Archive for December, 2015
It’s the last few days before Christmas, so here’s everything you need to know if you want to order labels before or during the Christmas holidays.
Last Orders Please
We will be processing and despatching orders Monday-Wednesday this week.
Customers should bear in mind that the last recommended posting date for First Class mail (our standard delivery service for small quantities) is today. After today, only items that are placed on guaranteed next working day delivery services will be delivered before Christmas. While orders of 250+ sheets will be put on a next working day carrier service, we would advise customers ordering fewer sheets to consider upgrading to a guaranteed next day delivery option (available online or by phone).
We would also advise that only stocked items are now available for delivery before Christmas. If you have any doubts about whether or not the items you wish to order are available for despatch AND delivery before Christmas, please get in touch with us BEFORE placing an order so we can confirm the despatch/delivery information for you.
The Arrival Of the New Year (‘s Labels)
Any orders placed after 3pm on Wednesday and those placed over the Christmas Holidays will be processed upon our return on Monday 4th January.
Getting In Touch With Us
While we will be closed for the Christmas Holidays, you can still send us an email if there is anything you need to query or discuss with us in the New Year. We will endeavour to respond to all correspondence as soon as we can, once our offices re-open on Monday 4th January.
Over the years, we’ve heard from hundreds of customers who want to buy labels for Christmas – but some of them have surprised us with the Christmas Capers they had in store for their labels.
Most of our labels end up on Christmas cards and parcels, as gift tags and wrapping decorations, as Christmas labels on products and packaging, or as seasonal extras for Christmas events and promotions. Some of them, however, are destined for slightly more unusual festive favours:
- Playing pieces to be used in homemade Christmas board games and card games, prompts for rounds of “Who Am I?”, and even Christmas variations of “Pin the Tail on the Donkey” (although with less “pin” and more “stick”).
- Elements for Christmas Scavenger Hunts, including directions and all-important clues!
- Stick on Christmas hats that won’t fall off – even if you fall asleep!
- Homemade Christmas decorations, including wall decorations, tree decorations, and homemade Advent Calendars.
- Labels for homemade goodies, including all kinds of Christmas biscuits and cakes, jars of Christmas condiments, along with one or two (or simply a few) bottles of homemade wine, beer, or whisky.
- Labels on a Family Tree, created as a Christmas gift for extended family members.
- Elements in homemade photo albums; some use labels to add descriptions to their photos, while others print their photos onto labels and stick them into a book or pad to create a homemade album.
- Homemade beauty gifts, including balms, perfumes, and bath products.
- Name labels and table place holders at parties and events.
- Individual and Team Name Badges for use in competitions and tournaments – either to identify competitors or to display scores on scoreboards or tournament boards to show who has progressed through to the next round.
- Labels for Christmas art exhibitions and Christmas fairs (or fayres if you prefer!).
- As part of a good old traditional Christmas raffle!
Please note that we will close for the Christmas Holidays on Wednesday 23rd December, and will re-open on Monday 4th January.
Any orders placed over the Christmas Holidays will be processed upon our return.
We will continue to process orders up until Wednesday afternoon, but we would remind customers that delivery times are longer than usual due to the Christmas period.
Stocked items are available for same day despatch; smaller orders (less than 250 sheets) will be sent via Royal Mail’s First Class service (NOT a guaranteed next day delivery option and likely to be delayed during the Christmas Period) and larger orders (250+ sheets) will be sent via next working day carrier. Customers ordering smaller quantities are advised to upgrade to a guaranteed next day delivery service (available online and by phone). Orders of Stocked Items will be processed and despatched up to 4:30pm (small orders) or 3pm (larger orders).
Non-stocked items are made to order; usually these items are despatched within five working days, HOWEVER, customers should remember that, just as delivery times are delayed at this time of year due to the huge quantities of items being delivered, manufacturing & despatch times are delayed due to the huge quantities of items being manufactured in time for Christmas. At this time of year despatch is likely to be a MINIMUM of five working days (rather than a maximum) with our synthetic labels (polyester and polyethylene) being despatched in 7-10 working days.
We would advise customers who have any concerns about despatch/delivery estimates for the item(s) they want to order to get in touch with us, so that we can provide them with the most up to date information.
