QuickLabel & TrojanLabel: The Complete Packaging and Labeling Solution

Complete packaging and labeling solutionQuickLabel & TrojanLabel: The Complete Packaging and Labeling Solution

Since introducing the first color label printer in 1994, our goal has been to provide industry best on-demand label printers as a complete packaging and labeling solution.

First color label printerFrom the Sundance in 1994, a four color thermal color digital transfer printer to the original Kiaro! in 2010 to the new QL-240 in 2017, we have always striven to provide innovative, high-quality printing technologies that make the lives of customers easier.

QuickLabel label printers

Continuing to push the progressive envelope, QuickLabel’s parent company, AstroNova®, recently acquired a new division that specializes in larger, more versatile printing systems.

In February 2017, our business unit expanded to include TrojanLabel™, a growing force in the digital label press, overprinting and specialty printers industry.

Who is TrojanLabel?

Beginning in Denmark in 2012, TrojanLabel has globally revolutionized color printing technology with the production of their digital color label presses and specialty printer systems for a broad range of end markets.

Trojan2 label printing pressDesigned with higher volume and professional applications in mind, TrojanLabel is an obvious choice for anyone considering larger-scale, specialty printing systems.

A fantastic complement to our tabletop label printers, TrojanLabel products include the T3-OP (Trojan3), a digital professional packaging and converting overprinting system and the T2 (Trojan2), a sophisticated digital label mini press.

To learn more about TrojanLabel, feel free to visit the TrojanLabel website.

What Does This Acquisition Mean for QuickLabel?

To put it simply, the Product Identification unit of AstroNova will include QuickLabel and TrojanLabel. This means, in addition to specializing in tabletop labeling systems, AstroNova Product Identification will also support TrojanLabel’s specialty overprinting and digital press systems.

While QuickLabel and TrojanLabel remain separate divisions, both will fall under the same business unit of the AstroNova parent company.

How Does This Benefit You?

Ultimately, the acquisition of TrojanLabel amplifies the strength and capabilities of both brands, known leaders in their industry.

Gregory A. Woods, AstroNova’s President and Chief Executive Officer, shares, “QuickLabel and TrojanLabel provide customers with a broad portfolio of products spanning tabletop printers and light-production label printers as well as advanced specialty printing systems.”label printers and overprinting printing presses

As a whole, we are now able to provide products, services and supplies that improve the consumers’ ability to track and market their products in small to large scale businesses, spanning all industries.

With additional options to match your specific needs, we can now deliver a wider range of application specific packaging and labeling solutions — furthering our goal to provide the complete packaging and labeling solution.

Where Can You See the New TrojanLabel Products?

We are pleased to announce for the first time ever, QuickLabel and TrojanLabel will be showing together at PACK EXPO 2017 in Booth #C-2731.

pack expo las vegas 2017

Held in Las Vegas, Nevada, this will be an exclusive event for all PACK EXPO attendees.

While we expect to host many trade shows together down the line, this is your chance to get ahead of your competition.

We are pleased to officially be able to provide the best solutions from tabletop label printers to specialty and digital printing presses for consumers worldwide.

We’re looking forward to seeing all those who plan on attending #PACKEXPO2017 for our exclusive first show together!


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3 Easy Steps to Make Your Wine and Beer Labels Stand Out

If you brew beer or bottle wine, you already know the challenges that occur once your products are sent to market. You need to make your wine and beer labels stand out in order to get on the consumer’s radar.

The shadows of big brands make it extremely difficult for new, local breweries and wineries to thrive. Here’s a few tips to help make your products stand out.

How Do They Do It?

With well-known brands, it’s easy for consumers to walk into a store and pluck a product off the shelves.

It’s all in the packaging and product branding.

The familiarity, years of experience and trustworthiness of a brand make these decisions a no-brainer. But everyone has to start somewhere, right?

What Can You do to Make Your Brews Stand Out?

After determining the basics, there are a few extra things you need to make your wine and beer labels stand out and give your brand that extra push.

1. It’s All in the Packaging

Humans are visual beings, so first impressions matter. Especially when targeting first time buyers browsing through the aisles of their local liquor store.

In fact, the human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text, and 90 percent of information transmitted to the brain is visual.

Since consumers can only view your products as they browse, what they find aesthetically pleasing makes all the difference.

