Special Effects/Finishes: Turn How Into Wow!February 2014 By Erik Cagle, Senior Editor
Chasing technology can be time consuming, expensive and frustrating. Imagine being the first tenant in an exclusive, gated community—the quiet, the beauty, the excitement of it all—then, within a year, you become knee-deep in neighbors. It no longer seems special when the masses join the party, does it?
Yes, with certain technologies, the market can devolve into a sea of "me, too" competitors, and soon this specialized offering you once boasted of becomes a ho-hum commodity. This turns the hunt into identifying the next big thing that won't become infested with users into a vision quest.
Well, we won't make you fast or sleep in your back yard. It's too cold to be outdoors, so just stay inside, rip open a bag of pork rinds and immerse yourself in the value-added possibilities offered by special effects, finishes, foils and coatings.
Why is this a good area? As with any technology worth an extended look, these embellishments can enable a printer to achieve a point of differentiation in the eyes of its customers. Take David D'Andrea, president of D'Andrea Graphic Communications (DGC) in Los Angeles. The City of Angels is saturated with printers, notes D'Andrea, hence the decision to become a boutique, high-quality provider that can churn out 10 micron with UV "all day long," he says.
To augment DGC's quest to become more than the average print provider, the company acquired an Eco-Eagle cold foil system from Eagle Systems in December of 2012. With a client base that includes advertising and design agencies, entertainment companies, movie studios and other film/music concerns, DGC can now print a silver film material in-line and overprint process and spot colors, achieving the full spectrum of metallic colors.
"Foil is in vogue again," notes D'Andrea. "We've got a lot of young designers looking at foil for the first time, so it's nice to see different products or processes coming back to the printing world with vigor. Our cold foil system has really allowed us to provide that extra process without creating extra days in the schedule."
The Eco-Eagle foiler is married to DGC's 40˝ Komori sheetfed offset UV press, and D'Andrea is ecstatic by how easily and seamlessly the pair operate in tandem. While the learning curve is not as daunting as it is with, say, the UV process, it can present challenges, particularly with regards to substrates. But it's nothing that a little trial and error won't solve, D'Andrea notes and, with a little patience, users can find the right recipe of adhesives, foils and stocks to make it all work.