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Business Opportunities

Special Effects in Printing: Part 2

In this second feature focusing on embellishments and special effects, Genevieve Lewis finds out how print-service-providers can take advantage of the changing seasons

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Can the changing seasons change demand for special effects in print?

Trick or treat?

As the more festive months roll around – hello October – seasonal demand can change the products that customers seek. Think Halloween garlands, masks and party paraphernalia. Think Christmas cards, sparkly packaging on shelves, decorations for homes. A wonderland of print opportunities comes alive during the autumnal and winter months.

Christmas can drive opportunities in special effects finishing with applications such as packaging


Before diving headfirst into the white depths of winter, let’s focus on the spectacularly spooky month of October. Although, this year, it might be spooky for other reasons…

During Halloween, you think of glow in the dark items, oranges and gory reds. Well, Heidelberg’s Versafire EV has the ability to capitalise on the traditional CMYK colours but can also use a fifth unit to print neon yellow, neon pink and security red. Print providers can capitalise on creating posters for Halloween-themed events, as well as producing menus and information to be dotted around venues or clubs.

O Factoid: The word ‘Halloween’ or ‘Hallowe’en’ means ‘Saints Evening’ and can date back to 1745. It comes from a Scottish term for ‘All Hallows Eve’.  O


“The Versafire EV digital press supplied by Heidelberg UK is a five-colour press. That means that in addition to the standard process colours, CMYK, it can use the fifth unit to print clear, white, neon yellow, neon pink or security red. This has proved a popular option for printers with design arms of design customers looking for a standout finish,” says Chris Matthews, digital equipment business manager for Heidelberg UK.

“Heidelberg has also been working with third-party supplier Color-Logic, a software provider that can plug directly into the Adobe CS suite of software and use a fifth colour channel to create special effects using the colour toners on the EV,” Matthews continues.

These added benefits can also help for creating banners for parties that happen at this time of year, as the Versafire EV can print on stocks of up to 360gsm with a resolution of 4,800 x 2,400dpi. “It can produce banners up to 700m duplex or 1,260mm simplex,” adds Matthews.

Around the clock

Intelligent Finishing Solutions (IFS) supplies Foliant’s range of equipment, and Bryan Godwyn, managing director of the firm, says that while changing seasons can affect demand, this equipment can be utilised across the 365 days. “It can be used all year round – obviously the festive season can result in more demand for value-added, enhanced print. However, the affordability of this solution means creative print can be cost effectively ordered all year round.”

The Foliant range is an affordable solution and means that printers can meet demand when it arises


He continues: “As they are so easy to retrofit to existing Foliant systems, operations can readily expand their value-added print capabilities to their range of services. The affordability allows printers to be highly flexible and meet demand as and when it arises.”

More specifically, Godwyn focuses on the retrofittable multi-functional imprinting unit, which can transform the Vega, Mercury and Taurus BS and B2 laminators. “It makes foiling and spot varnish affordable for short-run and personalised print by applying foil or varnish to a pre-printed black toner.

“The sheet can be then be reprinted mono or four-colour. It runs a wide range of colours including gold, silver, red and green and a clear gloss for spot varnish. Foil can be added to un-laminated paper, or, for a more luxury feel and look, it can be added to laminate film such as ‘soft touch’ or ‘anti-scuff matt’.”

After investing in the equipment available, what applications can printer providers take advantage of in not only the colder months, but at every other time of the year? Godwyn says: “The process transforms business cards, luxury packaging, letterheads, stationery, wedding stationery, high-end print, book covers, greeting cards and security printing.”

Godwyn highlights IFS customer Colourpoint, with its recent investment in a Foliant Taurus with a Foliant Multi-functional Inprinting Unit for foiling.

Director of Colourpoint, Karl Hnat, explains: “We were regularly sending work out to be laminated. We have reduced that now, so it has started paying for itself. People want work completed faster and faster, sometimes next day is not enough. It helps us offer a more responsive service.”

Living in luxury

Friedheim International also offers finishing equipment from a number of manufacturers and suppliers. John Harrison is the national sales manager for Scodix and Converting Solutions at the company.

“We’re a good few months away from Christmas, most of us haven’t even begun to think of the end of the year or all the shopping, gifts and cards we’re going to need,” says Harrison. “Printers however, will be starting to ramp up their seasonal campaigns right now. And it isn’t just Christmas, seasonal campaigns are happening throughout the year.”

He continues: “Whenever people celebrate religious holidays, sporting events, or even those who have just gone back to the school in the last month, seasonal printing is a full-time effect – and printers need to think very carefully on how they plan out their products and their offerings to their customers. Whether it’s B2C through web-to-print companies or B2B bulk orders through supermarket chains, printers need to be prepared for every shift in the landscape for every eventuality.”

It isn’t just the festive seasons that can prompt demand but even just the traditional seasons. The end of autumn brings the back to school vibes, with Harrison adding: “With the end of summer comes the ‘back to school’ market which targets children as well as adults with eye-catching packaging, embedded and value-added offerings of stationery, uniforms and all of the equipment needed for the period.”

All that glitters

But obviously, the religious festivities provide printers with the opportunity to delve into sparkly value-added heaven with the rolling around of Christmas. “One of the most important areas of seasonal printing will be for the religious holidays,” says Harrison. “The end of the year means a boost in sales for the Christmas period, where gold foiling, metallic finishes, glitter, over toner foiling, die-cutting and UV effects are highly sought after.

“In keeping with the traditional feeling of the holiday, speciality finishing allows printers to be able to create products ranging from Christmas cards to special edition boxes, wrapping and covers to personalised advent calendars and promotional materials for corporations and businesses as well as one-off digitally printed products.”