According to Barrett Brynestad, Associate Creative Director/Designer for TDA Boulder, the package should tell consumers as much as possible about the beer, from the occasion to taste profile and overall brand ethos.

Our advice: Design your product label well and design it to be easily recognized. It can be as simple as your color scheme and font, qualifying image or logo, etc. Whatever it is, it has to be unique to you. Investing in a talented artist or graphic designer always helps.

After all, your brand logo is arguably the most important part of your product.

Check out some examples of branded beer labels that understand the importance of story-telling branding.

2. Save Face on the Shelves…and Money in Your Pocket

Once you have successfully created your brand label, it’s time to start labeling your cans and bottles.

Outsourced printing can get expensive. For local wineries or breweries, it may be wiser to print your product labels in-house. In addition to avoiding fees and delays, you’ll be able to control the entire process within your own facility.

If you choose to print in-house, you must make sure the label printer meets all requirements your products need.

For example, wine and beer displayed in store freezers or chilling in coolers need labels that withstand frozen temperatures.

After all, it wouldn’t look very professional to have your labels wrinkling from condensation or losing adhesion and peeling off.

In combination, your printing system needs to produce clear, vivid, photo-quality labels to attract the consumers’ eye – and make your wine and beer labels stand out!

QuickLabel’s line of in-house label printers allow your business to meet all the requirements (aesthetic and physical) for printing labels on-demand and in-house.

These printing systems are perfect for the craft beer tradition of experimentation, adaptability and small batch production.

Our advice: Learn more about QuickLabel’s capabilities and benefits with printing frozen labels, wine and beer labels to see if they’re right for your business. You can also browse the full line of in-house color label printers here.

3. Get Your Name Out There!

It’s time. You’ve made a solid brand name for yourself with the packaging (and product) to prove it.

Investing in trade shows, tastings at local liquor stores and advertising (print or video), is the next step in getting your brand recognized. The more people see your product, the more natural it becomes to pick it up.

Our advice: By promoting your brand, you are showing consumers that you are real; you have a story and a taste unique to your product. By investing in these promotions, you are building the trust of your brand.

These three steps will change the way your wine and beer products are perceived – now a known brand rising above the sea of shelves. Good luck!


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4 Reasons Why You Should Be Making Your Own Food & Beverage Labels

Many companies outsource their product labels to save financially and produce efficiently. But is outsourcing really the most efficient route? For small to medium sized business owners, outsourcing is not always the best solution. Depending on your business size and needs, you may be better off making your own food & beverage labels in-house.

Impression Technology Europe explains, “Recently, another type of printing has become more attainable for smaller companies…digital ‘short run’ label printers. Not only is the initial investment much more affordable but the cost per print is extremely low. After doing the math, most clients will find it will be much more cost effective than outsourcing and based on the output.”

How do you know if this is right for you? Here are four reasons why you should be making your own food & beverage labels in-house:

1. Outsourced Printing Comes at a Price

We mean that both literally and figuratively. While using another facility to generate your food labels might seem like weight off your shoulders, that may not be the case.

Passing the task to an outside source can end up severely delaying your labeling process. Why? Not only will you have your company’s shipping schedule to track, but the arrival of your outsourced shipment as well.

If an outsourced shipment becomes delayed, so will the orders your company was originally scheduled to deliver. For small business owners, this can lead to a lot of unhappy customers or market vendors.

These delays will happen, and so do errors. Labeling errors can take more of a toll on your business production line than a delay in shipment.

The unexpected misprint forces your business to return and reorder labels. Misprints can cause setbacks and affect the use by/sell by dates on your products. This is especially true for made to order businesses, which can lead to wasted products.

If your business has experienced these delays, you may want to consider an in-house or on-demand label printer. With the ability to print labels in your own facility, there will be no more error or shipment delays affecting your product line. What’s more, these printers give you the ability to create your own use by/sell by dates with complete label customization.

2. Not All Environments Are Created Equal

Making your own food & beverage labels is also a huge plus when selling products that must be stored in specific environmental requirements.

It’s important for frozen foods to have unique and attractive labels, too. After all, it is your brand. But, it’s equally important that your frozen food labels don’t fail. Using the wrong label can lead to wrinkles due to condensation, fading due to exposure or loss of adhesion, falling off in low temperatures. One should not be sacrificed for the other.

If your business is using regular pre-printed labels, chances are, the labels won’t hold up in your storage environment.

