Inspired Projects: ‘Tis the season to label

I have always loved stickers (I mean “labels” … I’m a printing industry professional now) and my inner child is still inspired by the infinite possibilities that labels present. The label market has changed a lot since I was a kid with a variety of new local printing companies producing exciting new products. The winter season is the perfect time of year to outfit our lives with all sorts of fantastic labels and manufacturers are capitalizing on the trend towards increased online shopping and greater personalization. There are labels for virtually every facet of our busy lives. Below are highlights from three B2C label companies in Ontario, showcasing some of the unique products and services they offer.

StickerYou – Custom Products To Make It Stick! (www.stickeryou.com)
StickerYou was founded in 2008 by owner Andrew Witkin after he was inspired by a walk down Los Angeles’ Manhattan Beach. He took notice of how important stickers were to the local culture and also how expensive it was to create custom stickers. StickerYou was soon born and the company still holds true to their original inspiration, as customers can request as few as one, single custom sticker at a time. StickerYou produces their custom products in all shapes and sizes, including everything from large wall and floor decals to packaging labels and everything in between.

Danielle Olesen, Social Media, Content and Marketing Assistant at StickerYou, states that “we try to offer full customization, even in the shape of our products. So if a customer needs an irregular or unique shape for their labels or sticker, that’s what we create”. It’s their proprietary “custom cut algorithm” that allows for any sticker shape to be contoured perfectly to 0.01” of a stated size. Their online platform allows for unique shaped and sized label products to be created from scratch or through the use of pre-designed templates. There are short, easy to follow video tutorials for each product category that walks customers through the artwork upload and submission processes.

Olesen remarks that “the biggest season for StickerYou is the holiday season, as this is when people want custom labels, stickers, etc. for gift packaging, wine bottles, party favours, and DIY gifts”. One of the most unique products that the company offers are custom temporary tattoos. So if you’re thinking about getting that special someone’s name “inked” on your arm as a Christmas surprise, why not spend $12.99 and make a less permanent decision to have a custom temporary tattoo printed instead? This will not only save you pain, but also money, regret, heartache… the list goes on!

Oliver’s Labels – How kids’ stuff finds its way home! (www.oliverslabels.com)
Oliver’s Labels sells many products similar to those of other custom label producers. However, they cater to a much more specific audience, namely parents. The company was founded by owner Debbie when her nephew, Oliver, was consistently losing his stuff. Debbie created labels to help her sister recover lost items and took it one step further to start a business helping other parents do the same. Some unique products offered at Oliver’s Labels online shop includes brand name character label sets (SpongeBob SquarePants and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, for example), as well as labels for allergy-aware families. There is an abundance of delicious, albeit sometimes dangerous, food around the holiday season and these labels effectively communicate little ones’ allergies. Add these scuff-proof vinyl labels to children’s food containers when travelling to school, parties, and more.

Oliver’s Labels has also created a clever lost-and-found system called “Found-It”, whereby a unique multi-digit number is printed on the label instead of a phone number to protect privacy. The person who finds the item is prompted to log onto Oliver’s Labels website and input the unique number, which will send an email to the owner.

Mabels Labels – Labels for the stuff kids lose! (www.mabelslabels.com)
Mabels Labels was established in 2003 by four moms who were frustrated with their children’s items leaving the house, never to return. This Canadian company has an online custom label shop, but they also have a physical retail presence in Canadian Walmart stores and U.S. Target stores. Some of their most notable and unique products featured on their online store font include festive holiday labels and custom hockey equipment labels.

Individualized address stickers, gift wrap labels, and a variety of stocking-stuffer stickers allows customers to make the holiday season that much more personalized. Additionally, unique (and truly Canadian!) products like custom hockey equipment labels means that all of that expensive sports equipment isn’t lost forever in a sea of other children’s locker room gear. This label pack includes 21 equipment labels, 3 stick labels, 2 skate labels, and 2 number labels. The child’s name, number, and custom team colour adds the ultimate personal touch.

Today there are lots of exciting personalized label products available at the click of a button. Everything from custom wine and gift labels for the holiday season, to labels for safety and lost items, there are an endless number of exciting possibilities.

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Diana Varma is an Instructor at the School of Graphic Communications Management at Ryerson University and the Owner of ON-SITE First Aid & CPR Training Group, a health & safety company that provides training to the Graphic Arts Industry.