Packaging Impressions Launches Debut Issue with Offset Printed Cover Tip Featuring Digital Embellishments
One of the most exciting aspects of the present and future of the packaging industry, is the advancement and convergence of multiple technologies, and how, when implemented together, an outstanding printed piece can emerge.
For our first magazine branded under our new name, Packaging Impressions, we wanted to do something special to celebrate our new identity, highlighting our history and our future, and demonstrate what can be accomplished with the latest in printing and finishing technology. So, we decided to develop a cover tip, which will be adhered to each copy of our May/June issue, hitting the mail very soon.
The first step was coming up with a design. Working with Dave Tomko, one of the supremely talented graphic designers here at NAPCO Media, we came up with the idea of creating a collage of our past magazine covers throughout our various eras. It required a brief adventure into the depths of the basement in our Center City Philadelphia office building, but we were able to dig up some issues dating back to the 1970s. If you take a close look at the cover tip, you can see that this isn’t our first name change. For the past 20 years, we’ve been known as packagePRINTING, but prior to that we were Package Printing & Converting, and going back even further, Package Printing and Diecutting.
To represent our future, we included images of our sister publications, Printing Impressions, In-plant Impressions, and Wide-format Impressions. As we continue to cover the trend of convergence, in which print service providers expand their capabilities beyond their core segment, having all of us aligned under the Impressions umbrella represents our commitment to the entire industry.
Once our design was in place, we then turned to our partners in the industry who could help us get these cover tips printed. This resulted in the amazing team of Aarona Tesch from Komori America, Jack Noonan from MGI, and Todd Meissner, president of Color Ink, coming on board to help us get the ink on paper.
After assessing the job requirements, Meissner determined that the best way to print these cover tips would be on his offset equipment — specifically the Komori Lithrone S640C press in Color Ink’s Sussex, Wis. facility. Then, once the 21,000 cover tips were printed on Midland Sterling 80 lb. gloss cover paper stock, they were sent to Color Ink’s MGI JETvarnish 3D digital print enhancement press for some additional special effects.
Meissner explains that a first pass was completed to add the embossed silver gloss foil, which was provided by Crown Roll Leaf, to the Packaging Impressions masthead. A second pass then provided the digital varnish highlight effect on the “Pressing Onward!” headline and the 3D texture pattern surrounding the inlayed image of the magazine cover.
As digital embellishment technology continues to advance, Meissner says that it will be exciting to see how it can be utilized in packaging, in conjunction with various print processes. For example, there is a general notion throughout the industry that conventional printing is best suited for long runs, and digital technology should be relegated to short runs. This job however, Meissner states, demonstrates that assumption is not necessarily the case.
“I think there’s a misconception or myth that somehow, if you do a digital embellishment, it’s really intended for very small quantities and it’s not cost effective to do it in large quantities,” he says. “I think this is a great example of where it makes sense.”
Being able to offer multiple technologies and options to produce and enhance a printed piece is also an effective strategy in helping a brand tell its story, Tesch explains. With packaging, standing out on shelf is a top priority for brands, and being able to take a package in new directions can be what takes it to the next level.
“When you have technology that allows you to embellish and create, you’re providing more of a value-add service to your customers that enhances your bottom line,” she says. “You’re not just looking to put ink on paper — you’re looking to have their ideas stand out on a shelf.”
As more printers seek to enter the packaging segment, or add to their existing packaging capabilities, Noonan explains that the Packaging Impressions cover tip is a strong representation of what can be accomplished through the implementation of multiple technologies. Because many printers have conventional printing capabilities already in house, learning how they can utilize that technology, along with special effects, can help them stand out in the packaging segment.
“One of the reasons people read [Packaging Impressions] is to learn and get informed about the latest trends,” Noonan says. “I think this is a validation of offset capabilities, and what we’re able to do is take it one step further to connect it to the value-add premise of sensory embellishment and digital special effects.”
Cory Francer is an analyst at NAPCO Research. He formerly served as editor-in-chief of Packaging Impressions.