NEW Instagram account for Associated Labels and Packaging

NEW Instagram account for Associated Labels and Packaging

June 10, 2016

artists-interpret-instagram-new-logo-designboom-011Here at Associated Labels and Packaging in Vancouver, we are always finding ways to better communicate the vision of our fun and fulfilling company to our customers. What better place to know who your dealing with than seeing the everyday workings of our business. Be it labels, film, flexible packaging or compostable stand-up pouches we are here for your viewing.

We look forward to this new platform and connecting with you on a new level.


Come find us

Instagram @associated_labels_packaging

Twitter @AssociatedLabel

Facebook @associatedLP  


Written by Jay Ashworth

Art by @jarrett.hendrix

Forbes Collection of The 10 Most Rarest and Interesting Pigments

April 12, 2016


Forbes Collection of The 10 Most Rarest and Interesting Pigments

Synthetic Ultramarine 
“This was discovered in 1826 as the result of a contest. In a way it is like discovering how to make gold as artists no longer had to buy natural ultramarine at great cost.”

apothecary_1695_curiosa_auctaMummy Brown

“People would harvest mummies from Egypt and then extract the brown resin material that was on the wrappings around the bodies and turn that into a pigment. It’s a very bizarre kind of pigment, I’ve got to say, but it was very popular in the 18th and 19th centuries.”

“Brazilwood is any of several tropical trees of the senna genus. Its hard, red-color wood has had limited use for violins, bows, veneer, and high-quality furniture. The wood contains the colorant brasilin, which gives a deep-red to brownish color. Brazilwood dye has been used for textile and leather dyes, inks, paints, varnish tints, and wood stains.”

“A yellow vegetable dye, quercitron is extracted from the black or dark brown bark of the black oak, Quercus velutina, that is native to the Eastern and Midwestern parts of the United States.”

“The lipstick plant—a small tree, Bixa orellana, native to Central and South America—produces annatto, a natural orange dye. Seeds from the plant are contained in a pod surrounded with a bright red pulp. Currently, annatto is used to color butter, cheese, and cosmetics.”

Lapis Lazuli
“People would mine it in Afghanistan, ship it across Europe, and it was more expensive that gold so it would have its own budget line on a commission.”

Dragon’s Blood
“It has a great name, but it’s not from dragons. [The bright red pigment] is from the rattan palm.”

“This red dye comes from squashed beetles, and it’s used in cosmetics and food.

Cadmium Yellow
“Cadmium yellow was introduced in the mid 19th century. It’s a bright yellow that many impressionists used. Cadmium is a heavy metal, very toxic. In the early 20th century, cadmium red was introduced. You find these pigments used in industrial processes. Up until the 1970s, Lego bricks had cadmium pigment in them.”

Emerald Green 
“This is made from copper acetoarsenite. We had a Van Gogh with a bright green background that was identified as emerald green. Pigments used for artists’ purposes can find their way into use in other areas as well. Emerald green was used as an insecticide, and you often see it on older wood that would be put into the ground, like railroad ties.”

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Honey Bees Make Associated Labels and Packaging Their New Home!

March 31, 2016


Staff at Associated Labels and Packaging have revived a derelict piece of land on our property to house two colonies of honey bees! On April 4th, Shaun Ashworth (President) and employees will help install the two queens and their bees. Ongoing courses will be offered to staff to train them in caring for the bees year round. There has been lots of positive feedback from staff for the hives, as well as, growing interest in helping the environment in any way we can.

At Associated Labels and Packaging, we hope to be part of similar projects in the future and encourage other companies to do the same. Not only for the health of our bee population and plant pollination, but the health of our human population as well. Bees encourage new conversations, and new connections to nature and each other.

We would like to think that work doesn’t always have to be just about work!

