Tips for Political Candidates Preparing for the Next Election Cycle

April 23, 2018

In the most recent national election, after a very long election night defying all analyst predictions and polls Donald J. Trump was elected to become the 45th President of the USA. As a result, establishing credibility with voters has never been a more important – and challenging – task for campaigns as we approach the upcoming election in November 2018.

That’s why the United States Postal Service® commissioned a voter survey in recent months designed to explore voter attitudes and beliefs on the efficacy and authenticity of different forms of political outreach and messaging.  The results were fascinating and informative. But perhaps what stood out most was that voters ranked direct mail as the most credible form of political advertising.  Among many findings, the survey found that 68% of all surveyed voters ranked direct mail among their three most credible forms of political outreach. This outpaced competing forms of political outreach such as TV (59%), in home visits (47%) and digital ads (26%).

The “message” of the campaign contains the ideas that the candidate wants to share with the voters. It is to get those who agree with their ideas to support them when running for a political position. The message often consists of several talking points about policy issues. The points summarize the main ideas of the campaign and are repeated frequently in order to create a lasting impression with the voters. In many elections, the opposition party will try to get the candidate "off message" by bringing up policy or personal questions that are not related to the talking points. Most campaigns prefer to keep the message broad in order to attract the most potential voters. A message that is too narrow can alienate voters or slow the candidate down with explaining details. 

2018 is a big election year! Whether you are a supporter of a particular candidate and want to show support, on a campaign committee or a candidate looking to promote your message, the following examples of custom printed products have proven to be very effective:
Political Campaign Labels and Rack Cards
Rack cards are a useful promotional tool as these custom labels and cards display details about a candidate’s platform, help build credibility for the candidate and educate voters. The cards should contain a mix of images and information about the candidate, and can also include information about how to vote for the candidate. From local elections to the statewide senatorial campaigns, all candidates should be using this highly effective, yet low cost, printed cards and custom color labels. Printed labels for Water Bottle Labels and Food Labels can help promote your brand at campaign rallies.

Political Campaign Yard Signs
There is no better way to gain attention for a candidate than an eye catching sign that is seen by all passersby. Options include different sign materials and sizes; there is a sign option for every budget! Customize a sign that is unique to the candidate and keeps their name top of mind. Do not forget to add the election date so voters remember when to vote! Stand out from the crowd with yard signs for your political campaigns.

Political Decals and Flag Labels
Place your campaign message in your supporter’s hand; for campaign rallies, printed decals and rally Flag Labels and custom printed decals are a must! Your candidate will be represented well when each supporter is holding a rally flag or sign.  Custom color labels and political signs are available in various shapes and sizes, with or without sticks, and can be used by supporters again and again to show continuing support for the candidate.  
  • Custom Circle Labels
  • Custom Rectangle Labels
  • Custom Color Labels
  • Custom Oval Labels
  • Fun labels
  • Custom Square Labels
  • Parking Decals
Bumper Stickers
An inexpensive way for supporters to display the candidate they are backing, bumper stickers have great visibility and can be easily removed after a campaign. Various pre-designed templates can be used or create a custom sticker in various sizes, shapes and colors. Bumper stickers are a great takeaway item for candidates to pass out at events.  These are just a few branded political campaign items that may help promote your candidate! 

The Flexible Label Group is capable of printing thousands of custom political yard signs, political labels, political decals and political bumper stickers every day.  In addition to using our highly automated screen printing presses, we also use specialized inks in our yard sign printing process.  Others may claim to offer factory direct prices on plastic yard signs, we can honestly say that, we are the factory. Please make us your sign company for all of your business sign and political campaign supply needs including the following: 
  • yard signs and parking signs
  • campaign signs and political signs
  • political yard signs and campaign yard signs 
  • wholesale political signs and campaign political signs
  • Afinia Color Label Printer

Bar Code Technology

February 5, 2018

Barcodes are a miracle of modern technology.  There are many types of barcodes that have been developed for specific uses and industries.  Fortunately they work well because of advances in both hardware and software.  We have software for creatingmany of the most popular barcodes. All you will need to tell us is the numbers or letters and number combination that you need encoded into the barcodes.  Here is a brief list of some of the barcode types that we can print for you:
1) UPC Symbols 
2) Code 3 of 9 (also called Code 39)
3) Code 2 of 5
4) Code 128
5) QR Codes
6) Codabar
7) Many more

Many of these barcode types can also be furnished as consecutive barcodes or from a file as variable data.  We have equipment for short runs of barcode labels and long runs.  Feel free to call us to discuss your needs.

