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Taste For Success

Special Effects

With an increasing number of retailers and brands using special effects as a way of catching the attention of consumers, we pick out some of the equipment that will allow printers to add more value to work

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Making an Impact

While print service providers (PSPs) are all too aware of the special effects that can be added to printed work, the main challenge is communicating the benefits of this to customers and opening their eyes as to why they should consider such effects with their printed work.

One of the primary markets for special effects is packaging, with the addition of effects such as gold foiling or embellishment almost certain to catch the eye of consumers. But the fact is that there are plenty of other applications where special effects can be used to bring extra value to the piece.

Here, Print Monthly speaks with a number of specialist manufacturers and suppliers in this market to find out more about special effects and the latest technologies that can help PSPs offer even more options to their customers.

Stunning Results

Up first is Vivid Laminating Technologies, a manufacturer that has been providing specialist kit to the market for many years. Product and sales manager Lewis Evans says according to studies, something with a special effect on it draws attention six to seven times longer than plain print.

“It is also less likely to be discarded and thrown away straight away; people keep it for longer and it increases the value of the product it is representing,” Evans says, adding: “The most impactful effects are the ones that you can see and feel.

“Foiling has been around for a while, and it is still great, but people like raised print and soft touch. They like rough uncoated boards linked with foil, as well as dark backgrounds with foils on the front of them, which look stunning with navy blues and golds on them. If you get the right colour background of card with the right colour foil, it can be absolutely stunning.”

Evans was also keen to highlight that the cost of offering this sort of service may not be as expensive as PSPs first think. He offered the example of Vivid’s Matrix and Veloblade range, which, as a partnership, can produce luxury packaging and special effects for a variety of markets.

The Matrix 370MP digital foiler is one of the most popular products in Vivid’s Matrix range

“One job a week will pay for the whole setup,” Evans explains, adding: “If PSPs decide to outsource work out, that is going to be much more expensive. For the same or less cost than one job per week that is outsourced, you can create it all in-house and have complete control over the whole process. You can even offer products the same day to the customer.”

Going into detail on Vivid’s collection of special effect products, Evans picked out the Matrix Metallic in particular. This, he says, is the only digital foiling machine on the market that will foil on uncoated stock and is available for less than £100,000. Evans adds that this machine can be combined with Vivid’s Veloblade solution, allowing customers to finish off work after the initial foiling process.

Looking ahead, Evans says Vivid is working on a few ideas to further expand the capabilities of PSPs in special effects. With this, he invites anyone interested in learning more about the manufacturer’s latest solutions to visit Vivid at The Print Show 2023, where again it will have a significant presence.

Elevating Brands

Another major player within this market is Duplo, which offers a range of special effects kit to customers. Martyn Train, managing director of Duplo UK, says one of the easiest ways to make printed products look spectacular is through special effects and embellishments. However, he adds that what’s not so easy is getting the mix right to make it into a premium product and making the customers understand that adding a little extra will make the end products into an unforgettable experience.

O Factoid: Duplo distributes the Bagel Systems range of laminators and foilers in the UK O

“Even on the packaging side, a less valuable item can be instantly turned into a premium one through spot UV, foil, 3D foil, or even a choice of materials,” Train says, adding: “Embellishing packaging elevates the brand instantly at minimal cost.

Even on the packaging side, a less valuable item can be instantly turned into a premium one through spot UV, foil, 3D foil, or even a choice of materials

“Being able to add special effects to printed products makes print suppliers stand out from those that do not or cannot offer it. With companies now offering online print, adding an option to add embellishment to a customer’s print will set them above the competition.

“Having the option to do these effects means customers will return to them to see what else they can do for future projects. One of the biggest benefits of bringing embellishment in-house is that the printer has complete control over their processes. Control over costs, budget, and time scales adds flexibility to be able to provide a much wider portfolio to existing customers.”

Train goes on to say that PSPs that have this sort of service as part of their offering, need to sell their specialist finishing to customers and the benefits that this will bring to them.

“There are no two ways about it; UK printers have the talent, expertise, technology, and creativity,” Train explains, continuing: “However, if they don’t know how to sell their print, especially the specialist finishing to the buyers, then printers will lose out on the opportunity to add value with embellishment.

“More awareness of the impact extra finishes that UV spot varnish and foiling can achieve needs to be made to marketers, brand owners, and designers. We want every sheet of paper, card, or board to reach its maximum potential.”

With this, Train has words of advice for those PSPs looking to enhance their offering with the addition of new special effects kit. When investing in technology, Train says PSPs must keep in mind that ease of use and accuracy should be at the top of the list on embellishment equipment. He adds that there is no point in offering speciality finishing and the end product then be either inconsistent or unprofessional.