The First “Information Age” Inventing the Printing Press – History 101

February 26, 2016
Circa 1450, Johannes Gutenberg (1400 - 1468) inventor of printing examines a page from his first printing press. (Photo by Rischgitz/Getty Images)

Circa 1450, Johannes Gutenberg (1400 – 1468) inventor of printing examines a page from his first printing press. (Photo by Rischgitz/Getty Images)

The History of Printing
Some assert that no invention in the history of man has had a greater influence on society than the introduction of printing in the 15th century. The development of printing has made it possible for books, newspapers, magazines, and other reading materials to be produced in great numbers, and it plays an important role in promoting literacy among the masses.

Even our cave dwelling ancestors knew the importance of painting and stencilling over 40,000 years ago by leaving impressions of their hands or depicting their stories through hunting murals. In Mesopotamia some 5,000 years ago, impressions were made on clay tablets for a variety of uses. Nearly 4,000 years later China created paper, water colour inks, woodblock printing, and moveable printing types.

Circa 1450, Johannes Gutenberg (1400 - 1468) inventor of printing examines a page from his first printing press. (Photo by Rischgitz/Getty Images)

Circa 1450, Johannes Gutenberg (1400 – 1468) inventor of printing examines a page from his first printing press. (Photo by Rischgitz/Getty Images)

The Father of Printing When paper became widely available in Europe c.1400AD, Germany’s Johannes Gutenberg (c. 1398 – 1468) invented the hand operated mechanical “Moving Type,” also known as the Printing Press. Contemporary commentators say his work led to an “Information Revolution” that can be likened to what has happened with the development of the internet today.

The early modern wine grape press (earlier used for olives) was a screw press which was modified in Europe for a wide range of uses and provided Gutenberg with the model for his printing press.

While he was developing the press, Gutenberg also invented oil based inks which was needed to create successful impressions. To top it off, he decided black and white wasn’t good enough and invented the first colour prints halfway through the 15th century. Historians mark this period as the “Age of Printing” in Europe, when standard typography and fonts were established for the first time.

It wasn’t until 1476 that England established their first printing press; while the first arrived in British North America (Cambridge, Massachusetts Bay Colony) in 1638. This original press made its way to the newly opened Harvard College and printed exclusively for the colony.

The Gutenberg press (240 impressions/hour) was much more efficient than manual copying and still was largely unchanged over 300 years later. By 1800, a press constructed completely from cast iron reduced the force required by 90% while doubling the size of the printed area; press efficiency was still only 480 sheets per hour.

1280px-Hoe's_six-cylinder_pressTwo ideas altered the design of the printing press radically: First, the use of steam power for running the machinery (1843), and second, the replacement of the printing flatbed with the rotary motion cylinders. Mass production of printed works flourished after these inventions and rolled paper were used. It’s at this point that conventional printing history continues on and where “Flexographic Printing” branches off.

Flexography Printing History In 1890, the first such patented press was built in Liverpool, England by Bibby, Baron and Sons. The water-based ink smeared easily, leading the device to be known as “Bibby’s Folly” (aka Foolishness). In the early 1900s, other European presses using rubber printing plates and aniline oil-based ink were developed. This led to the process being called “aniline printing”. By the 1920s, most presses were made in Germany, where the process was called “gummidruck,” or rubber printing.


During the early part of the 20th century, the technique was used extensively in food packaging in the United States. However, in the 1940s, the Food and Drug Administration classified aniline dyes as unsuitable for food packaging. Printing sales plummeted. Individual firms tried using new names for the process, such as “Lustro Printing” and “Transglo Printing,” but met with limited success. Even after the Food and Drug Administration approved the aniline process in 1949 using new, safe inks, sales continued to decline as some food manufacturers still refused to consider aniline printing.

The Packaging Institute’s Printed Packaging Committee narrowed the selection to three possibilities from 200 submissions: “Permatone Process”, “Rotopake Process”, and “Flexographic Process”. Postal ballots from readers of a printing magazine overwhelmingly chose “Flexographic Process.”

Typical products printed using flexography include brown corrugated boxes, flexible packaging including retail and shopping bags, food and hygiene bags and sacks, flexible plastic, self adhesive labels, and wallpaper.

