Archive for July, 2010

CD Labels with OpenOffice

July 30, 2010

One of the many things that OpenOffice is just great for is making layouts for CD Labels. Of course it’s great for address and shipping labels and many other things, but it’s also easy to set up a CD or DVD label in OpenOffice Draw. Keep in mind, you can’t open this document in Microsoft Word. But if you’re in OpenOffice, you can open a Microsoft Word Document. Huh. Eh, what does Microsoft care about OpenOffice. Microsoft Word is a monster. It used to be that WordPerfect had a big market share. It was actually a better program in DOS. Remember DOS? Sweet and simple. And a lot of people hated it. Remember WordPerfect 5.1? At least the WordPerfect 6 screen was a little bit more helpful:

DOS 6.0 Bluescreen

Now that was a good program. Fast sleek feature rich. Those were the days.

These day’s there are so many formats in which you can create a CD or DVD. You can create a regular audio CD, or you can create a Jukebox CD. With the Jukebox CD, you can fit a lot more songs on the CD. Just select a bunch of mp3’s and try it, it’s great.

So I put a bunch of songs on the CD, and made up a nice CD template for our ML-7850 CD label.

ML-7850 Template, CD DVD Template

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Address Label Templates

July 29, 2010

We’re on a mission. A mission to create a large collection of address templates and we’ve got a long way to go. We already have blank address label and shipping label templates located here. But maybe you need more than blank templates.
I think labels that have a watermark, or at least have a background that is a different from the font color are the only kind you can print on. If you have solid colors on a label, you’re going to use a lot of ink, and you’re not going to be able to see the address when it prints. So check out some of our ML-3000 templates:
ML-3000 Templates

Return address labels return with more of the Stick Family

July 28, 2010

I’ve been busy with the sharpie and the scanner this morning. The boss is lookin at me like I’m wasting time. Wasting time? Why I never waste my time. Since when is blog posting wasting time? Ok, sometimes it’s a waste of time, but I’m being productive and low maintenance by using open source software to produce this blog.
Maybe someone will like my stick family. The Sticks are great for personalized return address labels. Stick em in the background like a watermark behind your return address.
I scanned my sketch directly from the Gimp:

Young Stick Family

Then with some cutting from Gimp and pasting into Inkscape and saving as a png graphics and inserting it into our ml-8100 return address label, we get:

Young Stick Family

Address Labels – Treat them right

July 27, 2010

Things can go fugazi if you don’t treat your address labels right. I don’t mean you should talk sweetly to them and buy them candy and jewelry and take them out on expensive dates. You need to keep them out of the sun. Really, many times you don’t realize it, but labels can come in contact with direct sunlight sometimes when you leave them out on your desk, and your desk happens to be near a window. If you wouldn’t leave your beer in direct sunlight, why would you do that to your labels. Even worse, don’t forget to close your windows (if you’re fortunate enough to have opening windows at work), when you go home for the day. One winter, our building got a little too warm, so we opened up some windows. Somebody, ahem, forgot to close a few windows. That night there was a big snow storm. When we came in that morning, there was a snow drift on a couple of desks. You don’t know how weird it is to see a snow drift in the office. Needless to say, snow is not good for labels. Any kind of moisture will affect label performance adversely. So keep your address labels, shipping labels and really, any kind of labels in a nice dark storage closet, not to humid, not to dry. Your labels will last longer, look better, and you’ll be happier.

Make your own Custom Address Label

July 26, 2010

I touched on this topic a few posts ago, but it merits repeating. If you’ve got an artistic itch you want or need to scratch, and you have a little left over space on a full sheet label, half sheet label, a quarter sheet label or even an ML-0600 label, then get yourself an x-acto knife. It doesn’t take much talent, just a steady hand, the right amount of pressure, a pair of good eyes and a sharp x-acto knife. Dull x-acto knives will kill this idea in a heartbeat. You’ll be tearing the label instead of cutting it, and then you’ll be tearing your hair out.
Choose a piece of artwork according to your skill level, and according to the amount of time you want to spend cutting out your artwork. I’m choosing one of my favorite animals, the whale. I have a collection of whale cups at home. I let people know that I have a collections of whale cups, so when people go on vacation they send me all kinds of cups and mugs that have either depictions of whales, or are in the shape of a whale. The tail is usually the handle on the cup. I’ll be using one of my mugs as a starting point for my label artwork.
Using the Gimp and Inkscape, my final product is an outline of a killer whale. I stuck it on a full sheet label.

Whale label on a full sheet label

And here’s the final product on an envelope.:

Whale label on an Envelope

Address Labels and Lawfirm Names

July 20, 2010

If you’ve ever had to do mass mailings like I have, you come across all kinds of data input lists. Some lists are nice and neat. But there are others that require either some creative editing or using an address label that accommodates a really long address or name line. While Dewey Cheatem & Howe is not such a long name, there are some law firms whose names can get a little out of hand, and some can be really funny. The Wall Street Journal called Ziffren, Brittenham, Branca, Fischer, Gilbert-Lurie, Stiffelman, Cook, Johnson, Lande & Wolf the longest law firm name ever.