The ability to maintain complete control over your label materials and printing process will allow your business to have a streamlined, efficient process with branded labels that look the part.

An easy in-house printing solution is QuickLabel’s Kiaro! or Kiaro! D inkjet label printers. Both printers are known for printing frozen food labels that don’t peel off in high-quality 1200 dpi imagery.

With the right in-house printer, you’ll have professional frozen food or beverage labels printed instantly and can be applied to products that are already frozen, or before they go into the freezer.

You can check out both options here.

3. Keep Up with FDA Regulations

Of course, keeping up with the FDA’s changing regulations and formats can greatly affect your product labels.

The intimidating process includes font restrictions, mandatory statements, allergen alerts and difficult calculations for daily values.

As a food manufacturer, you want to spend your energy on your recipes, production, branding and sales – not on interpreting FDA labeling mandates or trying to explain the requirements to an outside vendor.

However, it is absolutely necessary to adhere to FDA regulations to avoid recalls and present your customer with the quality and transparency they deserve.

An in-house label printer is especially valuable in these situations. For every change, the label design and format can be immediately customized in your own facility.

What’s more, by owning an in-house label printer, you don’t have to worry about overstock or wasted labels due to changes in regulations. This gives you more flexibility in your printing process, introducing the option of seasonal or promotional runs.

Making your own food & beverage labels gives you the ability to print the exact number of labels you need for what’s in-stock, on-demand.

4. You Deserve to Be In Control of Your Business

Your labels are the face of your brand, so you always want to put your best foot forward.

With outsourced labels, you don’t get to have complete control over your labeling process. Edits take longer, shipments get delayed and labels are bound to be wasted.

In-house printing has evolved with small, tabletop label printers for businesses. These label printers serve as a central database, with the ability to store, revise, locate and print any design on-demand –ultimately opening new doors for small to medium sized businesses.

If you want to be in control of your business or are experiencing any of the above labeling issues, it may be time to consider taking your production line in-house.

QuickLabel specializes in on-demand, tabletop label printers. For someone in the food and beverage industry interested in quality, short-run labels, they are worth looking in to.

Click here to view our full product lineup, or contact us for more information!


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New Jersey, Wine Can Now Be Delivered to Your Doorstep!

Just 38 states allowed home deliveries of our favorite wines up Until April 30, 2012.

On May 1, 2012, that number became 39. Purchasing and receiving wine by mail order is now officially legalized in the state of New Jersey. The new law allows New Jersey wineries to sell their wines online and ship directly to consumers. In addition, residents of New Jersey can now have wines from other states shipped to their homes. Previously in NJ, wineries could only sell from their showrooms or through wholesalers and retailers.

The new law is likely to raise wine sales, benefiting New Jersey wineries and retailers.

What are the Rules of the New Shipping Law?

  • As of May 1, 2012, any New Jersey winery can ship up to 12 cases per year to any New Jersey stat­e resident who is of legal drinking age (21 years or older.)
  • Any New Jersey winery has the option of applying for a direct shipping license in any of the 38 other direct shipping-permissible states.  License permitting, NJ wineries may also directly ship up to 12 cases per year to an out-of-state resident of legal drinking age (21 years or older).
  • Out-of-state small wineries (producing less than 250,000 gallons of wine per year) can directly ship to up to 12 cases per year to NJ residents who are 21 years of age or older
  • Wineries can find shipping applications and instructions on the NJ Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) website

In Which States is it Still Illegal to Ship Wine Direct?

  • AL, AR, DE, KY (felony), MA, MS, MT (consumer permit – no carrier), OK, PA (special interstate by 3-tier only), SD, and UT (felony for winery to direct ship). (Source: FreeTheGrapes.org)

More Wine Means More Wine Labels

If you’re a wine producer or retailer who is expecting to increase the volume of wine you’re shipping, you might consider printing your own wine labels with a QuickLabel printer. You can print personalized wine labels and labels for seasonal and special event wines, all at a low cost per printed label,! The QuickLabel line of color label printers allow you to instantly print wine labels in any quantity (even just one personalized label!) whenever you need them. If you’d like to see how easy it is to print your own wine labels, schedule a label printer demonstration at your winery or tasting room.


QuickLabel Asks: What Is Your Favorite Wine Label?