Associated Labels ad Packaging Flexography printing has always been a part of Associated Labels and Packaging history. Our research and development team is always on the look out for new processes and technology to advance our company. With over 35 years of experience, we will continue to grow along side history. We have even created our own history as a partner in the creation of the first backyard compostable stand-up pouch.

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Associated Labels and Packaging Collaborates with Partners to “Revolutionize the Food Industry”

February 15, 2016


Alter Eco switches from a previous, plastic non-recyclable structure to a “Gone4Good” backyard-compostable stand-up pouch made from non-GMO (genetically-modified organisms), plant-based materials.

The new compostable stand-up pouches replace previous packaging for the brand’s popular organic Royal heirloom quinoa products, including Rainbow, Pearl, Red, and Black.

“Sustainability is the core of our business, and as a leader in the space we’ve worked tirelessly to pioneer the first non-GMO stand-up pouch made with compostable materials that will truly revolutionize the food industry,” says Mathieu Senard, co-founder and co-CEO of Alter Eco, who responds to our questions about the compostable stand-up pouch structure, vendors and challenges of this innovative packaging introduction.

Please describe the before and after packaging.

Senard: Our previous packaging was a mixed-material film laminate (PET/ink/adhesive/LLDPE) stand-up pouch. Like all stand-up pouches with this similar structure, they were not recyclable so eventually would end up in landfills. Prior to our development of this new stand-up pouch made with compostable materials there was really no better alternative to the plastic, unrecyclable format. Approximately 17 billion plastic pouches were made in 2013 and not one of them was recyclable or compostable. In the United States alone, 30 million tons of plastic is generated annually and only 7% is recycled.

We reduced the size of the stand-up pouch from 14 and 16oz pouches to a 12oz stand-up pouch. The decision to decrease the size was made in order to offer more competitive pricing in a category where prices have increased in the recent years. Consumers clearly prefer the stand-up pouch format and now Alter Eco is offering a stand-up pouch you can feel good about.

What’s the specific stand-up pouch structure?

Senard: Our new “Gone4Good” stand-up pouch is made from Innovia’s NatureFlex laminated to a Novamont Mater-Bi product. The NatureFlex is made from Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified birch and eucalyptus wood pulp, and the Mater-bi is made from non-GMO corn starch. The stand-up pouch is printed with certified commercially compostable non-toxic ink. We’re proud to be able to offer the first-ever, renewable, non-GMO and plant-based stand-up pouch available nationwide. In our own trials, we have found that it disintegrates in about 3 to 6 months.


Why was this structure and these vendors selected?

Senard: Both Innovia Films and Novamont have a strong commitment to making environmentally friendly packaging materials that is backed by years of research as well as certifications. Not only do these suppliers support sustainability, but they responsibly source their materials and guarantee quality performance and safety. These core values align with our vision to bring full-circle sustainability to life throughout our all of our products. In order to do this, creating a better stand-up pouch package was an initiative we knew had to be done. This good-for-the planet innovation is extremely important to us as a brand. We feel it will pave the way for other companies to follow and enable consumers to eliminate the massive amount of waste currently being produced by standard plastic stand-up pouches.

Can the stand-up pouch converter be credited?

Senard: We worked closely with our printer,  converter, and laminator partner Associated Labels and Packaging in Coquitlam, BC, Canada, via our manufacturing partner Elk Designs in Los Angeles, CA. Their openness, drive and belief in the project was key in how we were able to work through the inevitable challenges in working with these new materials.

Were any packaging performance aspects reduced with the change?

Senard: As far as production, the stand-up pouch performs similarly as a standard PE stand-up pouch during printing, converting, laminating and filling. There was definitely a learning curve with the lamination process using various materials and some adjustments had to be made on the equipment. We tested the stand-up pouch extensively for shelf life impact as well as transportation tests. As the material inherently wants to break down, it’s important that it is not stored in high humidity environments, which will start the process of disintegration. Our supply chain will need to be managed a bit more closely than usual to ensure that both temperature and humidity are kept consistently low. A grocery store environment is the sweet spot of both these measurements.

How is the sustainability messaged on the pouches?