Barcode labeling is a mission-critical operation for manufacturing and distribution companies. Yet, most companies don’t employ dedicated staff that would approach labeling strategically. Hence, labeling offers a substantial opportunity for operational efficiency gains. The purpose of this article is to provide a general overview of best practices that help companies better understand how to simplify their labeling processes, minimize risk of errors and increase productivity.

A typical labeling system consists of three main areas: 

  • Design - Label template design for Bar Code Labels and Shipping Labels
  • Printing - Label printing with automated tools such as the Afinia Color Label Printer
  • Management - Design, print, device, and user management 

How well you manage these areas will determine the quality, complexity and costs of the entire label printing process in the company.  Companies that use antiquated label design software programs do not achieve the level of operational efficiency required to remain competitive in today’s economy.  Lack of management and integration capabilities in these obsolete systems increase the risk of errors and mislabeling. This results in ongoing direct operational costs; while errors, recalls and customer dissatisfaction often add to hidden indirect costs for custom packaging labels.


Bar code technology

Bar code labels for tape media use the Code 39 (sometimes referred to as Code 3-of-9) symbology—a widely used industrial standard. As the name implies, there are three wide elements (and six narrow elements) for every nine elements. An element can either be a bar (black, non-reflective) or a space (white, reflective). This format provides verification that a valid code is present. For example, a character with four wide elements and five narrow elements would be considered invalid because it must contain exactly three of nine wide elements. 

The Code 39 specification allows for the addition of a checksum digit. However, for most tape media, a checksum digit is not used (with the exception of the bar code label for AIT products). Code 39 uses an asterisk as the stop-and-start characters. These are not printed as part of the human-readable portion of the label. A bar code reader can determine the start character and the stop character. It can determine the intended direction of the characters regardless of which direction they are read. The reader is able to do this by analyzing the direction of the start or stop character relative to the lead-in white space on the label. This assures the reader that the system understands the intended direction of the characters. 

With tape libraries and tape autoloaders, the ability of the reader to reposition itself with respect to the label is much more restricted than the hand held or multiple beam scanners used for reading UPC codes. Often, the reader is at a fixed distance and angle from the bar code label. The only variable position typically available to the bar code reader in a tape library is to scan in different vertical positions across the label. While these restrictions allow for a more cost-effective reader to be used compared to scanners in a retail environment, they put a greater emphasis on the quality of the label. Because of the physical constraints of the reader and the inability to have an operator standing by to enter the human-readable portion of the label manually, the quality of the label must be much higher than that of the common UPC label. Failure to read a label properly carries greater consequences given the importance of the cartridge data in today’s computing environment. The importance of using a high-quality label cannot be overstated. This is especially useful for Product labels, Nutrition labels, food labels, beer labels and water bottle labels.

RFID technology in tape libraries RFID technology represents the most significant advancement in inventory management since the bar code. An RFID scanner can read potentially the contents of a master carton or library case in seconds—even if the container is closed and sealed. Real-time visibility and asset tracking also enhances security, making it easier to comply with regulations such as HIPAA and Sarbanes-Oxley. 

Label Template Design

There are a number of approaches to designing barcode labels: 

  • Existing word processor or graphic design software which can be helpful for custom circle labels, custom oval labels, custom rectangle labels and custom square labels
  • Printer language coding 
  • Professional label design software Professional label design software is the only option that allows you to rapidly design quality label templates. These applications support the capabilities of barcode label printers, enable accurate positioning of objects and support a wide range of barcode symbols. All these features are required to produce quality labels.

Label quality and color labels on demand

Many factors contribute to the quality of a label. Some factors are obvious and observable to the human eye, but most factors require specialized optical measurement equipment to qualify them. The following are some of the factors that determine label quality: 

