Textured Elements in Print Communicate Brand Quality, Create Positive Response
Textured elements in premium printing applications arouse interest and inspire consumer engagement. They are also the silent signals communicating brand quality.
Textures provide a sensory input, and when packaging or mailing pieces are designed with a focus upon the natural impulse to “touch and feel,” these create a more favorable reaction. The response takes place before the piece or product is picked up — focusing attention, and creating the impulse, to touch. Once a product or piece has been reached for and is in the hands of the consumer, the chances of a purchase are greatly increased. It all takes place in just a split second.
Textures and tactile elements provide brands an ability to connect with consumers via packaging, direct mail pieces and other collateral. When designed to inspire response, brands become more easily recognized, enjoying a significant increase in sales and profitability.
Research reveals that sturdier paper stock creates a more favorable consumer response, reported as increasing by 38% over less sturdy stocks. In creating any packaging, mailer or other collateral, decisions about paper make a significant difference in response. Flimsier stock gives the impression of lower quality.
Selecting the correct weight, as well as adding textured elements, custom finishes and, of course, overall color quality and design, are each critical points in the development process.
Finishes that Create Positive Responses
Print and finishing techniques that inspire the “touch impulse” allow artwork to stimulate a positive response and engagement. These finishes can also provide the ultimate in decorative appeal to attract the attention of consumers — whether that be in the mailbox or the aisle. Advanced finishes that can add unique appeal to print and packaging pieces include:
Gloss UV: A popular coating used in the printing industry, gloss UV provides a clear coating with a high gloss. An added benefit of this coating is that it can also serve as a protectant.
Raised UV Coatings: A great way to add a tactile or more dramatic effect is by using a raised UV coating effect. Adding more coating volume brings more added dimension that can accentuate the art or graphic, as well as invite consumers to engage and touch.
Dull Varnish: Varnishes serve many purposes, including as a protectant and to create great contrast (step-off) against a higher gloss. Varnishes can be applied to very specific areas (spot varnish) or to a large print area or the entire press sheet (flood varnish).
Soft Touch: Soft touch coatings create a soft, velvety texture. They also make the piece look softer than one with a high gloss or textured coatings.
Reticulation: A signature visual and/or tactile effect can be achieved through reticulation. This is achieved when a spot varnish and an overall UV coating are applied. When these two are mixed, there is a chemical reaction that results in a tactile and visual effect.
Embossing/Debossing: Raising and depressing aspects of packaging gives customers a tactile experience. A contrasting material in the design can be used to differentiate the surface of the material or to bring a character to life. Embossing and debossing techniques include sculptured, multi-level or single-level.
Hot Foil Stamping: This effect is accomplished with a foil stamping machine that uses a metal plate that has been engraved with an image of the desired design required for the particular application. The result is a document that has a highly reflective image with a bright and dense metallic appearance.
With eyes travelling over the countless products offered, or through a pile of mailing pieces, consumers make instantaneous assumptions about quality and perceived value. Tactile elements achieved though advanced finishes and coatings draw consumers’ attention to product lines or offers.
In the past, many brands and creatives have shied away from texture innovations due to cost concerns, but new breakthroughs in press technologies are capable of producing textured elements in a far more cost-efficient manner, making them well within reach.
Cutting-edge presses and other technologies make it possible to have the perfect marriage of art and science to inspire consumer engagement and response that goes far beyond the ordinary. These include multi-coater presses, combination coating/varnish and dry/wet embossing on-press that can create truly exceptional effects without the added spend of multiple processes or runs through the press.
Marketing Premium Tactile Elements
While premium coatings, finishes and textural press effects can intimidate customers due to their perceived cost, the potential gains from a unique and standout printed or packaging piece far outweigh production costs. Moreover, new packaging and printing innovations can make it possible to stay within budget and achieve a highly decorative look. Oftentimes, a desired look can be achieved through a combination of techniques, coatings and finishes at a similar cost of a basic technique if the right printing technology is available.
Encouraging your customers to test the waters and the potential for a better mailer or packaging design can be achieved by emphasizing the open rate and response rate improvements that come with eye-catching, tactile printing. The textures, finishes and substrates used on a printed sheet directly drive the level of response to direct mail pieces, welcome kits, product brochures and product packaging.
Tactile elements can elevate any printing or packaging job to a whole new level and drive more sales and responses — just what every brand or customer wants.
Michael DiFranco serves as the VP of Marketing at JohnsByrne. Celebrating its 56th year of operations, JohnsByrne Company is a custom packaging and print solutions provider catering to major brands in health and beauty, food and beverage and consumer products. With a culture built around innovation, quality, design and speed, the company's offerings span value added folding cartons, specialty packaging and high impact direct mail. To learn more about these and other services, visit www.johnsbyrne.com.