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Businesses all across the world have been constantly evolving and the constant changes in the business are changing the various business and manufacturing processes. Our manufacturing processes have been slowly shifting from the traditional means to modern ways. Whether it is the assembly line, packaging or transportation every process has made massive progress. And with this change, one thing that has also changed is the way a particular product is being recognized. From having mere logos on the finished products to using QR code hologram stickers, our manufacturing and logistics processes have come a long way.
These hologram stickers are getting increasingly popular nowadays. More and more organizations and brands are using hologram stickers on their products. There are many reasons why the brands are relying on the hologram stickers which we will discuss in the later sections. For now, you need to know that these hologram stickers are a part of almost everything that you look around. From the moment you wake up in the morning till the time you get to bed, you will come across many products with these designer type stickers on them. So, there is no denying the fact that the QR Code Hologram Stickers are used and visible in almost every product.
But why are these stickers used by the manufacturers? What’s the need and the purpose? In this piece, we will give you a comprehensive account of everything that you need to know about Hologram stickers.
Let’s begin with knowing a little more about them.
What are the Hologram Stickers?
QR Code Hologram Stickers are identification labels and stickers that are placed on products to set them apart from the other similar products in the market. The idea is to ensure that the brands are able to create a distinguishing appearance or a mark for their products so that it gets easy for the customers to distinguish between the brand’s products from other similar products in the market. So, simply put, hologram stickers are identification marks that are used by the companies and the brands to put on their products as a distinct identification of the company’s products.
Almost all major hologram companies and brands use hologram stickers on their products. So, you know that these are identification labels and stickers and stickers but what makes these stickers a sign or a mark of identification? To understand that, you would need to go a little deeper into the science of hologram stickers.
Hologram - Definition and Origin
Holograms are nothing but patterns that create an illusion of many images in them. These can be thought to be like small bits of photographs that are indestructible. This imaging technology creates a three-dimensional effect of the images that seem to overlap with one another. Hologram works on the principle of diffraction of light. It simply means that the light is reflected through multiple images in a hologram sticker to create that unique image effect.
Holograms are created by allowing beams of lights to interfere with each other in such a way that the entire result of the interference of these beams of light and the reflections created by them are recorded permanently on a photographic plate and then the small miniature versions or replicas of these photographic plates are then used as stickers and other hologram applications.
The photographic patterns and the image that is recorded presents a perfect record of how the light beams fell to reflect and create one image, then the other and then the other and so on. That is why you will find these holograms to create a three-dimensional effect when moved around or viewed from different angles.
Holograms were invented by a German physicist Mr. Dennis Gabor during his research on optical physics and were able to give this breakthrough holography technology to the world during the 1950s. His invention was quite ahead of his time as lasers which actually made the hologram technology practical came in the 1960s. So, this amazing invention was from an extremely talented inventor who thought ahead of his time and created holograms.
Why are Hologram Stickers used?
Until the 1980s the use of Holograms was considered to be a weird idea, perhaps because of the reason that the required technology was yet to come in that would enable its widespread usage. So it was a known technology but not used so widely. The turning point, however, came when the methods of printing these hologram stickers on metal films were discovered. Banknotes and other financial instruments use holograms on them. As we discussed earlier, hologram stickers and labels are in widespread use by the manufacturers of products as well.
They are used to distinguish the original products from the counterfeit products that may be circulating in the market. As such the companies want to make sure that the customer’s interests are protected and they are not sold a fake product in the pretext of an original one. The companies by introducing holograms for all its products is ensuring that the distributors, retailers and as well as the buyers know that they are buying the original products. But why do companies resort to using holograms?
In recent times, many instances of fake and duplicate products being sold as their original counterparts have come into the notice of businesses and renowned brands. Hence ensuring that the product that finally gets delivered to the end customer after negotiating all the long journeys that it traverses is extremely important. Companies are always skeptical of these products being misplaced, replaced or even lost in transit and so there has to be a mechanism to identify if the end product that is reaching the customer’s hands is an original product. And how is the company doing that? The company does that by using the QR Code Hologram Stickers on all their products.
These hologram stickers and labels are placed on all products and boxes as an added security measure and are a sign that the product is original. The hologram on these products contains information in the form of an image that can be scanned via an optical scanner. Since we are talking about hologram stickers, we will be focusing on them more in this article but we will touch the other applications of holograms in the later sections.
These hologram stickers that are being used can be made as per the company's requirement and can be of many types. We will cover the types of hologram stickers in the next section.
Types of Holograms
Now that we have covered the reasons as to why these hologram stickers are used it will be easier to understand the various types of hologram stickers that are usually available for companies and brands to use on their products. Now we will describe the hologram types on the basis of the image and the function as well as from the purpose perspective.
To begin with let’s list and describe the types of Holograms based on the science and the way they are made. There can be three main types of Holograms which are as follows:
1. Reflection Hologram
2. Transmission Hologram
3. Hybrid Hologram
Let’s describe all the three in detail.