Senard: We feature the compostable benefit at the bottom of the pouch, highlighting our new tagline for our compostable packaging movement, “Gone4Good,” which perfectly communicates what we intended this pouch to do: a pouch made with compostable materials that will disintegrate and not add to the estimated 17 billion pouches made in 2013 that will end up as waste in our landfills. We are excited to highlight this new packaging, and will continue to feature our dedication to full-circle sustainability.

In addition, the stand-up pouches display our promise of “organically grown, fairly traded and hand-cultivated,” and highlights our promise to the farmers we work with on the back of the packaging. Each of our products is crafted to not only taste delicious, but to have a positive impact on the environment as well as the farmers who help cultivate and produce our products.


Is any compostable certification information printed on the pouches?

Senard: Our own information appears on the stand-up pouch front as seen above, though we plan to add our compostable certification, which is in process now, to the packaging within a year.

Who is your typical consumer?

Senard: Our classic consumer is passionate about the environment, the food they put in their bodies and feed their families, as well as the impact their purchasing decisions have on the world socially and environmentally. All Alter Eco foods are produced with this consumer in mind, based on the concept of full-circle sustainability to make a positive impact on people and the planet in every bite. As a commitment to this promise, all our delicious chocolate bars and truffles, Royal quinoa, heirloom rice and unrefined sugar are all USDA Certified Organic, Fair Trade Certified, Carbon Neutral Certified, Non-GMO Project Verified and Certified Gluten-Free. Consumers are increasingly seeking more from their food, as knowledge and education about commercial food systems and how they affect local communities and eco-systems continues to spread. We’re grateful to deliver foods for this globally conscious community of shoppers, who realize there is power in numbers and together we have the ability to spark positive change not only in our own homes, but around the world.

How strongly will this new stand-up compostable pouch resonate with those consumers?

Senard: When we announced our truffle wrappers made from compostable materials in 2013 the response was overwhelming positive, and so far our Gone4Good packaging has had a similar response. Once people understand that the pouches on grocery store shelves everywhere are not recyclable and end up in landfills, they realize the problem and want to be part of the solution.  Plastic packaging makes up more than one sixth of the waste in U.S. landfills, and many of our consumers are passionate about supporting a shift in this reality toward a more sustainable future.

What was the biggest challenge in the switch? 

Senard: One of our biggest challenges was finding the right converter (Associated Labels and Packaging) and supplier partners who were aligned with our vision, and who were willing to take risks with us. We needed to make sure we ended up with a package that printed and looked as good as our current pouch, performed as well in distribution, and of course protected the product. We had a goal of making sure all inputs had compostable certifications, as well as the materials themselves being non-GMO and from sustainably managed forests. It was truly a reach and very much a gold standard goal.  Our partnership with Innovia Films and Novamont successfully helped us achieve our ground breaking goals.

What’s next? Are there plans to roll this packaging out to other products?

Senard: Yes – sustainability is the core of our business and our vision is to eventually accomplish compostable packaging across all product lines.


Associated Labels and Packaging has always been at the forefront of cutting edge technology. Our recent recognition further pushes our capabilities to unexplored areas of the industry. Our team of professionals will work with your company to ensure that we deliver the finest product. Please contact for any information or if you wish to propose collaborating on a project.

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The Truly Invisible Label

January 13, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-01-13 at 9.37.55 AM

UPM Raflatac’s VANISH™ range of clear PET films redefines how companies can maximize brand representation while boosting quality and performance to new levels. With a 0.92 mil film face stock, these thin, yet robust products are the perfect canvas for innovative imagery previously considered unattainable by creative designers.

The film’s dimensional stability, excellent ink reception and dispensing properties simultaneously allow manufacturers to embrace new productivity gains and realize film packaging material reductions throughout their processes.


