• Sha Jumari

QLM Labels – The winning side of digital

At the recently concluded Asian Packaging Excellence Awards, Vietnam-based Hoang Ha Label Co. (a member of the QLM Label Makers Group) won awards in two digital categories.

Their entry for Digital Labels, titled “Pukara Labels”, scored high to win the coveted Gold in the category. The company also won a Bronze award in the Digital Packaging category for their entry titled “QCamel - Camel Milk Chocolates”. HP Indigo technology was used for both entries.

“While there was a focus on the Digital Category this year we did enter other categories like flexo and letterpress. Our digital entries were particularly strong this season but the competition is always tough. We need to keep innovating and producing amazing labels - and try harder to win awards in other categories,” said Lindsay Nutley, marketing manager at QLM.

“The entries this year for digital were selected in advance. Other categories we were collecting samples closer to the due date. One of the disadvantages of not keeping rolls of labels and being lean is that we often don't keep extras - this is a disadvantage as it means we can only enter those we have kept aside. We apply a scoring system internally for suitable labels whenever possible to ensure we submit quality entries,” Nutley said.

Sophistication in Simplicity

QLM’s winning entries were both for the food industry. The Gold entry was for Australia-based Pukara Estate, a gourmet food manufacturer specialising in olive oil and vinegar. The Bronze entry was commissioned by Australian chocolate company, QCamel.

Apart from quality, the labels stood out for its less-is-more look. Both clients wanted a simple yet sophisticated design.

“For both labels, the clients required the design elements to fit within strict branding guidelines. Ironically both clients are quite conservative with their branding so there was no excessive use of embellishments,” said Nutley.

“It did go to show that simplicity done well can be outstanding.”

To achieve the distinct look of the Gold-awarded labels for Pukara Estate, HP Indigo Mosaic technology was utilised. Mosaic is a plugin app on HP Indigo SmartStream platform. Using a “seed image”, Mosaic is able to create an infinite iteration of unique designs by auto-scaling, transposing and rotating the image. The result was that every customer received a one-of-a-kind packaging from Pukara.

“The challenge with digital printing is usually the turnaround time and complexity of colour management. Many people think it is just click and go - but there are some very specific skills in pre-press and the printing process to ensure the brand and colour integrity is maintained throughout the process,” Nutley added, emphasising on the importance of colour management in print.

Hoang Ha Label Co. has a long tradition of innovating. The company was the first letterpress label company in Vietnam and then the first to utilise HP Indigo Label presses.

“Being first was never the important part - it is whether the technology suits your client requirements,” said Nutley. “For us, there was a fit, but you need to make sure it is a good fit before investing or it can be a costly error.”

“Winning awards at the Asian Packaging Excellence Awards is always an honour. It represents industry acknowledgement against the leading printers in the region,” Nutley concluded.

“A huge thank you to the team at Print Innovation Asia. The awards and conferences provide an opportunity for us to be benchmarked against the best in the region (and the world). There is a great deal of camaraderie with other printers and it is great that we are working together to produce outstanding results. We are very excited to be welcoming everyone to Ho Chi Minh City in 2020 - we hope it will be the best yet.”

First published in Issue June of Labels and Packaging Innovation Asia.

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