Spring Refresh: Ways to Update Your IML Design

March 16, 2023 • Posted in Events

As the saying goes, “the only thing constant in life is change.” And while change can be challenging or time-consuming — change can also be a good thing!

Giving your product an updated look and feel can have an abundance of benefits: improved functionality, better performance, and competitive edge. Some of the customers we’ve worked with for years (and even decades) update their in-mold-labeling (IML) parts and products regularly as new technology arrives and design trends shift.

So change can also be an opportunity, and it’s something we’re familiar with facilitating. If you’re considering updating your product’s color, text, icons, logo, patterns — or even it’s functionality and tactile feel — there are lots of ways to do so with IML without breaking the bank.


In-mold labeling essentially consists of two processes: printing and injection molding. There are other important steps that happen before, in between, and after, but it’s really the printing and molding that make a product IML. So while changing an IML part’s tooling can be expensive and time-consuming, updating stencils and designs that can be applied to an existing molded part is relatively quick and cost effective.

Read on to learn about some of the easier ways you can elevate your IML part with a spring refresh.

washing machine iml part

Ways to Refresh Your IML Parts


Do you have a new slogan, or instructions for operation? Or perhaps accessibility is your focus and you’d like to make your text larger, or change the font? Updating a part’s text is absolutely possible and simple — and lots of brands do it when they’re ready to enter new international markets (with different languages, for example). If text is becoming less needed for your part, we can replace text with icons, too.


Color is another easy upgrade. As appliances become more and more visible in our homes (think about beautiful laundry rooms and kitchens with stand-out washing machines and dishwashers), color is becoming more important for staying on trend, or even driving new trends. Bold reds, vibrant blues, piano blacks — all can be applied to an existing IML part to give it an aesthetic refresh. And think about gradients, too. A white or black model can go above and beyond with a fade into silver or other popping colors.

washing machine control panel iml


Along the same lines as color are patterns. Using fine-expression-silk-printing (FESP) we are able to add textured patterns like brushed lines, wood grain, marble, stone, leather, checkerboard…the list goes on. You can mimic the look of other high-end materials, while using the same IML tooling from a previous part.

wood grain iml part
wood grain in mold labeling part


From high gloss to flat matte finishes, you can change the entire effect of a part with an updated finish. A new finish can help you meet design trends (like matte black kitchen appliances to give a warm slate look), or functionality needs (like glossy surfaces to make cleaning and wiping easier).

Logos & Designs

Most companies with longevity eventually find themselves needing a branding refresh. When your logo, colors, or fonts are ready for an upgrade, the process is fairly simple on the IML end. We can create a new stencil for printing, and then use the same tooling as your previous parts. Voila! You’ll have a rebranded part without having to reinvent the wheel, so to speak.


Sometimes new icons need to be added for safety, clarity or aesthetics. Whatever the case, printing new icons is an easy way to refresh and streamline how your product interacts with its users. Think about it…if every button on your car’s dashboard had text, it would be a cluttered and confusing mess! Simplifying with icons is easy to do and lets the rest of the design shine through.

Dead Front

We specialize in dead front displays, which can give a modern look and offer the ability to hide icons or functions when turned off. Dead front printing can eliminate distractions, help avoid wear and tear in high-touch environments, and give your part a dramatic change.

dead front display

Limited Editions

Instead of drastically changing a part, you can duplicate and tweak it slightly for upgraded models or limited editions. Imagine offering one design for one set of customers, and another for a different set — all with the same part, but with different colors, text or icons. Limited editions can honor special occasions (like company anniversaries), and add value to a product with a limited quantity available. Your design team will love the creative options, and your customers will appreciate your versatility.

limited edition iml part

Start Your Refresh with Sanwa

Our design and technical teams have years of experience providing on-trend refreshes and new editions of IML parts. We can tell you what’s possible with your specific part, and then let your imagination run wild. Please feel free to contact us if you have questions about upgrading your product’s color, design, pattern, or feel — and we can give you information about pricing and timelines so you can plan your refresh for this spring or any time of the year!