1. Reflection Hologram
In this Hologram, a real 3D image is seen near the surface of the hologram. The hologram gets illuminated by a spot of white light when held at a given angle. The resultant image that is formed comprises of the light that was reflected by the hologram. These holograms are now also available in color and the images that are formed cannot be distinguished optically when compared with original objects. So, they give a real object-like view. These are reflection holograms and tend to reflect the light from the object like if a mirror is placed in front of them the mirror’s image reflects the white light and say if there is a diamond in front of the hologram, the holographic image formed by the diamond will sparkle.
The most common application of these holograms is the eagle holograms on VISA cards. Though these holograms are viewed with the help of reflected light, these holograms are but transmission holograms with an aluminum layer at the back to form the mirror.
2. Transmission Holograms
The transmission hologram is usually viewed with the help of the same kind of laser light that was used to record the hologram. The laser light is made to fall from behind the surface of the hologram and the image is made to transmit on the viewer’s side. The virtual image thus formed can be very deep and sharp. A small transmission hologram has the capacity to recreate an entire scene or an image that may have been recorded on it. The same will be true if many pieces of the hologram were made, The whole image can still be seen from all the pieces. It sounds like some optical magic but this magic is now possible thanks to the holographic technology.
3. Hybrid Holograms
When the Reflection and Transmission Holograms combine a third type of hologram which is also known as the Hybrid hologram. These Hybrid Holograms are further classified into the following types which are:
For the production of holograms on a large scale for applications such as authenticity and security, a two-dimensional pattern of interference is impressed into thin sheets of plastic foils. The original hologram is recorded on a photoresist which is a kind of photosensitive material. When the development process begins a layering of nickel is applied to the hologram and when it is peeled off a metallic shim appears on it. This shim can be made more prominent with additional layers of nickel. This shim is then placed on a roller and under high pressure and temperature the shim embosses or presses the hologram to form a roll. Embossed holograms are usually a combination of many hologram types.
A hologram which can be either reflection or transmission hologram can be obtained by integrating a series of frames of photographs of an object. This can be a living person, computer graphics, an outdoor scene, or even an X-Ray image. The object is captured by a camera frame by frame thereby recording all the views. All these views are then shown on LCD screens which are then illuminated by laser lights, this resultant beam is then used to record the holograms. The hologram is recorded frame by frame on a holographic strip or holo plate which is the same as a film strip. Nowadays the still cameras are replaced by video cameras to produce these kinds of holograms. All that is needed is a little bit of manipulation of the recorded frames through computer software.
With every little change in the viewing angle, one can observe different images on the same hologram. These multichannel holograms can be used to create holograms that need to store multiple levels of information in the same hologram. Though the use of this technique is still a subject of study and research, this has a huge potential when it comes to storing humongous information all in one hologram.
The Science of Holograms is now no more a secret. The steps and the prerequisites are already known and as such, it is no more difficult to compute a process to create holograms by using computers. It is now known that the three elements that are required in Holography are - the source of light, the hologram and of course the image. And applying a little bit of maths here if any two of the three are available, it is not difficult to find out the third one. For instance, if we know that we can have a light source with a certain wavelength, and we have a simple holographic (double-slit) system, the diffraction pattern can be easily determined. As such, we can create the patterns we like. Once we know the wavelength of light that we would use, the hologram can then be easily designed by a computer.
And as such CGH or computer-generated holography is getting increasingly popular for the very simple reason that it makes it easy to record and mix holograms.
Now that covers pretty much every type of hologram from the scientific perspective.
Let us now list the type of Hologram Stickers on the basis of their applications that are based on one or more of the above types.
1. Hologram Stickers
2. Security Hologram Stamping Label
3. Promotional Holograms
4. Demonstration Holograms
5. Anti-Counterfeit Labels
6. Custom Made Labels
1. Hologram Stickers
These holograms labels have holograms printed on them for security purposes. The holograms that are made for security labels are made out of unique patterns and are extremely difficult to recreate because all such holograms are replicated from a master hologram and the process involves a highly specialized and advanced technology which is not something anybody could afford. These holograms based on the level of security that is being embossed or incorporated in them. The list of these classifications are as follows:
3D/2D Holograms, Flip Flop, Dot Matrix, Electron-beam holograms, Guilloche pattern, concealed images, Micro or Nano Texts, Kinetic images, CLR image, True Color, Computer Synthesized images, invisible UV holograms, barcode/numbering/QR code hologram.
The products that are available under these types of stickers include 3D Holograms, Scratch Holograms, Roll Holograms, Transparent Holograms, Void Holograms, Numbering Holograms, Hologram Stamping foil, Aluminum Holograms, Color Holograms, Barcode Holograms, etc.
2. Security Stamping Labels
This is, in fact, a new kind of technology that combines the 3D Hologram technology along with the adhesive label. It is also one of the most innovative printing processes apart from the hologram stamping and CMYK printing. As such this combines the advantages of both diversifying the Hologram Stamping Label technology. This also ensures that the label surface looks more exquisite with security all intact. This technology also is safe when it comes to environment protection and anti-counterfeiting, all due to the effects of this diversified technology.
Such Stamping labels include Positioned Stamping and Random Stamping labels.