Here at Label Planet, we’ve spent years working with templates and helping customers deal with template-related crises, which is why we know only too well that when templates go wrong, they go wrong in the most nightmarish of ways – especially if you’ve got a lot of labels to print and only a short amount of time to get them printed. At this time of year, there are hundreds and thousands of people trying to get all kinds of Christmas projects done in time for the holidays, which means that it’s the least convenient (and therefore most likely) time for your template to go wrong.
With this in mind, we’ve put together a short list of our Top Tips for avoiding template troubles:
DESIGNING YOUR TEMPLATE
- Plan ahead and take your time – rushing things will get you nowhere.
- Design the top left label first. Once you’re happy with your design, use copy and paste to recreate it in the other labels – this will mean they’re all exactly the same and you won’t have to spend time setting each one up individually.
- Keep an eye on the measurements/dimensions of your template AND the content you are adding; some software will “helpfully” adjust your template and/or your content to make it all fit – usually destroying the alignment of your template in the process.
- When designing round or oval labels AVOID adding a border (which emphasises any misalignment issues) and consider oversizing your design if you need to add a coloured background (to avoid white edging around your labels).
[Please note: while PDF templates will show you the round or oval shape of your labels, Word templates are not sophisticated enough to do this and so the labels will be represented by a square or rectangle whereby the outermost points of the label touch the edges of the square or rectangle.]
- Keep things simple. Adding too many elements to your labels will both make your template even more difficult to get right and might make your labels look messy and cluttered.
- If you want to add multiple elements to your design (coloured background, text, and/or images), think carefully about how you can layer those different elements and try to work from the “back” layer to the “front”.
- Use Word’s Mail Merge tool to create a set of labels printed with information from a database (e.g. addresses or product details); we suggest using Word’s “Step By Step Mail Merge Wizard” to guide you through the process.
- If an object that you’ve added to your template (e.g. an image, shape, or text box) just isn’t working properly, take a look through the format settings that have been applied to that object and see if there is an alternative that will give you greater control over the look and/or positioning of that object.
- If you’re using a Word template, remember that Word is a Word Processor and will therefore prioritise TEXT over everything else – if you’re adding images or other objects, keep an eye on the format settings to make sure that you have better control over where your objects sit within your template.
PRINTING YOUR TEMPLATE
- ALWAYS do a test print onto paper first.
- Make sure that your printer is set to a Page/Media Size/Layout of A4 and that no scaling options have been applied.
- If you’re printing from a PDF, print directly from the PDF itself (rather than through your editing software).
- Use the media bypass tray (if your printer has one).
- Use a specific “Labels” or “Heavy Paper” setting to get the best possible print.
If things go wrong: DON’T PANIC and DON’T ASSUME THAT FIXING THINGS IS IMPOSSIBLE, THE SKY IS FALLING, AND THE WORLD IS ABOUT TO END.
All software and hardware varies slightly and the most common cause for template troubles is a default setting that’s doing something to your template that is not as helpful as your software/hardware thinks it is. In most cases, it’s likely that all you need to do is make some small adjustments to get things sorted; a few changes to default settings, formats and sizes, or those pesky page margins can make a BIG difference.
And, of course, remember to BREATHE!!! – it’s only a template after all! If you need one-to-one advice for the specific troubles your template is causing you, you can always get in touch with us and we’ll do our best to sort things out!
While there are hundreds and thousands of companies selling all kinds of pre-made Christmas stuff, there’s nothing quite like making your own bits and bobs, each of which has a truly unique design that absolutely no one else will have.
Whether you want to add a personal message to your Christmas cards and gifts, use your own designs and/or photographs on your Christmas items, or you want to make decorations that are completely unique, our labels can help you bring some of your own Christmas magic to this year’s celebrations.
You can get creative with labels in all sorts of ways; whether you’re brilliant at graphic design and want to print your own stunning set of Christmas stationery/decorations/gifts, you’re a dab hand at calligraphy and want to give your gifts and cards that handwritten personal touch, or perhaps you’ve armed yourself with a whole heap of craft materials, scissors, and – of course – as much glitter and ribbon as you can get hold of so you can go completely Christmas crafting crazy!!!
We’ve got all kinds of labels but these are our absolute favourites for creating your very own Winter Wonderland:
– Gold & Silver Labels: these labels have a wonderful semi-gloss textured finish, which creates a luxurious sparkle that is perfectly suited to this magical season of gorgeous gifts and splendid snow drifts. Whether you want to give your gifts and decorations that touch of extravagance or you’re looking for a seasonal touch of glittering gold (or silver!), these labels are an excellent addition to all your Christmas trimmings.