  • Lead-in white space before the first character and after the last character should have a minimum width of 10 narrow elements. This allows the reader to verify when to start looking for the first character and when to validate the last character. Without this, the reader may have difficulty determining the start of the bar code label and other types of custom color labels. Avoid labels that use insufficient white space for these guard zones. Additional information characters are separated by an inter-character gap, which is the same width as a narrow bar. The ratio of wide to narrow bar width may be in the range of 1.8 to 3.4. Bar codes with a narrow bar width of less than 0.020 inches (0.508 mm) should have a ratio of at least 2.5. A ratio of 3.0 is recommended. Every Code 39 bar code should be preceded and followed by a quiet zone with a width of at least 10 narrow bars. 
  • The white space should be very reflective and contain a spatial distribution attribute. A very reflective, shiny surface (like a mirror) may actually appear black to the reader because the angle of reflection does not return sufficient light to the receiver of the reader. A white surface that reflects the light in many directions (spatial distribution) enables the bar code reader to detect white areas accurately. 
  • The black space should not be reflective. Again, the factor of spatial distribution of the reflected light comes into play. Even though the area may appear black to the human eye, if the surface is highly reflective along an angle aligned back to the receiver, the reader will read the black area as white. 
  • The ratio of narrow to wide elements is crucial to the ability of the reader to distinguish wide elements from narrow elements. If the narrow and wide elements begin to appear too similar to the reader, it will result in incorrect reads. The edge definition between the black and white elements can appear different to the reader than to the human eye, if that transition is not crisp. Edge definition and edge location are common faults when personal printers are used to create bar code labels. 
  • The size of narrow elements must not be too small. If the element is too narrow it does not carry enough information for the reader to process it accurately, or it may not be detected at all. The element width, ratio specification, label size, and the lead-in white space all combine to create a physical limit on the number of characters that a label can contain. Exceeding this number may cause read problems. 
  • The quality rating of the label should be high. All verifier manufacturers use the standard ANSI X3.182 Bar Code Print Quality Guideline, which considers all factors, to rate bar code labels including consecutive number labelsThis standard rating includes measurements of voids or white areas within the black bars, and specks or dark areas within the white bars. Either of those can be very detrimental to successfully reading printedlabels including thermal printer labels
  • Miscellaneous other factors affect the quality of the label such as if the ink on the label is waterproof, how well the adhesive properties of the label are maintained over time, and if the label material can resist the wear from both human and machine handling. These factors are important to protect the integrity of the data cartridge. This is an important consideration for utility labels, parking decals (transponders) and other types of printed decals and custom decals. 

Afinia L801 Color Label Printer on Sale Now

January 31, 2018

Gone are the days of warehousing large amounts of Printed Labels including Custom Color Labels.  In case of short-notice changes to the label, no stock needs to be wasted, because you can simply print Color Labels on Demand   the currently required amount of labels. The patented Memjet technology provides brilliant colors at unprecedented low ink costs. Included with the printer are drivers, cartridges and the print head.  This printer will enable you to print:

  • Shipping Labels
  • Packaging Labels
  • Food Labels
  • Fun Labels
  • Product Labels
  • Chemical Labels
Uniquely distinguish your products with individual labels in color. Easily print uncut, self-adhesive material off the roll using the Afinia L-801 and cut out labels in any shape and size in combination with the Secabo label cutter LC30. The Afinia L-801 lets you print quickly, flexibly, and cost-effectively. High printing speed of up to 300 mm/s allows for a true just-in-time production of your labels on the spot. Powered by Memjet-technology, the Afinia L801 is one of the fastest digital color label printers on the market. Highlights of the Afinia L801 include:

  • Speed and quality — The L801 prints 1600 x 800 dpi, full color labels at 60 feet per minute. Even higher resolution of 1600 x 1600 dpi at 30 feet per minute, thanks to the stationary Memjet “waterfall” print head. Instead of traveling back and forth across the label like regular inkjet print heads, this print head stays in place, distributing 700 million drops of ink per second across the entire width of the label as the label passes through it. Meanwhile, CMYKK (cyan, magenta, yellow, and double black) ink tanks produce vivid colors with deep blacks for crisp contrast.Great for Bar Code Labels, Beer Labels, Wine Labels and Water Bottle Labels.
  • Lower ink costs — Memjet technology and large ink tanks, which hold 1.25 liters of ink, work together to reduce ink costs. In fact, the L801 leads the industry with its low ink costs.
  • Fast-drying ink — This is crucial when printing at high speed. The inks used by the Afinia L801 dry instantly, resulting in smudge-free labels — even when immediately handled or rewound onto a label roll.
  • Prints large format labels — The L801 prints labels as narrow as two inches all the way to 8 1/2 inches wide by 40 inches in length.  Great for Wine Bottle Labels, Parking Labels, Utility Labels and Custom Circle Labels.
  • Integrated unwinder — The Afinia L801 includes an integrated unwinder (an optional rewinder is available, sold separately, for roll-to-roll printing).