The ML-2000 does a good job of being long enough to contain some of the crazy long firm names that these firms can think up.

ML-2000, same layout as Avery  5162

Half Sheet Label Printing tip

July 19, 2010

There are times when you’re printing half sheet labels when you want to print only half the sheet and use the other half at a later time. One example of this is when you’re printing a Fedex Ground or Fedex Express shipping label. Normally, the Fedex shipping label will be printed on the top half of the page, and the instructions are printed on the bottom half of the page. These days, it’s a necessity to save everywhere you can. There is a way to print only the top half of the label, and not print the bottom half instructions. What you need to do is select the Shipping label. To do that, you need to put the mouse pointer just to the right of the Shipping label graphic and click and drag to the left so that the label looks like this in your browser:

Fedex Shipping label to print ont Half Sheet shipping label

After that’s done, type CTRL-p to get the Print dialog box. Once you see that box, check the checkbox named “Selection”. That will only allow what is selected to print, saving the bottom half of the page, so you can flip it, and use the bottom blank half for your next label.
You’re welcome. 🙂

Here’s a neat address label design

July 16, 2010

One of my favorite sites is John Lemasney’s 365sketches.org website. He shows what’s possible in the wonderful world of Inkscape. While Inkscape is not Illustrator, it still is very powerful, and free.
So I’m thinking, what address label would have space for an address and also possibly need some nice borders to make it look nicer. I picked the ML-1000. It’s a 4″ X 2″ label that’s got the space that begs for som artwork. It’s actually a pretty popular address label. Some folks try to save money by packing their address information onto a smaller label like the ML-3000, because you get 30 labels on the page for the ML-3000. I guess when you get 3 times the number of labels, that’s nothing to sneeze at cost-wise. Still sometimes there is a need for artsiness. (I don’t think that’s a word).

Here’s a little sumpn sumpn I whipped up in Inkscape, and plopped in to Microsoft Word 2007.

ML-1000 with flourishes, same layout as Avery 5163

With the Full Sheet Label,

July 15, 2010

If you’re handy with a knife, you can cut your own labels from our full sheet labels, the ML-0100. Seriously. This can be fun if you’ve got a steady hand and are artistic, and you assemble some simple tools, you can cut out your own labels. I just picked up a full set of knockoff x-acto knives at the 99 cent store. The weird thing is, they cost $1.29. What’s up with that? Nothing at the 99 cent store cost 99 cents anymore. They’re gonna have to come up with a catchy name that represents the cost of the products. While all of the items there are cheap, and 99.99% of the products are made in China, I’ve already ruled out the name Cheapy China, just because it doesn’t sound right, it’s not gonna attract customers.
Many of our customers also use the full sheet labels in Medical offices for Transcription labels.

ML-0100, Full Sheet Label, Transcription Label, same as Avery 5165

Here’s a label I designed for the full sheet label. It’s a custom address label in the shape of a scroll. If you have good vision, and a good x-acto knifre, you should be able to do a knock up job. If you don’t have good vision, get a magnifying glass, or magnifying glasses, that should help you cut out the pattern.

ML-0100, Full Sheet Label, Transcription Label, same as Avery 5165

Ok, now here’s the label after I cut it out and put it on an envelope. It’s taken on my webcam. Wow, I have to get a new webcam.

Scroll label on envelope

I feel like the next door neighbor whose full face you never saw on the old sitcom “home improvement“.

Return Address Labels and artwork

July 14, 2010

Return Address labels are usually a necessity. That is unless you’re the unabomber, or someone like that who really would prefer not to have fingerprints, or any other identifying marks , and would generally like to remain anonymous. If you’re printing out a whole page it can be tedious to create a whole page of labels. So you need to have a little patience and learn how graphics can be inserted into Microsoft Word. I use Microsoft Word 2007, because it seems to be pretty popular. I also use OpenOffice, but it’s not as popular even though it’s popularity is growing.

To get started, you want to download our ML-8100 template here:

ML-8100 template, same as avery 5167
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Then you need to get some graphics. Here are some Family Icons that are pretty popular these days. It’s the Stick Family. We’ve got Mr Stick, Mrs Stick, Brother Stick, Sister Stick, Little Sticks, Dog Stick, Cat Stick and the most delicious of all, Fish Stick! They’re in SVG format, so download Inkscape for free so you can manipulate them and export them to different graphics formats.

Stick Family
You can mix and match which members of the Sticks family represent your family. Lighten the image up and make it like a watermark, or change the colors or whatever. Here’s my family:


ML-8100 retrun address with stick family background