Print Cafe of LI, Inc

Print Cafe of LI, Inc
Showing posts with label #durable labels. Show all posts
Showing posts with label #durable labels. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

What Makes A Label Great ? 

                         Color, Type Font, & Design


There are hundreds of thousands of fonts, also called typefaces, out there. And while The Print Cafe has thousands of fonts in our archives there’s a
chance a font may not exist in our system. Trying to find a font, or trying to find an analogous font, or manipulating a font to make a copy change/make a label more readable: all this increases turnaround time.
The simple solution: it’s called “outlining” fonts, and it’s a feature in most graphic design software. Basically, outlining a font converts it from a mathematical construction to a scalable series of lines and curves. When fonts are outlined, the font file associated with its respective font (.ttf, .otf, etc.) is not needed for type
to display properly. Sometimes a client isn’t particularly picky about which font to use. If that’s the case, just let us know. We’ll find the perfect one for the job!



If a font is a “serif” font, you’ll notice little “flourishes” on it. If it’s a “sans-serif” font, it doesn’t have those embellishments. Most block-type fonts are san-serif fonts, and VASTLY superior for readability, especially in small print. The Print Cafe recommends using sans-serif fonts whenever possible for label work, especially for any small print that has a lot of type. Otherwise, the type will be difficult, or even impossible, to read.
    Common examples of serif fonts include Times Roman, Palatino, Book Antiqua, and New Century. Common sans-serif fonts include Helvetica, Arial, Futura, and Franklin Gothic.
 “There’s a lot that goes into a label! Your package design is your last salesperson
contact.  A typical product on a shelf has about two seconds to gain a customer’s attention.” “So think pictures first, then big bold letters, and then tackle the fine details. What are you getting across in those few seconds of ‘first glance’ is everything.”
If you don’t design a label with your audience in mind … if the label is unreadable … the most valuable sales opportunity could be missed.”


If you do decide to use a serif font and you reverse it extremely small (i.e., “reverse” the type to make it white or light on a dark background), you’re going to lose detail. If you’re going to do it, I wouldn’t go any smaller than a six-point font. If you have a sans-serif font … that is, a block letter … it’s a lot easier on the eye and can get a lot smaller and read much more cleanly as a smaller, reversed-out font than a serif font.”


Labels are, obviously, printed. But what some people don’t realize is that printing with ink is entirely different from displaying an image on a computer with pixels. Unlike digital or online art, which is usually rendered in RGB (Red-Green-Blue) color, quality printed materials often rely on a color system called “CMYK” (Cyan-Magenta-Yellow-Black). CMYK is much more sophisticated, and thus capable of producing a much wider range of color. Even though a CMYK color may look close to an RGB color onscreen, it translates very differently on press. Richie says it best: “RGB colors are not going to print nicely in CMYK, which is our world. Colors will be dull. ”If your clients can “spec” CMYK colors, they will be happier. Even better than CMYK, however, is spotcolor printing when it’s available.


As for how to “spec” that color,  “We use the Solid-Coated Pantone Color Matching
(PMS) system. Textile colors or cloth colors or even PMS Uncoated colors aren’t in our standard color processing. (FYI: PMS Uncoated colors are lighter than PMS Coated colors.) It’s wise to look up the Pantone Colors using their official online color picker to choose the Solid-Coated PMS color that best matches your desired outcome.”


There are many kinds of art, but we’ll deal with the two most common: “Raster” images and “Vector” images. For many label-art purposes, vector images are by far the best way to go. Raster images, which are often used to render photographs on a computer, have a set number of pixels in an image. So trying to enlarge a raster image will often result in a blurry result … all you’re doing is making the pixels bigger, until eventually they just look like squares of color. Vector images, which have been drawn or converted to mathematical calculations between each point in an image, are completely scalable. Simply put, vector images are much easier to enlarge, shrink, or edit than raster images, and will produce a sharp, “non-jaggy”
result every time.


“Here, we have a 1/8” printing area, meaning we have to leave 1/16” on all sides of your artwork … any imprint has to be inside that 1/16” margin” Bottom line: plan your design to allow for a sixteenth of an inch around all edges.


Plain and simple, there’s a huge difference between how something looks onscreen and how it looks printed on label stock. While online materials are rendered at resolutions of 72-150 dpi (dots per inch) for fast uploading and display, print materials suffer terribly at 150 dpi. If you want crisp, clear art, text that’s easy to read, and images that truly pop, check your supplied art’s document settings to make sure its resolution is at least 300 dpi at actual print size. If the art is enlarged, the dpi reduces. Example: if a customer sends a 1”x1” art file at 300 dpi and enlarges it to 3 x3” the dpi plummets with the enlargement.


The Print Cafe primarily works with Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop software, which are incredibly powerful image editing tools. However, even these can only do so much. And we understand that customers create artwork in all kinds of programs, even Microsoft Word. Still, your best-case scenario for label art is an Adobe
Illustrator (.ai) file. We can can also work with JPEG or PNG file formats, but an Illustrator file is by far the fastest, smoothest, and best. PDF images can also work – but only sometimes. “We advise caution when saving out of programs that aren’t compatible with Illustrator. If a file is saved as a PDF file that is not compatible with Illustrator it will sometimes convert images to “nonnative” elements in the file when opened in Illustrator.

We suggest if you have a link or placed image in your art, and have saved out of a different program (not Illustrator or PhotoShop), send the image with your PDF file. We can relink the file.”


Make sure your customer has purchased any stock art or images that have been downloaded from the Internet. You’d be surprised at how many low resolution images we receive complete with a stock image company’s watermark. Those watermarks exist to protect copyrighted material, and we cannot legally (let alone neatly) remove them. Remember: Rights and royalties matter!