– Kraft Labels: made from a ribbed brown Kraft paper, these labels have a lovely subtle touch of pattern and texture and are a brilliant choice for all your homemade Christmas stationery and decorations. They can be used to make brilliant cards and envelopes, gift tags and labels, or as the perfect finishing touch for your homemade Christmas decorations and gifts.
– Coloured Labels: with a choice of six subtle pastel shades and five bold bright fluorescents, we’re sure to have a label that will bring a touch of colour to all of your Christmas packages and parcels. Create personalised labels for Christmas cards and presents complete with an extra special touch of colour to bring even more fun and illumination to your celebrations.
Remember, you have the choice of printing your labels, handwriting them, or simply using them as materials for homemade decorations. An excellent way to get really creative is to buy a larger label size that you can then cut up into wonderful Christmas shapes – including stars and trees, wise men and shepherds, sledges and sleighs, Christmas hats and stockings, or perhaps, if you’re courageous enough, a reindeer (or nine)!
Need To Make Some Address Labels For Your Christmas Card List? It’s The Return Of the Christmas Mail Merge!Thursday, December 3rd, 2015
While we’ve blogged about mail merges before (including seasonal and non-seasonal varieties), it’s always good to have a refresher. Plus, it’s a chance to welcome those of you who might be entirely new to the wonderful (and sometimes slightly traumatic) world of printing your own Christmas labels.
If you’re not sure how to go about doing a Mail Merge, we highly recommend using Word’s built in Step By Step Mailing Wizard: select the “Mailings” tab, click “Start Mail Merge”, and select “Step By Step Mail Merge Wizard”.
There are SIX STEPS to follow to complete your Mail Merge (and they go something like this)…
STEP 1: DOCUMENT TYPE
STEP 2: STARTING DOCUMENT
You can use a built in Avery template (if compatible with your labels), set up your own template, or use an existing template (for example, if you’ve downloaded a template from our website or have an existing template saved on your computer).
– Avery Template: click “Label Options”, select “Avery A4/A5” as the Label vendor, and choose the correct code from the list.
– New Template: click “Label Options”, select “New Label”, and fill in the required fields with the measurements of your labels.
– Existing Template: select “Start from existing document” and click “Open” to locate the saved template you want to use.
STEP 3: SELECT RECIPIENTS
Select “Use an existing list” and click “Browse” to locate your list of addresses.
To complete a Mail Merge, your addresses must be saved in a database format (e.g. an Excel spreadsheet).
The “Select Table” box may show multiple options: these are the different tabs in your spreadsheet or tables/queries in your database, so you’ll need to select the option that contains your address list.
If you don’t want to print labels for ALL of the addresses in your list (perhaps someone is on the “Naughty Step” this year), use the Mail Merge Recipients box to select only the entries that you want to print onto your labels.
If you are using an Avery Template or a New Template you have made yourself, the placeholder “«Next Record»” will now appear in all of the cells in your template (except for the top left cell).
If you are using an Existing Template, you will need to manually add these placeholders yourself: left click once inside the second cell, click on the “Rules” button, and select “Next Record” from the list. You can repeat this for each cell OR copy this first placeholder and paste it into the remaining cells.
STEP 4: ARRANGE YOUR LABELS
Design your labels! You can choose to simply add the addresses from your list to your labels OR you can give your labels an extra special finishing touch by adding your own words and images for a truly personalised set of Christmas labels.
You should design your labels in the top left cell; once you’re happy with the layout, you can click on the “Update all labels” button, which will copy your design into all of the remaining cells.
If you are using an Existing Template you won’t see this button and you will need to copy and paste your design into the remaining cells yourself – remember to make sure that the “Next Record” placeholder is at the start of each new cell so that, when you complete the merge, each label is printed with information from the next entry in your list (rather than printing the same information on every label).
Likewise if you’re trying to create different designs on one sheet of labels, you’ll need to copy and paste the different design elements yourself, so that each label is printed with the specific design you want.
Word offers a number of tools to help design your labels, including:
“Address Block” will match the fields in your spreadsheet with the elements usually included in an address.
Check the “preview pane” to make sure that Word has chosen the correct fields and put them in the right order. If any of the matches are wrong, click “Match Fields” to select which field should be used for which element in the address block. This will add “«Address Block»” as a placeholder, while you complete your design.