VANISH™ labels are ideal for:

Unique, irregular pattern shapes and graphics

Transparent inks/metallic designs

End-of-life recycling – these labels do not negatively impact the aluminum recycling process


VANISH™ benefits

No-label look

Productivity gains

Alternative to screen printing

More cost-effective

Faster design changes

Use bottles for different brands and designs

Less working capital – less bottles stocked

Water resistance

Passes 48-hour ice bucket test

Lower investment costs in space and minimums of pre-printed bottles and cans

Additional graphics capabilities

Opacity levels

Raised texture


Glow in the dark/UV fluorescence


Capability to create separate batches, seasonal

or event brewing or expand flavor lines


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Admire Classic Art With Every Sip! Incredible Shrink Sleeve Design Receives Gold Pentaward

December 31, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-12-31 at 10.30.08 AMHeineken is a proud partner of the Rijksmuseum. The two have a shared history that goes back to the 19th century. To celebrate this partnership, Heineken asked dBOD to design the so-called ‘Amsterdam Originals shrink sleeve series’. Seven Heineken bottles have been transformed with unique classical shrink sleeve art design. Surprisingly showing images of world famous Rijksmuseum art pieces. If you put them together and turn them around the shrink sleeves beautifully show that iconic classics can still inspire new generations. “It’s a matter of daring to give it a fresh twist.”

At Associated Labels, we are committed to delivering innovative decorating and flexible packaging solutions that fit our customers and their products perfectly. That’s why we created our Flexible Packaging Division to handle the specialized requirements of specialty packaging and shrink sleeves; including offline lamination for all your laminating and slitting needs.

Please contact with any further questions

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“I’ve Got News for you BROTHER!” HULK HOGAN Overcome by Emotion With Announcement to Associated Employees

December 23, 2015


Associated Labels and Packaging wanted to show our appreciation to employees for all their hard work and dedication they provide day in, and day out. The Associated Gym is free to all employees 24/7, with Women’s Only time allocated to Wednesdays. The gym is located on the top floor of our building with large windows to gaze out of when getting your fit on. The space includes free weights, assistive weight devices, treadmills, exercise bikes, elliptical machines, stretching and abs area.

We have received a lot of positive feedback from Associated employees since we opened the gym. Some of the benefits we have seen first hand  include providing an area where employees can connect to each other outside the work environment, improved employee health, and increased happiness which directly strengthens our company culture.

There are also long term benefits of having healthier employees for our company as well. Regular exercise has been proven to increase alertness, energy and cognitive power which translates into increased productivity. Consequently it also reduces stress, anxiety and illness which can cause increase costs associated with sick days.


Here is an interesting article if you still need to be convinced why happy and healthy employees are so important to any company culture.

“First, health care expenditures at high-pressure companies are nearly 50% greater than at other organizations. The American Psychological Association estimates that more than $500 billion is siphoned off from the U.S. economy because of workplace stress, and 550 million workdays are lost each year due to stress on the job. Sixty percent to 80% of workplace accidents are attributed to stress, and it’s estimated that more than 80% of doctor visits are due to stress. Workplace stress has been linked to health problems ranging from metabolic syndrome to cardiovascular disease and mortality.”

Lastly, when we asked the Hulkster for some words of wisdom when working out, he gave us his life philosophy: “Train, say your prayers, eat your vitamins! Be true to yourself, true to your country, Be a real American!” We then reminded him that we are Brothers from the North!

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36,000lbs of Food Donated by Associated Staff Over 6 Years!

December 18, 2015


Associated Labels and Packaging President Shaun Ashworth, stood proud of his staff once again this year for contributing 10,500lbs or 11 pallets of food to SHARE Family & Community Services.

“What a year! I couldn’t be happier that Associated Staff helped feed those in need again this holiday season. We started with humble beginnings in 2010 with the 1,000lb challenge, and each year since then we have grown exponentially. Who knows next year might be the best ever! I am no stranger to meeting new challenges.”  ~ Shaun Ashworth, President.

According to SHARE, 10,000lbs feeds 750 families for a week (37% of which are children). SHARE services the Tri-Cities Area to individuals and families in need, regardless of source of income (working, receiving income assistance, pensions or employment insurance, no income). We encourage everyone to make a contribution to their local food bank this year, nothing makes people happier than giving to others.

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