A Look at Printing Embellishments: Sipe Inc., Fort Wayne, Ind.
There’s a common refrain that printing and finishing specialists use when they describe a postpress process that takes a pedestrian piece of output and transforms it into a masterpiece befitting your local art museum: It just jumps out at you. Regardless of how one classifies the reaction that’s produced — the wow factor, pizzazz, bling — the results achieved from using foiling, spot coating or digital enhancement presses all say the same thing.
Money in the bank. And last we checked, that’s not a terrible thing.
But perhaps it’s necessary to set the record straight in terms of who is interested in these finishing enhancements and why. When one thinks of a foil or spot UV enhancement, high-end product packaging almost immediately comes to mind, such as cosmetics, fashion and automotive. In that case, it may be necessary to re-educate the masses.
Sipe Inc. of Fort Wayne, Ind., a finishing house that caters to printers and marketing firms, has a service mark for its Touch Me 3D-UV application, courtesy of the JETvarnish 3D from MGI USA, which has enabled the firm to garner distinction among its client base.
The capability garnered Sipe recognition in the form of a Gold Leaf award at last year’s IADD/FSEA Odyssey conference. The award was for the cover treatment of the Foil and Specialty Effects Association’s (FSEA) annual sourcebook. The sourcebook carried a “Sweet Finishes” theme that incorporated a cupcake smothered in chocolate sauce, rainbow sprinkles and topped off with cherries.
The cover was offset printed in four-color process on 15-pt. Carolina Cover. The cherries and chocolate sauce are enhanced with 100-level micron UV, with the sprinkles set at 200 micron to provide a higher, layered impression. The cupcake wrapper was treated via a textured feel, according to Lisa Hill, Sipe’s vice president of sales and marketing. Rounding out the finishing touches: a clear polymer was used to create a design that spells out “yum,” plus red foil stamping on the FSEA logo and both foil stamping and embossing on the Sweet Finishes title.
“We’re adding value to what printers create for their clients,” Hill remarks. “This is a newer technology that helps them differentiate themselves in the marketplace. We can help them close print business deals by pairing this new technology with our in-house design team to create live samples on their clients’ piece.
“Whether we’re raising their logo off the page or giving texture to an image, when the client sees this embellishment on their piece, they want to have it,” she adds. “They respond in all caps — wow, amazing, awesome. It’s really about capturing and holding attention and conveying the impression of higher quality.”
The award-winning piece did provide some challenges, according to Steve Hatlem, Sipe’s owner. It was difficult getting the foil on the digitally printed piece to release, a problem generally not encountered with four-color offset. But after a little trial and error, the operation was a success.
“This opens doors because it captures people’s attention so much,” he says of the Touch Me 3D-UV. “When we bought it, we were able to expand our market. Northern Indiana was pretty much our territory, but now we’re starting to reach out considerably further, working with customers in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan.”
“We’re really creating the market for this and it’s evolving to the point where it’s not viewed as embellishment for only high-end pieces or clients,” Hill adds. “We’re seeing very ordinary applications that can add value to any piece.”
One of the more esoteric examples came from a small, local business that specializes in soil sample analysis. The company wanted its business cards to have the look and feel of … dirt. One of Sipe’s designers created a 3D-UV layer mask that enabled it to get the dirt texture on the printed card. It was a simple application, Hill remarks, with “very explosive results.”