Digital Printing Enhances Award-Winner from Innovative Labeling Solutions

by Brittany Willes, PostPress
Innovative Labeling Solutions (ILS), Hamilton, Ohio, picked up the Bronze Award for Difficult Sheet/Rotary Labels in the FSEA’s 22nd annual Gold Leaf Awards competition.

The Terressentia Corporation was founded on the belief that technology dramatically can improve both the quality and taste of its premium spirits. When a unique and innovative label was needed for the company’s Winchester Rye Whiskey, Innovative Labeling Solutions (ILS), Hamilton, Ohio, befittingly opted to use digital print technology to create the award-winning label.

“We believe that digital printing is the wave of the future,” explained Vicki Hausmann, ILS’ marketing director. “Our mission is to provide our clients with opportunities to engage with their customers on a more personal level, and digital technology allows for more flexibility than conventional printing. Digital technology offers our clients the opportunity to better engage with consumers at the shelf, to provide high-end looking and feeling labels to accentuate the product and also can increase the speed to market.”

Creating the high-end look and feel of the Winchester label required a great deal of collaboration between the designers, the processers and manufacturers. Once ILS received the initial design from Terressentia, a heavy eggshell paper stock with matte UV varnish was selected for the label base. When it came to printing, ILS turned to its Hewlett-Packard Indigo WS6600 digital printing press. The base stock was hot stamped with copper-colored foil provided by Kurz Transfer Products. The Winchester brand name was embossed and printed with black ink. A faded grey image of a Wild West era cowboy astride a galloping horse takes up part of the background, filling in some of the white space between the layers of text. The labels were printed 6-across and 9-round using ILS’ special I-Mark settings.

“All the printing was done in a single pass,” explained Director of Technology Brian Smallwood. The label was hot stamped, varnished, embossed and diecut in one pass utilizing an AB Graphics Digicon press. “Having the label finished in one pass can increase the complexity of the process,” Smallwood went on to explain. “However, some accuracy can be gained by processing everything together. With a single pass, everything is running through the printer with the same tensions, the press is running through the entire operations at semi-rotary and everything is firing off the same I-Mark and semi-rotary re-insertion.”

Despite the intricacy of the Winchester design, the label was not an overly difficult project. “It might have been more difficult or challenging at one time,” said Smallwood, “but this is something we do all the time now. We have the advantage of having the latest technology to work with. We run all HP printing equipment, and HP has been very supportive of any challenge we bring them. They trust us enough to give us the first opportunities using their new technology.” That’s not to say the label presented no challenge whatsoever. Smallwood admitted the complexity of the Winchester label was slightly above average for the company. “We did send this hot stamp out,” said Smallwood. “The logo is very intricate and some of the finer details had to be moved. We sent it to our die manufacturer, and they were able to put their own spin on it.”

With its sophisticated foiling and embossing, the Winchester label involved a partnership with the prepress side “pulling everything, all the resources, together in order to create a production item that was very simple to run,” said Smallwood. “For someone like myself or Vicki, when we see something of this level and intricacy, it’s very rewarding.”

“The way we go to market, we view everyone as partners,” Hausmann stated. “Our vendors, our manufacturers, we’re all in this as a way to grow our client’s brand. We partner with you, you partner with us. In the end, we all benefit and the customer is the ultimate winner. That’s the way it should be.”

In the case of the Winchester label, both ILS and Terressentia Corporation have come out winners. Hausmann reported their client was very happy and excited about the label. ILS recently submitted the Winchester label to the FSEA’s 22nd annual Gold Leaf Awards. When Terressentia was informed that ILS would be entering the Winchester label into the Gold Leaf competition, “they were thrilled.” The label was awarded Bronze for Difficult Sheet/Rotary Labels.

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