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- Print & Production

Trends in Print Finishing

An amazingly versatile and always impressive type of print finish is hot and cold foil stamping. Much is happening in this field at the moment, and we talked to Frank Denninghoff, from the printers Gräfe Druckver?edelung, to find out what’s on the market, what innovations are in the pipeline and what impact the use of such foils has in communication.


In the foil segment in particular there are some exciting new developments: Is that a reaction to rising demand?

Yes, demand for finishes using blocking foil in print products, packaging and labels has indeed been rising continuously over the years. Through better and extended technical possibilities in embossed foil printing and in cold foil transfer, new areas of application have been created which in turn place new demands on designing with these foils, and also on the design of the foils themselves.


It seems that now the foils are not just shiny, they can do much more. For example, they can simulate a 3D effect or serve as a security feature – what do you find is most in demand at the moment?

As well as metallised and pigment foil, there is a group of holographic foils in the form of diffraction foils with endless designs, and also single-hologram foils that are applied with great precision via a detection mark. These are used as a security ID in brand protection. A special form is Spatial FX foil from Kurz which is impressive because visually it looks like a real three-dimensional surface, but when you touch it, it feels quite flat. (Ed. note: Just such a foil has been used on our cover.)


Is demand rising for forgery-proof documents?

In this digital age and with all the options now available in printing processes, customers are definitely asking about brand protection – for tickets, parking cards, documents and also packaging, in order to secure a simple visual protection against copying. With higher-spec requirements, you are then looking at combinations with software and non-visible electronic features – at Kurz they offer what they call Trust Concept. For banknotes, credit cards and high security, holograms to prevent forgery are an elementary component, but these are done only by certified banknote processing companies.

Which other finishing techniques are sought after?

At the moment we are seeing on the one hand continued interest in cold-foil transfer for projects where metallisation is a significant feature in the print motif itself, and on the other hand also decorative metal finishes with relief embossing in foil, as optical and haptic components. These are often supplemented with partial UV varnishes or details involving blind embossing or structures on the printed piece. Haptic sells!

It seems that most packaging these days has some kind of finishing …

Packaging is the first physical contact with the product! So, as well as fulfilling the requirements of protection and logistics, the packaging also has to present the brand image. And here the finish plays a particular and effective role. As well as appealing visually, the packaging must also reflect the individual purchase incentives of the customer. This response can be conceptual and target-group-oriented, via multisensory finishes. Brand promise, packaging style, print finishing and content have to all fit together, and be credible.


And the wheel of innovation never stands still … In which area do you see the most change in the future?

At the moment it’s all about digital systems; so in processing we can expect a number of technological innovations and new combinations. Beyond that we will see new developments in continuing digitalisation of systemic processes which will require not-to-be-underestimated changes in the processes and perhaps also business models in our sector. The key thing here is to do the right thing, both in terms of content and concept, the machine technology comes in the second stage.
Apart from this, there will be a return to the strengths of print finishes in the media mix with the other digital channels. The high level of participation and the feedback from the Creatura Roadshow sponsored by f:mp has shown us quite clearly that multisensory print and finishing does indeed offer something very effective, in a way that other channels cannot do. And that is measurable, as a meta study* shows.

The study can be viewed at or requested by e-mail from:

This interview was part of novum+ »Creative Paper« in novum 11.18. Single copies are available here:

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