Just Getting Warmed Up: Choquet’s Sun-Themed Calendar Shines Bright

By Brittany Willes, contributing editor

“We wanted to invoke a feeling of warmth and comfort,” stated Patrick Choquet, president of Gravure Choquet, when speaking of the inspiration for Gravure Choquet’s annual calendar.

The company, which has been producing its promotional calendar for the past five years, has routinely incorporated circular designs. For 2018, as winter temperatures reached record lows, the calendar’s design consisting of rings of foil in rich, warm colors – red, orange, copper – encircling a tranquil-looking sun before reaching out in a seemingly ever-expanding circle certainly sparks feelings of warmth and serenity.

Along with the company’s tradition of using circular designs, the 2018 calendar also took inspiration from another source – childhood. Gravure Choquet utilized drawing techniques often used by children. “We created drawings using wax pencils and then layered over those drawings with black paint,” he said.

Once the initial design concept was finalized, designer François Martin created a line drawing using multiple colors as a way to represent to the printing industry, just as it uses hot foil stamping to provide multiple aesthetic possibilities, such as matte, satin and shiny metallic colors, as well as crisp details and vibrant shades.

“It’s not possible to show these elements in the same way with something like digital inkjet technology, where the colors are mainly limited to gold and silver,” remarked Choquet. “We wanted to show off the striking effects that can be created with hot stamping.”

Along with hot stamping, a blind debossing pass also was incorporated into the production pass in order to make the foiling stand out at the junction (crossing) of the foil and deboss lines.

Of course, before the debossing could be done, several other steps in the production process had to be completed first. During production, the calendar underwent 12 separate passes. First, solid white foil was stamped in the center of the piece – the foundation for the sun. In the second pass, lines of foil were stamped in a rainbow pattern at 45° angles to add a special foil effect when the calendar is handled in the light. Black, red, pink and orange foil were laid out in the next few passes, with the seventh pass being of copper brown foil stamped along the top and bottom of the calendar.

To add a bit of rigidity, the calendar was mounted on a 14 pt. cover stock that was black matte laminated with soft-touch finish. The stock that formed the back side of the calendar received the blind embossing which would lead to a deboss effect on the front. After the embossing of the back side, a layer of satin silver foil was applied. Finally, the double sheets were compressed to remove any waving before final assembly.

All of the foiling for the calendar was performed on Thomson platen presses, the foil itself provided by Kurz Transfer Products and Crown Roll Leaf, while the embossing was done using a Sheridan press. The copper dies used for the embossing as well as the hot stamping dies were engraved in the company’s in-house engraving facility. For each of the eight foiling and embossing passes, each pass was set up at the same time as a way to ensure perfect registration.

Despite the straightforward process of the foil stamping, producing the calendar was not without its challenges. According to Choquet, because the area that needed to be embossed was fairly large, it created stress on the stock – which creates waving.

“Having that look of waving on the calendar was simply not acceptable,” he stated. In order to eliminate the waving, the calendar was double mounted using spray adhesive before pressing each calendar using compressible rubber mats. Although this pressing meant adding another step in the production process, the results cannot be denied. Choquet’s 2018 calendar is a beautiful example of the great effects of the otherwise simple process of foil stamping.

The company’s efforts to create a memorable promotional calendar did not go unnoticed in 2018.

“We had excellent comments from customers all year,” said Choquet. “We generated a lot of new projects as a result.”

The calendar also was recognized in the 2018 FSEA Gold Leaf Awards, claiming a Gold Award for “Best Use of Foil and Embossing – Calendar.” Additionally, the calendar received awards at the 2018 Canada Printing Awards and 2018 Gala Gutenberg in Montreal.