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What You See Is What You Get

We’re always looking for ways to improve our customers’ experience when they order our labels. In the past, we’ve heard from a lot of people that they would like to see what their logo is going to look like on their asset tags before they order them. We were planning on making some improvements to that system, so we went ahead and incorporated a “design online” feature into the quoting process. What you see now is what you get.

We also added 2D barcodes as an option here – they were always available on custom asset tags, but now you can get them in our regular program. For no extra cost! And we added another print style to the process, as well.

Our online design option for asset tags defaults to the most popular choices for asset tags, but there are plenty of other choices than those. The short video below demonstrates adding, deleting, and selecting a different logo, and how that is displayed online, as well as the print styles, but leaves the other options “as is.”

Want more detail on the rest of the options? Here we go…

Style

possible asset tag styles

In Style, you have a choice of three different options. The standard option is a plain rectangle, in two different sizes. This is the most popular asset tag style. It has more options than the asset tracker, but fewer than the custom (where the sky is the limit).

The second style is what we call an asset tracker. This is a plain rectangle along with three small tags with the same serial number as the big tag. The main tag goes on the equipment, and the smaller trackers go on accessories. This is the tag we use in-house; our IT inventory manager tags the equipment and accessories, and generally also tags the packing list or receipt before she gives to our Accounting department, so they know what tag went on which purchase. It works well to keep all departments in the loop.

Then, of course, there are custom asset tags. Those are outside the scope of this post, as they really range the gamut, according to our customers’ needs for their given situation.

Design Templates

possible design layouts for standard asset tags

When you select a style, the design templates for that style appear in the online designer. For standard tags, there are 11 basic templates; for asset trackers, there are 8. These templates answer most of our customers’ needs. They include designs with text, logos, barcodes (linear and 2D), and serial numbering, in various configurations. To select one, simply click on it in the list. Note that the large tag at the top of the screen changes to reflect your choice.

More elements may become available, depending on your choice, as well. If you choose an option with a logo, a “logo” element will appear further down the page, so you can add the logo. If you choose one with barcoding, serial numbering, or text, those sections will also appear. These elements are linked under the big tag, and you can tell how far along in the process you are – the current section is highlighted in yellow.

Made your design choice?

Barcoding

If you selected a template with a linear or 2D barcode, that section will be next. In each case, there are two options available to you. Linear barcodes are in either Code 39 or Code 128, while 2D barcodes are available in QR or Data Matrix versions. Have questions about these options? There’s a link at the upper right of the section that will pop-up some answers for you. Just click on “View Symbology Info.” 

Numbering

Serial numbering is the next section, if you have selected a template with that option. Here you have two choices. The most common is sequential. You can start at any number you want, with prefixes and suffixes (up to 12 characters for the regular size, less for smaller ones). 

If you have slightly different sequential numbering – say for two or more locations, so you want one set starting with ATL 0001 and another with SEA 0001 – you can do that with our data merge option. For this option, you’ll need to provide a list in either Excel or text format. We’ll ask for that list at checkout, so your numbers will *not* be shown in the online design editor.

Materials

The next design online section gives you your choice of materials. Our regular asset tags are available in 7 different materials. More information is available via the “View Material Info” link at the top right of the section

Popular

The most common, and most affordable are the metalized silver polyester and the white polyester. These materials are good for asset tags that will be used exclusively indoors, in a typical office environment. You can add a laminate to provide some extra scratch protection, but if you need rough, tough labels, these are not the ones for you.

Security

Our next two options are security or tamper-evident labels. We have two kinds, security polyester (leaves a residue pattern) and vinyl destructible. 

Residue Pattern

The security polyester will separate when removed; the top layer retains the text and any graphics, while the bottom layer sticks tightly to the tagged item’s surface. This bottom layer shows a “Void” pattern in silver. If someone starts to lift the label, they can’t press it back down so that the two layers merge again – tampering will be evident whether they peel the entire label off or just lift a corner of it.

Destructible

Our vinyl destructible labels are fragile – once they’ve been placed on an object for 72 hours or so, when you try to pull them off, they come apart. It’s really hard to remove all the pieces, and you can’t put them back together, so it’s pretty obvious when someone has tried to remove a tag made from this material.

Heavy-Duty

Does you need asset tags that will be outdoors? Do they need to be flexible, durable, uv-resistant, able to stand up to salt spray or harsh chemicals? We have three materials to chose from here! Each has their own strengths:

  • LexSaver Plus resists heat, tearing, abrasion, and is great on LSE plastics or semi-oily metals; 7 years outdoors
  • Our flexible anodized aluminum foil can be used on curved surfaces; these are crazy-strong, rated for 20 years outdoors in all environments
  • Don’t need flexibility? The anodized metal tags are just as strong as the flexible version, with super-strong adhesive, high durability and uv-resistance, and rated for 20+ years outdoors.

Print Color & Style

There are two different styles for printing color. The most popular choice is the one where the header is a solid block of color and your text and logo appear in white (or black, if you choose yellow).

The other shows your logo and text in the color of your choice against the white or silver of the material. (This option is not available in yellow; there’s just not enough contrast.)

You have your choice of eleven different colors (reflex blue, process blue, green, dark green, gray, yellow, red, orange, burgundy, magenta, and black). Click on the one you want, and your design tag at the top will change to that color.

Logo!

Logo section of asset tag designer with details outlined

This, for me, is the fun part. If you have a logo in .jpg (.jpeg), .png, .gif, .tiff (.tif), or .bmp format, you can upload it and see it immediately in the design tag. Some logo shapes fit better in the space than others – rectangular logos may look best in most of the templates, for instance.

Be sure to hit the blue “Upload” button after you have selected your file and it has appeared in the Logo section. It appears under the image in that section. Once you do so, the logo will show up in the design online tag at the top.

If you don’t like the way one looks, you can delete it and upload another. Simple, uncomplicated designs will work best in your asset tags.

Text

If  you selected a template with text, you’ll now be asked to fill that in. There are three lines available to you; you don’t have to use all three if you don’t want to. For best readability, we recommend 10-12 characters (spaces included) per line. You can tweak the size of the text here, as well, if space allows.

Because this is “what you see if what you get” online design, be sure not to increase the size of the text past the viewable area. Line 1 is autofilled with “Property of” – that can be replaced with text of your choosing. Text entered in the fields will appear on the tag when you click out of the field.

Quantity

You can order any number of tags, starting with one. If you order fewer than 1000, you will receive your tags on sheets. If you order more than 1,000, you will receive your tags on rolls. Click in the quantity field and enter the number you want. When you hit the “Update Qty” button, the price for your order will appear on the right-hand side.

Buy Now or Save for Later?

If you’re ready to buy your asset tags now, you can hit the Continue button under the price and go to your shopping cart for checkout. If you want to run the designed tag past someone else, or just want to contemplate the idea for a bit, click the “Save Quote” button there. This freezes the price for 30 days. A pop-up will appear where you can fill in your email address, and that of anyone else you want to share this quote with. 

You can also check what estimated shipping costs will be. Note: We ship purchases over $50 for free, via UPS Ground, to US addresses. If you need your tags faster than that, or if you are outside the US, you can enter your country & postal code here to get shipping estimates.

When you click the “Save and Email My Quote” we will send you (and whoever else you’ve designated) an email containing a proof of the asset tag along with the quote details. You’ll also get a link that will bring you right back to the saved quote. You can go ahead with checking out then, or go back and make whatever modifications to your tags that you want.

It’s pretty easy – and fun to do.

Additional Resources:
2D or Not 2D – Do you want linear or 2D barcodes?
Asset Tag Best Practices

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