Foilco’s Shiny Happy People

Stuart Pritchard September 21, 2018

Foilco Sales Director, MATT HORNBY, looks at the trends, trials and tribulations involved in packaging in general and foils in particular…

Foilco are a family run foil supplier, based in Warrington, who have been servicing the print and graphics industry for over 30-years. Every year we adorn our exhibition stand walls with creatively designed and commissioned foil art pieces to show imaginative foil and embossing techniques. It gives us the opportunity to enter industry awards on both sides of the Atlantic, and, although we don’t take it all too seriously, it’s nice to be shown some level of recognition from our peers for innovation.

I don’t belittle anyone who works hard in our industry; it’s extremely stressful and very demanding. As stamping foil is generally the last process in the long line of considerations and processes, the pressure can be on us to come through and deliver without any real involvement or notification. As such, we are actively trying to change that – it’s often the foil that gives packaging the allure and the ‘pick me up’ appeal, so if we are involved at the infancy of the concept, then we can all achieve a better outcome.


The swatch book of Foilco contains a wide world of options

We offer many different grades (each matched with a unique application) so that when a colour is selected we can advise the customer/designer/brand of the optimum grade to accompany the chosen substrate and respective artwork.

Trends come and go, and I remember when I worked in the factory, back in my school holidays, I’d be working with foils that 20- or 30-years later are back in demand. We dust down our old shade cards and retained sample rolls, reformulate and set up production again. In addition to this, Pantone matching in foil is easy for us, but it’s not widely considered or known by designers or brands. The possibilities of foil colours and grades are endless and we’re here to support brands along that journey.

Brand distinction is paramount to start-ups and foil gives that shelf-presence that they are looking for. Further to that, the desire to just settle for bright silver or gold seems be diminishing and the foil colour choices are now much more considered. To us this is just wonderful, as specialist and unusual foils are our forte. Brushed foils, day glow, pearls, patterned, depth in colour choice. An indication of that is that we offer 12 copper shades and 24 shades of gold (including the ever popular Rose gold) from stock in multiple grades. This is over 30-years in the making – more than 1300 different products stocked, 50+ different grade choices, with a persistence to meet individual customer’s requirements; to develop prototypes of project specific foils that have then organically grown into our established offer.


See what Foilco can do in person at Luxe Pack 2018 this October in Monaco (Stand AA15)

In the last few years, personalisation has exploded in the gift packaging market and, with that, in foils. We have long offered a range of foils that apply to toner inks that remove the need for dies for short run work, certificates or mock-ups. Now we see several machine manufacturers and resellers reinventing the wheel and turning this into a thriving cottage industry, as well as giving existing printers and foil blocking companies a viable solution that has long been dormant or overlooked.

Brands want to work with unique and challenging materials for the gift and packaging sector, and as a company we have to be open and ready for that. We make foils with thicker glues to accommodate texture papers and cloths, foils that will work on heavily varnished materials. The art of foiling is alive and well – this a highly skilled process and it can be challenging, but I think that is what makes it so fascinating and alluring. It delivers results that are just not possible with other print processes. We have seen the explosion of digital and advancements in other print techniques but, fundamentally, foil stamping has not changed greatly since its infancy.


There is no end of choice when it comes to colours and grades

We’ve been exhibiting in Luxepack Monaco for the last six-years now; it’s our flagship show and we feel very at home there. It’s helped us gain further creditability with the agencies and brands we get to see and they visit us there annually to see our new developments. That spurs us on to keep giving them something to show!

Three-months ago a seed was sown, and at Luxe Pack 2018 (Stand AA15), that seed will have blossomed in the form of ‘Not Another Environmental Policy from Foilco’. We were frustrated with the levels of misinformation that existed within the industry and the ‘stories’ that have been around ever since the wonderful David Attenborough hit our TV screens with the acclaimed Blue Planet series. It was like the world had woken up to the poor use of (some) packaging.

We realised we needed to shout louder about the measures we had already taken as a business to ensure long-term environmental sustainability and one of those major steps was ensuring no foil waste ever landed in UK landfill.