Coming In From The Cold

Stuart Pritchard April 26, 2016


RICHARD BURHOUSE, Commercial Director at API, highlights how the latest effects and innovative technologies in decorative foiling can help labels add even greater value to retail packaging…

Labels are an essential part of packaging, not only to inform customers about the product but also to enhance the brand, helping to attract new customers through building on-shelf impact and retail presence. Recent advances in decorative foiling and print processing technologies together with the availability of new substrates mean labels can now add even greater impact and customer appeal to the wide number of products they promote. New metallic cold foils can add a premium high-end finish to pack labels across market categories and help designers meet the demands of brand owners to deliver the right message and impact for their products at the right price.

Of course brands demand that their packaging reflects their values as well as link to the latest trends and designs seen in their market categories. As an industry it is important that we help designers and brand owners understand and realise how recent advances in technology have in particular expanded what is now possible with label and packaging enhancement.


Add extra flavour to packaging with cold foiling

Add extra flavour to packaging with cold foiling

Developments in the latest foil technology mean that cold foil can now deliver multi-coloured effects and high-definition imagery which really add the ‘wow’ factor to packaging. Cold foiling is by no means a new technology, being developed in the 1990s for narrow web printing, but designed specifically as an in-line process to provide a cost-effective alternative to hot stamping, it was a difficult and at times unpredictable technique, as companies developed their own products with little synergy or standardisation across the industry.

Much has changed and cold foiling has evolved into a proven printing process with machinery manufacturers and the substrate, adhesive, ink and foil suppliers collaborating to ensure all elements work together to deliver results. This work means cold foils are now a compelling option for use in the labelling of products in many markets including wines and spirits, health, beauty and personal care items.

The use of a cold foil such as the latest TA Foil from API adds extra depth and quality to packaging and often the only limit is someone’s imagination! This new generation of cold foil provides exceptional fine detail – even down to a 3-point font – together with the capability to cover large solid areas and achieve high-quality gloss effects for text and graphics. In addition, TA has enhanced over-printability, enabling packaging designers and printers to produce an unlimited range of metallic colours and effects including multi-colours and half tones which add real depth and sophistication to labels.


Cold foiling now offers many of the visual benefits of hot stamping foils and also allows for faster processing and savings on tooling costs. It is widely used for reel-to-reel label production on filmic materials and coated papers, where

Foils add depth and impact to make products stand-out on shelf

Foils add depth and impact to make products stand-out on shelf

cold foiling units integrated into the printing press enable printed and foiled labels to be produced at high speed in a single, in-line process, with quick, low-cost set-up. It also has the ability to work with heat-sensitive materials such as shrink sleeves where hot stamping would be a challenge, ensuring that impact from foil use is now available across an even wider range of products.

The continued developments in cold foil technology allow label providers to remain up-to-date with market trends and importantly develop new business opportunities across an even wider range of market categories. To support this opportunity foil manufacturers offer a wealth of products and services to enhance product packaging and the best work hard to help designers and brand owners find inspiration and ideas for their customer projects, as well as the final product solution.

With all retailers and brand owners looking to enhance their products and add real value to their packaging, cold foiling is now one of the best solutions for applying metallic finishes to labels and because the process uses standard printing methods, it has become a cost-effective and fast alternative to traditional hot foiling. So if you thought foil wasn’t suitable for use within your portfolio, the time is right to see how the latest technology can help you enhance your brand for maximum retail impact.