Welcome to the Label Tech Inc Blog.

Specialty Finishes - Designing Eye-Catching Labels

This blog examines some of the cutting edge technology available in the label industry today.

Hot Foil stamping and embossing create richly textured labels that add perceived value to products.  These processes are often used on specialty foods, wine and high-end retail packaging to denote an exceptional level of quality.

Hot foil stamping is a dry printing process in which color pigments or metallic foil is transferred from a continuous roll to the label using heat and pressure.  Hot stamping and holographic foils are made up of several layers.  These include a polyester carrier, a release layer, a number of lacquer, image and metal layers, and an outer adhesive-sizing layer.  During the hot foil stamping, a heated die forces the foil against the substrate, which is supported by a counter-plate or counter-cylinder.  A combination of this pressure and the activation of the adhesive allows the foil to attach itself to the substrate, a process that is aided by the melting of the release layer.  The dies used in hot foil stamping are predominantly made from brass and are produced by etching or by engraving.

Hot Foil Stamping

The foils can be a solid color, metallic (gold, silver or copper), refractive or holographic.  The process is used on a wide range of products to create decorative finishes and anti-counterfeiting measures.  In the packaging industry the applications include food, pharmacy, tobacco, and luxury goods packaging, as well as labels for products such as wine and spirits.  Beyond packaging, hot foil stamping is extensively used on banknotes, greetings cards and throughout commercial print.

Cold Foil is a fast growing technology that allows printers to apply foil onto a substrate.  Cold foil transfer is a process in which aluminum, transported on a metalized polyester carrier, is applied on a label substrate without the use of heat.  Adhesive is first printed on the substrate,; the metalized coating of the polyester carrier is then transferred only to the areas where the adhesive has been applied.

This inline process is a new technology that allows manufacturers to apply metallic foil and print over it at press speed.  This gives the ability to lay down foil and print over it to produce brilliant metallic effects with an infinite spectrum of colors.  With the huge advances in foils, label manufacturers can print fine lines, reverse outs, half tones and full tones, all in accurate register.

Cast & Cure is a decorative coating process that integrates “casting” and “curing” techniques to create holographic, ultra high gloss, or matte finishes on select areas of a printed piece and is suitable for a wide variety of substrates.  The process lays down the UV coating and then applies a specialty film that incorporates a micro-embossed holographic pattern within the film.  With the film lying over the coated sheet, the coating is cured and the film is stripped away, leaving the holographic pattern on the sheet.  The film is reusable for multiple applications.


Cast & Cure is an ideal application for the decorative print market and can be incorporated with anti-counterfeiting features for brand security applications.  Options in design are endless and the process can support a myriad of end-use markets, including cosmetics, wine labeling, health & beauty packaging, among many others.

Topics: Specialty Lamination Hot Foil Cast & Cure cold foil

[Kra-Ze] Vodka - It's Crazy Good!!!

You may have noticed that there seems to be a new vodka brand on the market every week.  With several hundred choices out in the marketplace, the need to differentiate becomes vital to the survival of the brand.  [Kra-Ze] Vodka is the brain child of lifelong friends Carl Brown and Kevin Clang from Connecticut.  The idea came to them as they were enjoying a homebrew mixture of 192-proof vodka mixed with flavorings.  The homebrew evolved over time. With lots of trial and error they came up with Lemon Lime and Four Berry.  The berry flavored version won a silver medal in 2011 at the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America spirits tasting competition, before the product had even hit the shelves.  They knew they were onto something special and they needed a label to convey that idea.  This blog will take an in-depth look at the construction of the [Kra-Ze] vodka label.

KraZe resized 600

The label construction is complex and on the cutting edge of flexographic print technology. 

What most people initially notice about the label is the hologram in the globe and around the perimeter of the logo.  The hologram is printed using a technique known as cold foil.  Cold foil is a fast, cost-effective inline process that works in conjunction with most printing techniques.  Cold Foil is applied to a UV-curable adhesive image using a standard printing plate.  The foil is affixed to the printed adhesive, creating an image prior to the application of printed inks.  This is an affordable way to simulate the look of a holographic metal substrate.  [Kra-Ze] is using a rainbow holographic cold foil, which adds depth and movement to the image.  The rainbow holographic foil has a three-dimensional look while also adding sparkle and shine.

The label also has a QR code, or Quick Response Code on the side of the bottle.  QR codes are becoming more and more popular in consumer advertising.  Smartphone users can install an app with a QR-code scanner that can read a displayed code and convert it to a URL.  It then directs the smartphone’s browser to the [Kra-Ze] website.  This is a quick and effortless way to drive consumers to the [Kra-Ze] website.  Essentially, free advertising.

describe the image

[Kra-Ze] even goes a step further with their label.  They’ve put their logo on the back of the label.  When looking at the back of the bottle you can see the logo and insignia on the backside of the front label.  Have a look at the picture above.  You’re looking through glass, through vodka, through the adhesive, through the clear substrate to the logo.  This is accomplished by printing the logo mirror image on the clear substrate.  White is then laid down using a rotary screen-printing method.  Screen-printing is the process of forcing ink through mesh and onto the printing surface.  This allows the white ink to go down thicker than if a standard plate had been used in flexographic printing.  The logo, along with the cold foil, are then printed on top of the white.  The rotary screen is necessary with this label in order to prevent the consumer from seeing through the label, therefore seeing the printing on the other side.

[Kra-Ze] Vodka utilizes cutting edge printing technology for an eye-catching label.  Next time you’re at the liquor store, be on the lookout for [Kra-Ze] Vodka.  Or, maybe I should say next time your in the liquor store, you can’t miss [Kra-Ze] vodka.

Click me




Topics: beverage labels cold foil hologram holographic foil holographic cold foil
<--- Sales Loft Tracking Code ---> <--- End Sales Loft Tracking Code --->