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Simplifying Labeling Blog

    4 Important Items for Creating Superior Foil Labels

    [fa icon="clock-o"] 9/20/17 8:38 AM [fa icon="user"] Michelle Feldman [fa icon="folder-open'] Specialty Labels, Product Labels, Labels, Business Labels, Health and Beauty

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    Intro 

    Everyone involved in printing, from providers to customers, has at some point seen and admired an eye-catching hot stamp label--they are created to be noticed!  The process is universal, and employed with a wide range of pressure-sensitive products such as labels, decals and coupons.  Typical applications include food and beverage products, health and beauty items, pharmaceutical  containers, packaging for luxury and gourmet goods and various tobacco products,  as well as wine and spirit bottle labels.  

    Hot foiling is a very effective procedure for a label that requires a more complex, elaborate design with fine lines and smaller images, since the die to be used will maintain the clarity of the edges.  This procedure lends a label a decorative finish and is often associated with higher-end products, so it can be a very effective marketing tool to set your product apart and catch the consumer's gaze.

    To get the best value for the cost of production, it is helpful to understand the uses and processes involved in creating hot stamp labels.  

    Item  1:  Understanding  the Foiling Process

    Materials Used in Hot Foil Stamping: In foil printing, which is also referred to as hot foil stamping, rolls of a pigment or a metallic foil are used.  It is available in both matte and glossy finishes, as well as a wide assortment of colors--typically gold, silver, copper and holographic metallic.  In addition, various patterns can be applied, or pastel foil, a flat opaque color, or a white special film-backed material.  The foil material used in hot stamping is composed of several layers,  including a polyester carrier, a release layer, and various layers of lacquer, image and metal, plus an outer adhesive layer for sizing.  SixB Labels can offer you an impressive variety of colors in both matte and gloss finishes for hot foil options.

    hotstamp-foils-in-a-variety-of-colors
    Hotstamp Foils In A Variety Of Colors

    Foil can be applied to a wide variety of substrates as well.  Paper, carton board, fabric, leather,  and plastics are typical choices of surface.  While foil can be applied to foil, the application can prove more challenging.

    Equipment Used for Stamping Hot Foil Labels:  Hot stamp dies have evolved, along with the process itself.  In earlier times, hot foil stamping employed hand-set lettering or was accomplished through the use of custom-engraved dies.  Early hot foil stamping was a very labor intensive process, so it was first used almost exclusively for literary titles and book covers.  But by the late 1800's and early 1900's, modern hot-stamping foils were being developed, and by the 1930's it was possible to apply gold to polyester film.

    In order to hot stamp, foil must be forced against a substrate by a heated die,  normally made of brass, and supported by either a counterplate or counter cylinder, in a process somewhat like that of letterpress or engraving.  Pressure plus the activation of adhesive sizing creates the attachment between the foil and the substrate, aided by the melting of the release layer.

    The image below shows a foil stamp die with a blade held in place by an acrylic form, which is designed to be mounted to a machine plate.  The image shows the backing foam used to protect the exposed blade, which is taller than the acrylic form.

    Along with the foil stamp die pictured below,  an 11 pt. (.153 inch) thick magnesium plate, also designed to be machine mounted, would be used in the stamping process.  This unit, which employs an etched image,  is heated, and the foil is run between the plate and the substrate so that the image can be transferred, leaving behind an impression of the design of the die.   In order to create a 3D image, foil stamping can be combined with embossing.  

    hotstamp-scalloped-label-die golden-brown-hotstamp-scalloped-label
    Foil Stamp Die Photo Gold Foil Stamped Label

    Equipment Used in Embossing: Embossed labels are produced when heat and pressure are used to create a three-dimensional, raised relief image or design in paper and other materials.  Two dies are needed for this process; a raised die and another that is recessed; these are fitted together, and the paper is pressed between them to create the image.  When creating an embossed foil label, a design that requires thicker, bolder lines is easier to execute. Producing a label using a complex image with multiple fine lines can prove more difficult.   Blind embossing uses neither ink nor foil to create an image, and produces a subtly raised design; it can be combined on the same label with foil stamping.

    embossed-gold-foil-label

    Embossed Gold Foil Label 

    Item 2: Knowing the Right Surfaces for Foil Labels

    While hot foil can be successfully applied to many different materials, some are more suitable.  With man-made substrates, hot stamping is often used effectively on different plastics, including polyester, polyethylene, and polypropylene, as well as vinyl,  because these materials are softer and offer better adhesion.

    However, because every foil has a different level of adhesion, which is activated by heat, the material to be foiled may need to be tested for its treat level.  This involves a Dyne Pen test, using a special marker pen on the material to be foiled, which measures the pores in the surface to be foiled to determine if adhesion will be successful.

    Foil can also be employed on a label with a rough surface, for example, a linen-look label for a wine bottle, and  be combined with an embossed surface as well.  Since hot foil will have a slightly raised appearance, it becomes a great choice for  higher-end product applications. The only drawback is the expense of producing a metal hot stamp die, and  the extra production time.  

    Item 3: Knowing the Marketing  Impact of Hot Foil Labels

    In a crowded marketplace, full of products and marketing materials, it can be really challenging to catch the notice of consumers.  Vibrant visuals can be key to accomplishing this, so in the realm of consumer perception, sparkle and shine go a long way to make labels and their packaging more visible.  A study has shown that in order to draw the attention of consumers and keep it there for longer, foil stamping and other decorative enhancements are effective additions to packaging and other marketing materials, helping them to stand out from their competitors.  

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    Black On Silver Hotstamped Foil Label

    Marketing via association is also a persuasive approach.  One of the reasons that foiling in rich colors and metallics is so effective is that the sparkling, saturated colors carry a positive association with wealth and opulence, similar to that conveyed by richly colored fabrics or bright jewels, while the glints of gold, silver and copper are reminiscent of coins.  This is why hot foiled labels make the perfect choice when marketing luxury items with higher price points.

     

    Item 4: Finding the Right Print Provider

    Hot foil stamping is an exacting process, requiring years of experience, the right equipment to do an outstanding job, and an eye for color and design.  SixB Labels can offer you all of the above, along with an impressive variety of colors in both matte and gloss finishes for hot foil options.  Relying on our many years of experience, and employing our hot stamp machines, manufactured by New Foil, SixB Labels can create outstanding foil labels for your project.


      

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     See Related:

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    Michelle Feldman

    Written by Michelle Feldman

    Marketing Associate at SixB Labels

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