We’re always talking about attractive labels and packaging in our blogs, tweets, and social media conversations. Well, there is nowhere I’m as mesmerized by an attractive label than in the wine aisle. In fact, I find that I have a tendency to buy wine based on how much I like the label – with apologies to our winery friends, I’m sure I’m not the only one who does that! So I decided it would be fun to reach out to customers, social media friends (tweeps as I like to call them!), and bloggers alike to ask what their favorite wine label is and why. Now I’m sharing their top picks with you!


Seth Poole from International Wines shared with us his favorite label that International Wine designs and prints using our Vivo! label printer. The label is by Ordinary Wine Co. and the wine name is Boneshaker Red. Seth explains that this label is his favorite because he is a cyclist and he can relate to the label design, “The ‘Ordinary’ bike is historic because it was one of the first designs used in late 1800s. I like the graphic simplicity of the label as well as the unusual color.” Seth is right, this simple color and imagery makes this label simply unique.


Laura Standley, our friend at L.D. Davis Adhesives, sent us her favorite wine label from Pugliese Vineyards in Long Island, NY. Although with this particular example they do not use an actual label, we can understand why! Pugliese Vineyards hand paints their wine bottles and the result is absolutely stunning! Laura explained, I learned about Pugliese Vinyards in Long Island after my boyfriend visited there and brought back a bottle of the Sangiovese and a sparkling white wine.  The bottle of sparkling white was hand-painted by one of the owners of the winery.  She does beautiful work and all of the other labels are modeled after her hand-painted ones.  I love the ‘label’ because it shows that they care very much about their presentation and are willing to take the time to make the bottles as attractive as their contents … hand-painting if necessary.”


Our favorite Diva, JoAnn Hines the Packaging Diva, told us about her favorite wine label design: “Big Ass Wine” from Adler Fels Winery. JoAnn is a packaging expert whose life is inspired by packaging and this wine in particular struck a chord with her. “I’m so sick of skinny people as role models. I’m not fat but I’m not skinny either. Did you know the average size woman wears a 14-16? When I saw this label I fell in love. Ever hear the term “Reubenesque?” Well this is it! Up until the 1800s that was the ideal body image. Hopefully we can change that back! Here’s to big (not giant) ass women! Happy Packaging!” We absolutely love her passion! Cheers JoAnn!


Christine from Recipe Marketing Firm sent us a label with a unique die-cut. I love how original this label shape is and so does Christine –  it’s exactly the reason it caught her eye. “EOS Estate Winery’s Petite Syrah is one of my favorites.  I love that the label is composed of five equal rectangles equally spaced apart.  It is different than your traditional wine label, which made it stand out to me.  They do this with a couple other bottles as well.  The picture stands out and lets the world know that this is a Central Coast wine. Plus, the wine is great too!”

Another contributor, Casey Campbell of Whiz Bang Ideas, also submitted the same EOS Estate Winery label to us as his favorite. Casey explains, “I love this label because it shows where the wine is grown and allows me to connect with the land. Also, it provides a higher quality picture than most other labels. Instead of looking hand drawn it looks like it is almost a photo. To me it helps create a sense of quality.”

Isn’t it funny how two people can love the same label for completely different reasons? It seems to me that EOS Estate Winery has done a superb job with this label and is drawing in an audience.


The lovely Roxanne Roark from Combotronics, Inc. shared her favorite wine label, one that she found while shopping for herself! You go girl! Her favorite label can be found on bottles of Charles Smith’s Kung Fu Girl Riesling. Roxanne explains, “While shopping for a gift for myself (hehe), I came upon this bottle of Kung Fu Girl Riesling and thought ‘Oh, how unique!’ It caught my eye because it was so different from the normal, shiny or “sophisticated” labels I was used to browsing through. Now, when I go to the store, I look around trying to find new ones from the same wine maker! Great idea and low tech for the win.” Not only do we agree with Roxanne on how cool this label is from a design standpoint, it also has a nice little QR code on the back label which we featured in our QR Codes Blog!


QuickLabel Marketing Director, April, wanted to share her favorite wine with you all as well! Her favorite wine label is this Halloween Hallowine produced by our friends at Door Peninsula Winery in Sturgeon Bay, Washington.  April explains,“I was tickled to see the use of ghoulish font on a wine label. That’s something you don’t see everyday! I think the autumnal pumpkin vine and corn stalk imagery works perfectly on this spiced apple wine, one of my favorites. Also, Halloween is my favorite holiday and I love to see my favorite brands get into the seasonal spirit!”  Thanks April! After reading that I just almost forgot it was January! I am definitely keeping my eyes peeled for this wine next Halloween!