“Greeting Line” will allow you to personalise labels with a name and a greeting; for example, you could add “Happy Christmas” to your design and use the “Greeting Line” tool to add each recipient’s name (e.g. Dear First Name).
Check the “preview pane” to make sure that Word has chosen the correct fields and put them in the right order. If any of the matches are wrong, click “Match Fields” to select which field should be used. This will add “«Greeting Line»” as a placeholder, while you complete your design.
More Items / Field Placeholders
If you’re writing your own text and want to be able to specify that a specific field should be added in a specific place, use the More Items or Field Placeholders options to choose which fields from your database you want to include and exactly where you want them to appear. To insert a Field Placeholder, click on “Insert Merge Fields” and select the field that you want to add.
STEP 5: PREVIEW YOUR LABELS
Double check that the right bit of information is going in the right place on your labels and that everything looks about right.
STEP 6: COMPLETE THE MERGE
Select “Print” to choose your printer and printer settings. Remember: to get the best possible print on labels you should use the media bypass tray (if your printer has one) and select a specific “Labels” or “Heavy Paper” setting (where available).
We strongly recommend doing a test print of the first page only BEFORE you go ahead and print all of your labels. This way you can double check that everything is going to print as and where it’s supposed to – without wasting a chunk of your labels (not to mention time and toner/ink).
Yes, it is officially December, which means that the Christmas countdown is underway; Advent Calendars are being ripped open, it’s finally acceptable to play Christmas music in public, and it’s high time that you got the Last Posting Dates written on your calendar/wallchart/convenient post-it note, in bold black marker pen, circled in at least two different colours, with a handful of exclamation marks for good measure.
The majority of labels ordered at this time of year are destined for Christmas-related applications, whether it’s labels for Christmas cards, gifts, or homemade decorations, or labels for Christmas stock, seasonal promotions, or a big Christmas event. The common theme for all of these labels (besides Christmas!) is that they will all be time-sensitive; all of them need to be ordered, despatched, delivered, designed, printed, applied, and sent on their merry way to make sure that they reach their final destination in plenty of time for Christmas.
Therefore, we would advise all of our customers ordering labels at this time of year to order AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE, so they don’t fall foul of the panic and chaos of taking a chance on the Last Posting Dates.
Our current despatch/delivery estimates are as follows:
ORDERS OF MADE TO ORDER ITEMS: up to 7-10 working days for despatch via next working day carrier.
(Made to order items are placed on a waiting list for manufacture: at this time of year, the volume of items is much higher than normal, so we would advise customers to get in touch for an exact despatch estimate for the particular item(s) they want to order)
ORDERS OF 500+ SHEETS: same working day despatch via next working day carrier – where items are in stock.
(Again, customers should contact us for exact despatch estimates, particularly if multiple boxes are required)
ORDERS OF 250-475 SHEETS: same working day despatch via next working day carrier.
ORDERS OF LESS THAN 250 SHEETS: same working day despatch via Royal Mail’s first class service.
(Royal Mail AIM to deliver these items on the next working day; usually around 93% of first class mail does arrive the next working day with the remainder taking a few days extra; HOWEVER, at this time of year, due to the sheer volume of items being sent, this service is likely to see delays. We would therefore strongly recommend that ALL customers ordering less than 250 sheets should consider upgrading their order to a guaranteed next day delivery service. If you do not wish to upgrade, we would advise that we allow Royal Mail five working days to deliver first class items and will not declare them to be lost until this time has passed).
Please note that if you request delivery to an address in Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, or Islands With UK Postcodes your items will be sent via 2-3 working day carrier. This service may experience delays as we get closer to Christmas and the last day orders will be accepted for delivery before Christmas will be Friday 18th December.
Of course, if you do end up ordering items later than you’d like or you’d simply like to know the deadlines that you need to keep to, here are the Last Posting Dates for Christmas 2015.
Sent via: Royal Mail’s International Standard & International Signed For
Last Posting Date: Wednesday 16th December (Ireland)
BRITISH FORCES POST OFFICE (BFPO)
Sent via: Royal Mail’s International Standard HM Forces Mail
Last Posting Date: Friday 11th December (Static BFPOs)
Sent via: Royal Mail’s First Class & Signed For First Class
Last Posting Date: Monday 21st December
Sent via: Royal Mail’s Special Delivery Guaranteed
Last Posting Date: Wednesday 23rd December
PLEASE NOTE: we must receive your order by 4pm on the dates listed above to allow us time to pack your order.