The labeling industry strikes a difficult balance by printing exactly the needed information onto packages of all kinds—for food, medicine, retail goods and more. Yet it’s an art that seems to be lost on at least some consumers.
That’s probably because labeling often acts first and foremost as a utility. The text, colors and symbols used to convey the message on any label are readily visible, but they are meant to communicate quick bites of information—for example, to indicate that a medicine should be taken two hours before a meal or that a container of liquid might contain chemicals that can be hazardous if used the wrong way. Although the label itself is tremendously valuable, that value is easy to overlook because of the important content of the message itself.
In truth, this means that as labeling professionals, we’re doing our job. Our industry is committed to printing the right information when and where it’s needed. The surfaces on which information can be stored and printed continue to take shape, giving us more platforms to share these vital messages. We have digital and interactive labels today, just as we do standard printed labels. Even the word “standard” fails to account for the vast number of printing types and styles available to companies producing a wide range of goods and services.
As an industry, we can be proud that labels—while easy to gloss over as we rush through the supermarket before that final camping trip of the season—are doing their job. Without the caring manufacturers behind those labels and the technologies they use to print them, that wouldn’t be possible.