January 17, 2022

Print Embellishment is Easier Than You Think

Coatings, foils, and varnishes have been around almost as long as print itself, as brands and printers try to find new ways to make materials stand out.

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When it comes to enhancing printed pieces, embellishments aren’t anything new. Coatings, foils, varnishes, and more have been around almost as long as print itself. But as digital print processes have rapidly gained popularity, many of the traditional forms of embellishment just couldn’t keep up, designed for producing thousands of identical finishes, not thousands of unique items in a single run.

But that has been changing.

Digital embellishment technologies might have been in short supply as the print revolution began, but manufacturers are rapidly catching up, offering new options for both in-line and off-line embellishment that is once more allowing printers — and their customers — find innovative and creative ways to make an impact.

One study done in 2020 found that print buyers are willing to pay anywhere from 24% to 89% more for a printed piece if it includes embellishments, a premium they are willing to accept because many more studies have found that embellishments work. Humans are a very tactile species and we like to touch things that have different textures and finishes. A piece that has at least one embellishment can get far more engagement than an identical piece with just CMYK.

It’s Not Complicated

Adding digital embellishments is an incredibly easy proposition for those already running digital presses — in many cases it’s as easy as adding a 5th color station to the press. A single in-line station can open up a world of possibilities for spot coatings that can be as variable as the printed pieces themselves, produced right alongside the rest of the piece so no additional processes, curing, or equipment is needed. Sure, it could mean that the overall run takes longer, with the press often needing to run slightly slower to accommodate the coating.

But speaking of off-line, for those looking for a more versatile solution, there are other options to choose from, allowing a shop to offer a broader range of embellishments without slowing down the press side of the operation. If you’re looking for more than just a bit of coating magic for highlighting areas, calling out information, or creating 3D textures, off-line digital embellishment – such as the DDC-810 Raised Spot UV Coater from Duplo – might be the perfect choice. The DDC-810 offers a user-friendly, design-driven solution that utilizes their PC Controller software and hot folder technology on a PC station for print embellishment on demand.

Duplo gatefold invitations

For shops just looking to dip their toes into the world of digital embellishment, start small with the 5th station option on a digital press and experiment with the different effects that can be created. Or check out the budget-friendly DFL-500 or DFL-700 Foil/Laminator to add toner foil to some of your jobs. You will be surprised at just how much can be done with that alone, especially for those willing to experiment and push the limits of creativity. It is often a fairly inexpensive investment as well, allowing you to see just how to work digital embellishments into your workflow and sales cycle without needing to take a big risk up front.

Golden foil Ticket

Digital embellishments are taking variable, personalized print from the world of only using color to catch consumers’ attention to having all the same tricks and options as the more traditional commercial print offerings. For anyone running any kind of digital press equipment, it is almost a “no brainer” to add at least some digital embellishment to the suite of finishing options – unlocking new potential markets, new customers and new profits.

denise gustavson

Guest Blogger

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