3. Promotional Holograms
Now, these types of holograms combine one or more holography techniques that we have described above to pertain to the promotional needs of the users. This involves the printing of full-color holograms on a reflective, metallic background that provides the best image quality and an exquisite look. These holograms are further laminated for added durability and these could be die-cut for various types of uses. These holograms are perfect for marketing as well as for placing on the products as and when required.
These holograms are glossy and are waterproof and can be printed on rolls, sheets or other materials individually.
4. Demonstration Holograms
Holograms are now also being increasingly used in schools and higher educational institutions to demonstrate the behavior of light in terms of interference and diffraction. By making use of the holographic techniques we discussed earlier these demonstration holograms are made keeping in mind the lessons the students might need to learn. From a color animated hologram to a rainbow or even a deep scene hologram there is one for everything teachers need to demonstrate to their students.
5. Anti-Counterfeit Holograms
This is one of the major reasons why this technology is being used on products. The purpose is to ensure that the product that the end customer receives is an original product and it is used as an anti-counterfeit measure. For instance, the QR code hologram sticker placed on a product signifies the unique company logo and other details in the sticker that establishes that the product is an original product. In other applications, the same concept is used in currency notes and financial instruments to curb the use and circulation of fake currency.
Now that we have covered all the basic types of holograms and hologram stickers let explicitly list and state the benefits and applications of the holograms
Hologram Stickers - Usage & Applications
In this article in various instances, we have covered why the hologram technology and hologram stickers are used however their use is not limited to the uses that we pointed out earlier. Let’s cover some of them in detail.
The five reasons/uses/applications why the companies choose hologram stickers are as follows:
1. Makes the products tamper-proof and secure
There are certain holograms that can be designed specially to highlight and indicate if there have been any attempts of pilferage or tampering of the packaging of the product. That makes these stickers as ideal seals of security on products and assets. Almost all industries and domains make use of these stickers to ensure their product reaches safely to the end customer. This is widely in use by the e-commerce segment so that the customer with the security seal intact gets the product that is not tampered with.
2. Helps businesses to protect their brands
Much high profile and renowned brands are always at risk of being counterfeited and there can be unscrupulous businessmen who may be selling their products under a big brand name. As such, companies and brands resort to the use of unique hologram stickers on their products that are extremely difficult for anyone else to replicate, as such if someone is selling a product with the same name but is missing the hologram, the customer knows that it is a fake product. Apart from these usual holograms, specially tagged foils can be added to the holograms for additional security and which can be identified only through a special reader.
3. Adds value to the packaging
Hologram stickers make the products that they are put on look extremely good and that makes them stand out in the market sets them apart from the rest of the crowd. So, in a way, it adds to the appeal of the product. Besides, these hologram stickers can be easily added or placed on any type of packaging be it boxes, bags, glass bottles, handbags, etc that add that shiny shimmery look to the ordinary product.
4. Enhances the brand
Most of the renowned brands worldwide always put a hologram on their products. That is like a sign of trustworthiness and excellence. Companies can make use of this general perception in building brand value for their own products and services. As such, more and more companies are increasingly starting the use of holograms on their products to enhance their brand perception and visibility in the eyes of the customers.
5. Used for identification and Authentication
This is another major reason why the hologram stickers are so widely used. These hologram stickers are used in a wide number of applications where identification and further authentication is required. They are also used in a wide number of applications such as ID cards, credit cards, season passes and certain other documents that need to store digital information. The only reason being that these holograms cannot be replicated and chances of any fraud are minimized with its use. But when it comes to brand identification additional protection involving tagged foils can definitely be used.
Some Advantages of Using Hologram Stickers
Having covered all the aspects of the Hologram Stickers, it would be incomplete without listing some of the advantages of using Hologram Stickers. Let’s quickly list some advantages:
It is one of the most cost-effective ways of product and asset tagging and identification.
It is one of the most versatile tagging mechanisms that an organization can use. These stickers can be placed on almost anything with ease.
It has the ability to store a huge amount of data.
It offers all kinds of features and views in one hologram.
The complex patterns provide the security that every brand or the company would need.
Multiple images can be recorded and used with hologram stickers which means the name the logo, as well as something else the company wants to show, can be made available.
It does not need any special type of glasses or viewing equipment to view holograms.
The images in a hologram sticker do not need a projection screen to be viewed.
It is almost impossible to forge and replicate a hologram sticker and it is equally difficult to modify or alter an existing one.
Summary & Conclusion
In this article, we thus covered almost all the aspects that revolve around the holography technology and the use of hologram stickers.
We discovered how this amazing technology can be used in the form of these little hologram stickers to create a seamless and safe business sales environment where original products reach the intended recipients and counterfeiting is minimized. We saw how hologram stickers are used as product identification and tagging mechanisms for products and assets. Apart from these, holographic technology is constantly evolving and the future with this technology is full of endless possibilities. And to answer the question – Yes, a QR code hologram sticker is extremely easy to use in various applications.
Organizations and brands realize this and they are thereby using holograms in all forms in ensuring their business objectives - big or small are met with ease.
So, next time when you find a hologram sticker around you, you would know that shiny little piece of plastic is not an ordinary thing. It is but an extraordinary spectacle of science in your hands making your life easy.