And how can Scodix equipment help printers take advantage of all of these opportunities that are presenting themselves at this time of year?

In keeping with the traditional feeling of the holiday, speciality finishing allows printers to be able to create products ranging from Christmas cards to special edition boxes


Available is the Scodix E106 able to take carton up to 700gsm at high capacity. It has been designed for the B1 format for ultra-fast production – up to 4,000 sheets an hour. The E106 has been designed for packaging with Scodix Sense, Scodix Foil, Scodix VDE/VDP (variable data finishing and security print), Scodix Metallic and Scodix Spot.

Harrison adds: “The new Ultra 101 and Ultra 202 machines have both been developed for much shorter runs ideal for the special editions and seasonal packaging requirements for the luxury goods industry.

The Scodix Ultra 101 and 202 can offer extreme embellishments, perfect for Christmas cards and New Year wishes


“Both are capable of running up to 675gsm carton for the B2 format. They use a unique system for foiling and adding the special effects to reduce the wastage of foil and polymer, achieving the most efficient effects engine on the market. Effects achieved by the Ultra 101 are: Scodix Sense, Scodix Foil, Scodix VDE/VDP, Scodix Metallic, Scodix Cast&Cure and Scodix Glitter. The Ultra 202 adds Scodix Spot, Scodix Braille, Scodix Crystal to those of the Ultra 101.”

Elsewhere at Duplo UK, and the finishing manufacturer is fully into the swing of autumn and the festive months. “At Duplo, we believe heavily that the changing of the seasons affects demands on print, especially for commercial printers looking to take advantage of their embellishment options,” says Andy Cuff, product specialist, DuSense. “As an avid consumer of print ourselves, we rely quite heavily on planning our own campaigns around the seasons, so why wouldn’t marketing professionals do the same?”

Duplo’s Cuff says that the changing seasons affect print, marketing and even the way campaigns are planned. Not so spooky


Cuff continues: “Big, luxury brands are always mindful of the holiday and seasonal periods and prepare their own marketing campaigns around them. Print is still one of the most important channels for them and this is reflected by increased pressure for these campaigns to be ready to go out well in advance.

Big, luxury brands are always mindful of the holiday and seasonal periods and prepare their own marketing campaigns around them


“For the larger commercial printer, this pressure – unless well planned out and catered for – can be disastrous. If the finishing department is not sufficiently automated or if the workflow for special effects isn’t capable of higher capacity, then throwing operators at the machines will eat up the valuable profit margin during this busy time of year.”

Cuff also says that during the autumn and winter months, more effects turn to the colour pallets of those periods – during autumn it is the obvious oranges, reds and golds that become popular. During this time of the year there are also the festivities including Halloween, Diwali, Hanukkah, Thanksgiving and even other festivals that have been adopted by other countries like Oktoberfest from Germany. And of course, this then turns to arguably the
biggest festivity of the year, Christmas.

Changing seasons offer printers the chance to work on different products to usual


“The UK is the highest spending market during Christmas in Europe, with the average family spending 54% more than those in Europe,” says Cuff, adding: “2018 saw the UK advertising spend increase to £23bn of which £6.8bn will be spent during the Christmas period with print being a strong component of that figure.”

Duplo will also be celebrating its partnership with Albyco this October, to distribute the QSleek 380 IDH into the UK. It is a foiling machine that can create 3D foiling when combined with the Duplo DuSense and its on demand spot UV abilities. Perfect when sparkle is needed.

Old is new

When thinking of screen-printing, your first thought may be that this is an outdated method. However, Sakurai has showcased most recently at The Print Show 2019 how screen-printing can produce the most beautiful prints and finishes and in a modern format.

Mark Priest, UK sales manager for Sakurai, says openly that seasons do have an effect on demand for print, and more specifically, special effects. “The greeting cards market responds to seasonal requirements such as Christmas, Mother’s Day and Easter to name just a few,” says Priest. “Card manufacturers have always used a variety of methods and inks to get ‘sparkle’ onto their products to make the products more attractive to buyers. Everything from glitter and unusual varnishes through to various types of foil, such as holographic or matt golds, even plastic beads find their way onto cards.”

Sakurai’s Mark Priest highlights how a time-honoured process results in incredible finishes


Priest continues: “Packaging is another sector which is affected by the festive season, with special Christmas editions always containing finishes, foils and anything which produces a ‘snow-like’ looking enhancement. The seasons affect simply hundreds of products on our shelves and in stores everywhere.”

Market trends are also pointing towards special effects and value-added print. Priest says: “The latest trends have seen a myriad of digital, toner and polymer-based print finishing equipment hit the market, creating a wide choice of print enhancement options that will ultimately fuel what I believe to be yet another market trend. An increase in the use of print embellishment.”

While digital manufacturers can offer this, Priest says that sometimes the process honoured by time can produce the best results: “The screen-printing process, a time-honoured method of print embellishment, traditionally enables the operator to achieve a wide variety of ink film thicknesses. This can result in 3D raised print, which literally pops out of the paper at you.

“Sakurai screen-printing presses have a proven history in producing the highest quality print enhancement. Our special effects have always included everything from super glossy Spot UV, highly pigmented colours, a myriad of glitters, soft touch, matt and textured finishes. Sakurai Graphic Systems has added high-quality foil application to their screen-printing equipment, to offer more print embellishment creativity. We can help customers achieve the wow factor all creatives will love.”

It may be spooky season, but there is nothing spooky about the special effects side of print. From affordable ways in to going all out; celebrate the seasons in style with sparkly, raised, 3D and foil embellishments to really make your print jump out and say boo.


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