Last but not least, my favorite wine “label” is a lot like the choice of Laura from L.D. Davis Adhesives. Yes, I work for a label company and am ALWAYS looking at wine labels when I am at the store but this wine in particular always keeps me coming back. Between its bright colors (which, in all honesty, remind me of our QuickLabel colors) and the bright yellow label (my favorite color) – I can’t help but be drawn in…every…time! Meeker Vineyards Merlot is my absolute favorite! The bottle contains a large multicolored, painted-on hand print that takes up most of the bottle above the yellow label, which also contains multicolored text. It is just so cool. The hand print has texture to it and it literally makes me want to grab the bottle just as the painted hand does!

So, now I ask you: what is YOUR favorite wine label?

Plan on a 1-3 Month Delay for New Wine Label Approvals

If you’re not in the wine industry, it may surprise you to know that every wine label in the USA, including the most artistic, colorful, and offbeat labels, has been approved by the US government. Unfortunately for wineries, the once routine process of having wine labels approved by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB)is causing more headaches than consuming too much wine.

What’s the Process for Submitting a Wine Label for Approval in the USA?

Winery applicants can submit their wine labels for approval to the TTB either through the mail or online.

In the past, the average approval time for a wine label application was just 1 to 2 days for an online submission and one week by mail. Since the fall of 2010, however, the approval process has been bogged down to a one month approval time by online submission and up to three months if the label application was submitted by mail.

If your label and application are rejected, you must re-submit and the clock starts again on the waiting time.

Complaints from Wineries About Label Delays

An article from the Associated Press presents the delay that is currently going on in the wine industry. The AP reports that TTB staff has been reduced by a decade of cutbacks during a time when the wine industry has been booming.

The President of the New York Wine & Grape Foundation says he has seen a slower pace in wine label approvals after staff “cutbacks” at the TTB were made. In a statement, Jim Trezise said “[The TTB] has been a responsive agency for the wine industry, but delays have gotten longer and that does affect the distribution and cash flow for the wineries.”

In 2008, the wine industry in the state of New York employed 40,000 workers and was responsible for $3.7 billion in economic impact.

The 300+ wineries in the state of New York believe they have been hit particularly hard by the recent label delays. Many NY wine makers have voiced their concerns on the current label approval situation. John Martini, co-owner of Anthony Road Wine Co. said that he submitted a label on May 12th of this year and did not receive an approval until June 15th – over one month of waiting before he could bring his wine to market. Some others have waited 75 to 90 days.

US Senator Chuck Schumer, (D-NY) has come to the defense of NY wineries and asked the TTB to speed up the label approval process.

How Big is the Current TTB Wine Label Approval Staff?

Reportedly, the TTB now staffs 13 employees who will handle approximately 130,000 labels submitted to them for approval this year – 10,000 labels per person, or more than 38 labels per day for every weekday in the year. The TTB website states that the average processing time for each wine label application is now 36 days.

Wine Processing Completions via www.ttb.gov

That’s a big difference between what wine industry experts said would once have taken one day if filed electronically and about one week when submitted by mail!

This graphic shows the correlation between wine label approvals and wine labels that are pending for the month of June. You can see the increase in label submissions for the spring and summer months, and the high number of pending labels.

Why Are TTB Cutbacks Causing Delays for the Wine Industry?

Although the TTB is federally funded, the funding goes to all areas of the TTB which includes – beer, wine, spirits, alcohol, tobacco, firearms and ammunition. This year the TTB was funded somewhere around $100 million and it is looking like it will be reduced for the coming year.

On top of possible decreases in funding, there is no charge for COLA (Certificate of Label Approval) applications and certification. Wendell Lee of the Wine Institute explained that there have been many attempts to obtain revenue for the TTB, and “at one point there was talk of assessing user fees for label approvals.”

Lee also suggested to Wines & Vines magazine that the TTB consider a less stringent and less detailed examination of labels and instead examine only the mandatory information as a way to help save time and complete more label approvals.

Custom Wine Labels Need to be Approved Too!

