to increase sales and margins; a means to increase overall profitability.  By understanding the ratio of gross dollar margin divided by the current cost of “decorating” (the incremental cost of on-demand) labels and packages, companies can calculate the value or return in the investment.  For most companies, HP says the increased sales required to pay for the increased cost of on-demand is less than 1%.

#4: In Business Development, HP states that on-demand makes it easy to develop:
  • New consumer categories
  • New channels
  • New territories
  • Test markets, special programs, regional customization and tactical e-commerce activities

On-demand enables companies to customize product packaging and labels which is different than traditional channels; making testing of new offers easy to do with limited impact on existing paths to market.

For further information, download this white paper here: 

In the companion RODPI (Return on Packaging Decoration Investments) Excel sheet, HP gives companies the methods to calculate their return on investment in moving to on-demand.  Email HP here, ropdi@hp.comto get this ROI calculator. 

After reviewing this white paper and calculator, I believe current customers of on-demand color tools can find ideas on how to increase their return on this investment.  Further, this white paper gives non-users ideas on how on-demand color labels and packaging will make money for their companies.

With the changes in technologies, on-demand color labels and packages make financial sense for many if not most every company.  Contact us to discuss how on-demand solutions we sell will help your company increase returns and support your areas for growth.

Guy Mikel

Friday, June 29, 2018

July 1st: Are You Ready?

It’s July 1st: Are You Ready?

On July 1, 2018, California’s new regulations governing the packaging and licensing of cannabis begins.
CBPH Issued Universal Cannabis Symbol
CBPH Issued Universal Cannabis Symbol

Although we’re not regulatory experts, we can help with compliance to the packaging and labeling requirements coming to California.  And recently, we’ve had a lot of questions from our customers on these issues.  Let me tell you more about the requirements as we understand them; and how we can help.

First; Child Resistant Packaging is required for all cannabis packaging.  If you need a child resistant package, we offer the MPACK; the first new pharmacy vial since the 50’s. 

18 and 30 Dram MPACK's
18 and 30 Dram MPACK's
 Plus, we have them available in two sizes; 18 dram (3.125” tall x.92” wide) and 30 dram (4” tall x .92” wide).

And most importantly, these packages are certified child resistant:

MPACK Child Resistant Certification
MPACK Child Resistant Certification

Second to Child Resistant, packaging must be tamper evident.  With the MPACK, we recommend labeling over the top/bottom sections where the packaging separates.

Labeled MPACKS
Labeled MPACKS
With the addition of a perforation, separation of the label between the top and bottom is easy to do. 

Tamper Evident Paper Label
Tamper Evident Paper Label
For other types of packages, we have paper labels with a durable adhesive that acts as a tamper evident seal.  Once the adhesive is set, the paper can’t be removed (on most surfaces) without shredding.  If interested, we can send you matte paper labels to test on your packaging.

MPACK's In Color
MPACK's In Color

Third, packages for edibles must be opaque. As seen in the above picture, we have the MPACKS in a variety of colors, with the option of a monochrome image on the package itself. 

Fourth, packages must be resealable; the child resistant “Snaps” on the sides make the MPACK resealable. 

Resealable MPACK
Resealable MPACK

Even with the side snaps, the MPACKS are so easy to open they qualify as Senior Friendly!

MPACK Senior Certification
In addition to the packaging requirements, California has new labeling requirements; both on the “Primary Panel” label and the “Informational Panel” label. On the Primary panel, the label must:

  • Identify the product
  • Provide the THC/CBD content
  • Contain the CBPH Issued Universal Cannabis Symbol
  • Include net weight or volume.

On the Information panel, the label must contain:
  • Manufacturer's name/contact information (website/phone number)
  • Manufacture date
  • Government warning statement
  • Ingredient list
  • Instructions for use
  • Expiration date
  • Unique ID/Batch number

(FYI: I found this page helpful. )

As for the warning statement, I found this paragraph:

For edible products, the label must contain any allergen information, list of artificial food colors, and nutritional information.

If you decide that your labels need to meet Prop 65 requirements, please see this earlier post:

To print the Unique ID, Batch Number, Expiration date, THC content, CBD content, and all other variable data, we recommend BarTender; the leading label design and printing software.  With this software, it’s easy to add information to an established label template at print time or integrate with a database as simple as Excel to pull variable data onto a printed label.

If interested in BarTender, here is the link for a free 30-day trial download.

 And to start, I suggest you watch these three short videos:

Purchase BarTender and software maintenance here:

Overall, we have a child-resistant package, tamper evident labels and software to make printing variable data easy to do.  Plus, we’ll help you design and print the labels you want to use on-demand and in color.  Contact us if we can help you with your new California labels.

