– Working in the Label Industry –
Young talent experience testimonials Technical background of Label Design and Label Engineering Interviews with Industry Leaders
#LABELicious – Interview with Christof Naier, Head of Business Unit Labels at Gallus
“In visual communication our business offers an almost unbeatable range of creative applications” summaries the energy and ambition that Christof Naiver, head of Business Unit Labels at Gallus in Switzerland radiates throughout the interview that #LABElicious had the pleasure to have with him.
What is in your view the biggest attraction of working in the label industry (in its broadest definition) for the youngest generation of talents (roughly 18 – 25 year old)?
On the one hand, the design and packaging industry offers young designers the opportunity to work for international brands, which is a challenge by itself – and on the other hand, in visual communication our business offers an almost unbeatable range of creative applications. Considering what a label needs to be state of the art, a simple 4-color print is no longer sufficient any more for this kind of packaging. We work with additional spot colors, with haptic elements, such as relief printing or embossing, or with gold, silver and metallic elements, with integrated RFID chips,
Labels as Onpack promotion deliver advertising messages in the smallest space and can be expanded from a leaflet to a mini-brochure. Or for special effects, luminous or thermosensitive inks are used in the dark, for example, which are visible within a limited temperature range. There are hardly any limits to the variety.
To which other industries and organization types would you compare ‘working in the label industry’?
That industry is just one step away. It’s the packaging industry at large. The field of packaging and branding is so diverse, so exciting, and so innovative and completely similar to the label industry. Our imagination is actually the only boundary.
What do you believe is the biggest challenge for businesses, active in the label industry, to create the most inspirational, motivational and ‘fitting’ work environment for future talents?
Our industry has to succeed in communicating to these young talents the technical possibilities which Narrwoweb printing already offers today. That all creative means and possibilities in relation to the label to be designed are exhausted. When we visit young design students, we experience again and again that they are unaware of the creative possibilities offered by the various printing, embellishing and finishing technologies with Gallus presses. We always see astonishment and aha effects here. Additional there are the possibilities of digital printing offers to customize each label with variable data. The design freedom is now set almost no limits.
Are there any specific initiatives within your organization to attract next generation talents?
In the past, unfortunately, the design academies were only sporadically interested in how creative ideas in label industry can be technically implemented today. As we have noted, the awareness of labels in the design schools is still not very high. It is very rare for the young students to be asked to design a label, but much more often these students get the task to design for example a poster. But if you compare, how many posters are glued these days in the public and on the other hand, the number of labels which stick on products everywhere in retail, then a label gets a completely different meaning in the design sector.
In the past, we had worked together with young talents and also with design schools and made there the design of a label as a task for the semester. Having trained the students as to what design options are available to them in this industry, we were thrilled with the results. In this way, we try to pass on our knowledge with simple means to these talents. However, this happens on a very regional level, so now we rely heavily on the Labelicious initiative in order to find the necessary appeal in Europe as well.
One last question in one word: How would you describe ‘working in the label industry’ to your 21 year old self in one single word?