Stand Apart with Special Effects

There’s nothing like eye-popping special effects to help print projects stand out. Matter of fact, special effects not only help projects stand out, but also enable printers to effectively separate themselves from their rivals. Special effects help them differentiate their own work, while also opening the door to the potential of outsourcing their special effects services to other area printers.

Whether it’s packaging and high-end marketing collateral, or lower-end items like business cards, special effects printing can be your ticket to truly special profits. But before you can capture them, you have to get up to speed on the right equipment, specialized inks, and other products.


Clearly Different

Xerox 800/1000 presses offer the option of using clear EA toner, which produces special effects on digital output, in a versatile and affordable machine.

“The press has the ability to add clear dry ink,” says Dale Allen, product marketing manager with Xerox in Rochester, NY. “That allows you to do a ton of creative effects, such as adding expression to documents, placing watermarks on documents, refreshing document, and putting effects on key areas.”

Watermark effects are also possible. “If I sent you a card saying, ‘April showers bring May flowers,’ the water drops could be in clear dry ink. A little color could be put behind them to add contrast and make things pop,” he says.

Xerox 800/1000 presses produce special effects ideal for direct mail pieces, point-of-purchase, business cards, flyers, brochures. Allen has seen PSPs do “really creative stuff” with tri-fold brochures, he says, adding that with clear dry ink, less is often better and produces subtle messages on paper.

Xerox offers a program called “Clearly Different” that helps PSPs market their special effects capabilities, Allen says. PSPs can promote the capability on their websites, give their customers design guides, and also provide examples of what other Xerox customers are accomplishing, Allen says.

Using clear dry ink to generate special effects and build business is a matter of educating your staff to the benefits of the ink, and also proactively marketing your services through the Web. “Take the job someone’s bringing in, and say, ‘Have you ever thought about doing this?’” Allen advises.

“Do it through your own counter displays and pop-up ads, or by providing them with a small sample, a one-page flyer, showing what can be done with clear dry ink.”


The AccuLink Story

Greenville, NC-based AccuLink is the first North American commercial printer to install the Scodix 1200 UV inkjet imaging system, says Lindsay Gray, co-owner and vice president. AccuLink has branded its product/service offering under the brand name 3dUV-Powered by AccuLink. Because the fine droplets of UV cannot be absorbed into printed substrates, it’s critical that the tension of the substrate has a minimum of 36 dyne. “We routinely apply spot 3dUV to gloss, matte, and laminated sheets up to 20x23 inches,” Gray says.

AccuFoil is a digital imaging process that simulates foil stamping and printing with metallic inks, thanks to a unique software program license by ColorLogic, as well as the ability of the Indigo 5600 to print CMYK and the fifth color, white. Substrates are currently limited to metallic silver coated cover sheets in 10- and 12-point cover weights, according to Gray.

“AccuFoil and 3dUV are both very unique offerings that greatly enhance the printed products they are imaged to,” he says. “Due to the specialized programming and equipment involved, there’s little worry of these falling prey to the commodity status plaguing so many other printed products. For example, the AccuFoil is ideal for counterfeit-proof cards as well as products that deserve the highest artistic value.”

The difficulty in promoting AccuFoil and 3dUV is that these products must be seen and touched to enable their value to be understood, he adds. But those providers with strong design capabilities, exceptional sales operations, and strong client relationships in which they are considered key players in helping clients solve strategic communications challenges can benefit.

Gray reports the processes are expensive to bring to market. “The equipment, expertise and software carry great expense and [involve] time [in] understanding best practices,” he adds. “Another thing we’ve found is that we must typically design or manipulate every print file in some way to achieve the desired effect. It is virtually impossible for someone without access to our equipment to design pieces appropriately, right out of the gate.

Gray adds these processes are not currently geared to mass production, but are ideal for short-run, high-impact projects.


Bringing Print to Life

Cincinnati-based RH-Solutions is an importer specializing in UV special effect inks and high-quality screen printing machinery.

Company president Ron Hayden reports his company offers 18 special effects products that essentially “bring print to life.”

“For example, our refractive ink can be printed on a foil stock on a digital or offset print, and more than one vector file and be used to create a holographic effect,” Hayden says. “Let’s say you’re printing on a foil stock and want to create a holographic effect, but also want to create some texture on a brick or a flooring product pictured. This is ideal for businesses that supply bricks, shingles, or anything that has a textured surface…Each of five different abrasives could be applied through separate applications. You could create multiple effects through each of the abrasive or UV special effect products we offer.”

The list of coatings currently available in more than 18 finishes include refractive, icy snow, coral, bubble, light to strong abrasives, gold and silver, high gloss that is crease-able, crystal, and many others, Hayden says.

The virtually endless results can include merchandise posters, POP, kids’ books, games and toys, reference books and encyclopedias, greeting cards, magazine covers, catalogs, door-opening sales marketing materials, business cards, fine arts, high-end luxury labeling and packaging for cosmetics, spirits and confectionary, annual reports, and gift wraps and bags, Hayden says.