Wine and spirit labels are among the highest quality labels printed.
Their designs, embellishments and complex shapes make them a great technical challenge. With all this and more to consider it can be very challenging and sometimes stressful for the printer. But also very rewarding when the labels roll off the press.
Speaking not only for myself but for many printers, when we see our products on the shelf we often pick them up and look at the colour, register, die cutting etc. Job satisfaction and pride in what we do is a part of every print run, but especially if it’s a new job or a press approval.
Most printing companies have a press dedicated to approval for new labels. This is a great opportunity, not only to help the customer achieve their desired new wine or spirit label, but also to work with the ink and art departments and hone your skills in these areas.
This also involves working closely with the finishing department to help reduce waste. As these labels are usually more expensive, it can help reduce costs significantly.
An eye for detail
The complexity of wine and spirit labels requires an eye for detail and knowledge in all areas of printing processes, as the design of a wine and spirit label can range from very simple to complex.
For the printer, the complexity lies in different embellishments such as foil and or embossing, de-lam/re-lam, lamination, slitting, and complex die-cutting shapes. Some of these labels, especially those for higher-end products, have security features or special processes to help the fight against counterfeiting.
Using foil and embossing is widespread as they provide not only a visual effect but also a haptic appeal. Putting these processes together is challenging and it’s common for print to be applied to these areas as well, producing a more appealing and attractive label.
Wine Labels from ASL Print FX printed on the hybrid MPS EF SYMJET press
Importance of a flexible press
Some labels can consist of 13 or even more colours depending on complexity, design, and press configuration.
This requires a press that has a configuration of units that are either set with additional rail units, a combination press that is fixed, or inter-changeable units. Because each job is different with different colour sequences, printing processes, and embellishments, your press must be flexible to accommodate the job at hand.
This also helps winning new jobs and makes the press capable of printing a diverse range of products.
Larger combination presses usually have the top printers operating them as they require more attention to detail, quick identification of problems, knowledge of the processes and jobs, as well as quicker set up and wash up times.
It can be difficult to find good printers and keeping them can, for various reasons, be even more difficult, so it’s important to be not only product- but operator-focused.
Snow White Gin, the winning label from InForm Etiketten
Printing more complex, embellished labels also offers the printer the opportunity to submit their labels and win awards.
Awards are of value to the printer by helping it stand out in the industry and attract more customers. At MPS, we wanted to recognize the amazing labels being printed with our presses, so we invited customers to submit their finest labels for a chance to win an MPS award during our first awards ceremony at Labelexpo Europe 2019 in Belgium.
If you’re an existing MPS customer, please contact me or MPS directly to find out how you can submit a label for the next edition MPS Label Awards. The awards are not just for wine and spirit labels, but for any job you think has produced a special label and deserves attention.
Kane Marsh is Regional Printing Instructor Asia Pacific with MPS Systems Asia, providing training on MPS' narrow web flexo presses and specialized label applications. Kane has direct print experience on multiple presses in a range of printing technologies including flexo, gravure, offset, screen and a variety of applications.