Guy Mikel

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

By Fabricators, For Fabricators

“By countertop fabricators for countertop fabricators” is the tagline for Fifth Gear Technologies, who develops software applications for the countertop market. Initially, Fifth Gear Tech launched SpeedDraw, CAD-based software to help fabricators produce final drawings, job tickets, and quality control documents faster with fewer mistakes at less cost.  Following SpeedDraw, Fifth Gear Tech launched SpeedLabel, first tracking application for the countertop industry.

SpeedLabel Interface
SpeedLabel Interface

According to Steve Mast, Partner in Fifth Gear Technologies, “SpeedLabel is designed to track custom parts as they travel through the production process.  As these parts are custom, mistakes, either in production, delivery or installation, cost a lot of money.  The objective of SpeedLabel is to help our fabricator customers improve their overall operations and save money by tracking the custom pieces as they travel through production, delivery and installation.”

Printed Label from the C3500 Using SpeedLabel
Printed Label from the C3500 using SpeedLabel

When asked about the use of the C3500 to print labels, Steve says “we use both color and images on our labels.  Images communicates the dimensions of the individual custom pieces.  Color profiles or describes the edge element of the piece.  Together, color and images communicate to the operators in the plant and the installers how the piece should be manufactured and installed”.  Continuing, Steve says, “and we’re now building into our application color codes to highlight pieces within a specific order.  We’ve already had this request from several of our initial customers.”

Printed Label C3500 SpeedLabel
Printed Label from the C3500 using SpeedLabel

One key benefit of SpeedLabel is the ability to track custom produced items.  According to Steve, “normally, most fabricators rely on workorders/travelers that move through the plant and out on delivery.  With the labels printed from SpeedLabel, fabricators can eliminate work orders/travelers over time to simplify processes and reduce the opportunity for errors.”

C3500 Printed Tracking Label SpeedLabel
C3500 Printed Tracking Label from SpeedLabel

Another important aspect of SpeedLabel is the fact that Fifth Gear Tech designed the application to print from Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge.  From my perspective, browser-based printing is very unique in the label market.  Steve says, “Given the fact that we decided to use only the C3500 printer, configuring the browsers to print was relatively easy.  With browsers, any Windows based computer can print with no requirement to run a separate application.”

To learn more about Fifth Gear Tech and their applications SpeedDraw and SpeedLabel, check out this recent story in Slippery Rock, the most widely read stones trade publication:

From my perspective, I find SpeedLabel a great application, taking and using the capabilities of the C3500 to improve countertop fabricators operations.  Color and images combined with great programming improve their customer’s business.  Any manufacturer of custom items should consider this type of application to track and communicate the specific of each piece. Be sure to contact us if we can support your efforts in using color and images in your operation.

Guy Mikel

Monday, June 18, 2018

NS Multi Prints New Materials

Print quality has been one of the important attributes of the NS Multi:

Grant Lapke With The NS Multi
In fact, I’ve written about the great print quality of the NS Multi in the past.  Once in our blog when we installed the NS Multi after WestPack:

And as well after PackExpo East:

This week, we tested two new materials that produced outstanding print quality.  Let me tell you about them.

First, we tested inkjet coated corrugated produced by one of our customers.  We loaded our inkjet coating into a press instead of the normal ink:

Inkjet Coating
Inkjet Coating
Ran it through a press:

Press Applying Inkjet Coating
Press Applying Inkjet Coating
And produced inkjet coated corrugated on a variety of types of materials.  Frankly, we were surprised by the array of materials we could coat at one time.

Inkjet Coating Corrugated From A Press
On the coated board, you could barely see the inkjet coating.  According to Grant Lapke, our NS Multi Specialist, “This coated material was not sticky and had more of a matte finish.  After printing, I say the colors “POPPED” more, producing more vibrant images.  In addition, it seems the coating makes the boxes more durable; a little less “flimsy” than non-coated boxes.  And the boxes seemed to withstand water slightly better”.

Inkjet Coated Corrugated Printed with NS Multi
Inkjet Coated Corrugated Printed with NS Multi
And a video:

Second and in addition to the inkjet coated materials, we test printed plastic corrugated using the NS Multi.  Here is more information on this material:

With this material, we produced outstanding print quality on both sides without any coating:

Plastic Corrugated Printed with the NS Multi
Plastic Corrugated Printed with the NS Multi

And a video:

and this video:

According to Grant, “the printed, plastic corrugated produced outstanding print quality.  As the surface of the plastic corrugated is smooth, the print output comes out very nice.  This material should work well for signs, merchandizing displays and boxes.  As the NS Multi can print up to 12 inches per second, the speed of the printing signs and displays would be significantly faster than a flat-bed printer”.

Grant continues, “both the inkjet coated and plastic corrugated print great. Which material is best depends on the application and the value of the box, sign or merchandizing display.  It’s great to know we can print both with the NS Multi.”

If you need to print boxes, signs and displays on-demand and in color, contact us.  We’ll help you get started in this exciting, new market.

Guy Mikel