Customized wine labels are causing even more approval setbacks. Did you know that custom wine labels need to be sent in for approval by the TTB even if the label is use for only a few cases of wine? Labels containing custom “Happy Anniversary” or “Congratulations” sayings on them must all be approved before they can be sold.

The TTB’s View on the Issue

Label approval applications submitted to the TTB have more than doubled in the past ten years, according to TTB spokesman Tom Hogue in an interview with Wines & Vines.

Hogue continued, “And that doesn’t take into account any of the time going back and forth with an applicant to make sure labels they’ve submitted actually meet legal requirements.”

Hogue recently told Wines & Vines that, “Approving labels gets people in business, if we don’t get them out, or make sure people get their permits and pay their lawful taxes, everyone is not on a level playing surface. That doesn’t help business. It’s not good for the industry – especially if you have smaller guys with no margin for error. In the wine industry, you see a lot of that.”

Hogue provided some TTB staffing numbers but did not specify how many individuals act to approve labels. The US federal agency also employs 500 people nationwide as auditors, investigators, licensors, tax processors, among other positions.

“We’re not getting more resources,” Hogue said. With the staffing reductions at the TTB well-known within the industry, Hogue recommended that wineries plan to allow more time to receive label approvals. Hogue continued, “People need to take this into account in planning, and make their business decisions accordingly. We understand it has an impact on them; they have to understand what’s available in terms of resources.”

In a recent statement posted on its website, the TTB advised that “it is likely that COLA processing times will remain longer than you have experienced in the past and we strongly suggest that you build in extra time for receiving label approval from the TTB.”  TTB & Wine Industry: Where Should We Go From Here?

It’s obvious to me that some changes are needed to bring the capacity of the TTB in line with the needs of wine industry. What sort of changes do you think should be made? Less detailed label examinations, with the possibility of recalls if something is overlooked? Or possibly charging for COLAs (Certificate of Label Approvals) in order to generate more revenue so the TTB to employ more label inspectors? What do you think?


More information about TTB wine label approvals:

Can TTB Keep Up with the Wine Industry?Wines and Vines Magazine

How To Print QR Codes on Your Product Labels

Have you noticed the cool-looking black and white square-shaped barcodes appearing more and more often on food and beverage labels, on signs, in magazines, and so on? QR Codes are growing in popularity – here’s how you can print your own QR Code label.

First, a little background: What are QR Codes?

“QR Codes,” short for Quick Response Codes, are small, square, two-dimensional barcodes. In comparison to traditional barcodes, the 2D QR Codes allow larger amounts of data to be encoded and scanned faster. QR codes were originally created to be read by barcode scanners. Today, marketers are embracing smartphone apps which can scan QR Codes, read hyperlinks, and bring the user directly to a web location where web pages, videos, and other rich online content can be viewed. QR codes allow marketers to store and share large amounts of information, including coupons, contact information, physical addresses, and URLs, all of which open up in the web browser of a mobile phone.

Eric Anderson, QuickLabel Upper Midwest District Manager, has seen a growth in the use of QR codes on his customer’s product labels. “I like to call labels with QR codes or Microsoft Tags ‘perpetual interactive marketing billboards’ that can be applied to most any product!” said Anderson.

Here’s How You Can Begin Using QR Codes on Your Own Product Labels:

Step #1: Go to an online QR Code generator such as Kaywa

Step #2: Follow the screen prompts to enter a text message or hyperlink in the content box (this is the information that will be encoded in the QR Code)

Step #3: Generate the QR Code on screen

Step #4: Download and Save the QR Code as an image to your computer

Step #5: Open Custom QuickLabel software and add the QR Code to your label format as a graphic image, or add the image to your label design in Adobe® Photoshop,® Adobe Illustrator,® or in any other software you use to design and print labels

Step #6: Print your label as usual, using any label printer. May I recommend the QuickLabel Kiaro!, Pronto!, or QLS-4100 Xe?

How You Can Benefit by Printing a QR Code on Your Label

QuickLabel’s Eric Anderson shared a few of his ideas with us:

  • Private Label Wine: Imagine having private labeled wine bottle for a wedding with a QR Code on it.  That code could launch a YouTube video of the couple thanking the guests for attending – or perhaps launch a slide show that guests could converse about.  This would be a value added benefit that could be provided by wine bottlers.
  • Food Companies: Print a label with a QR Code that can be scanned for a “Recipe of the Month” by customers.  The QR code could point to a web page that could be updated with new recipes as often as one would like, making that same container, sitting on the shelf, a perpetual marketing tool.
  • Industrial Manufacturers: Product training videos could be launched right from the product label – assuring proper usage and reducing training costs.
  • Cosmetics Companies: Customer testimonial videos showing the product being used could help sell a product on the spot while the customer is at the point of purchase in the store.

A Brief History of QR Codes

QR codes originated in Japan in 1994 thanks to Denso Wave, a manufacturer of barcodes and 2D code scanners. Toyota was one of the first companies to use QR codes to track vehicle parts in vehicle manufacturing. Today, QR codes are still used in manufacturing, but now they are also being used on product packaging because they are such an easy and convenient means of bringing consumers to an online site.

The spread of mobile phone technology has propelled the use of QR codes since smartphones are equipped to scan QR codes through their cameras and phone applications. “I do not believe QR Codes have hit critical mass yet … but with the ubiquitous use of smart phones by a growing segment of the population, it will surely do so soon,” said Anderson.

Looking for QR Code Scanning Apps for your Smartphone?

Each smartphone has its own set of QR scanner apps to go along with it.

Android Phone QR Scanners:

Mashable so kindly put together 7 free QR Code Reader Apps for Android. The 7 apps include:

  • Barcode Generator/Reader
  • ScanLife Barcode Reader
  • QuickMark QR Code Reader
  • I-nigma Barcode Scanner
  • QR Droid
  • Barcode Scanner
  • mobiScan QR


Apple iPhone QR Scanners:

Dr. Orange from Orange QR reviewed 5 iPhone apps available in the Apple store. Here they are for you:

  • NeoReader (Free)
  • Optiscan
  • Barcode (Free)
  • QuickMark
  • ScanLife (Free)

Blackberry Phone QR Scanners:

BlackBerry has what is called BlackBerry App World, where BlackBerry users can go download and buy applications for their phones. BlackBerry offers both free and priced applications. Some of the QR readers include:

  • QR Code Scanner Pro (Free)
  • QR Code Now
  • QR Scanner

How and Where QR Codes Are Currently Used

Food Packaging: QR codes are being used on food labels and food packaging. Hyperlinks within these codes can lead consumers to recipes, nutritional facts, discount codes, etc. Recently, Kellogg launched the “It’s Morning Somewhere” marketing campaign for its Crunch Nut cereal that includes an on-package QR code that its consumers can scan with their mobile phones while eating their breakfast! When the QR code is scanned, consumers are brought to a mobile site where the slogan “It’s Morning Somewhere” appears and one of 13 promotional videos is played depending on the time of day.

In comparison to the older SMS mobile marketing technology, the “It’s Morning Somewhere” QR Code campaign has been a smashing success. Thus far, there have been 40,000 Crunchy Nut QR scans, 38,000 videos played, and 50,000 page views – very impressive when company to just 6,000 SMS texts.

Restaurant Uses of QR Codes: The Colonial House Restaurant and Bar in Rapid City, SD uses QR codes on its menus and table tents. Patrons can scan the codes to see daily specials, promotions, and beer and drink offerings and can even be linked to the restaurants social media pages. Colonial House also advertises using QR codes on advertisements at local rest-stops, perfect for attracting travelers in the area looking for a place to eat.

Crime Fighting Uses of QR Codes: Vancouver police recently used QR code technology to generate tips on a wanted assaulter. Police distributed over 300 posters with QR codes in bathroom stalls around the city. When the QR code is scanned by patrons using their smartphones, they are brought to information about the wanted person. The information that is presented includes composite sketches of the attacker and detailed descriptions of their car.

Using QR Codes to Make a Purchase: Starbucks recently introduced a secure QR code payment system for iPhone, BlackBerry and Android phones that allows customers to pay for their purchases using their phones. This move put Starbucks on the map as the only large-scale coffee company with mobile payment capabilities. Just nine weeks after its launch in 2011, Starbucks processed more than 3 million mobile payments.

Selling Real Estate with QR Codes: Realtors are even using QR codes to sell homes. In Rapid City, South Dakota homes that are on the market have QR Codes displayed in a window. Interested home buyers can scan the code with their mobile phone and they will be taken to a unique page made specifically for that home. The website contains information such as photos, floor plans, neighborhood information and so on. Realtors found that the QR codes allow them to provide more information than a typical listing or flyer in the local paper.