Applications Portfolio Pushes Boundaries with Extreme Embellishment

Edited by Erin La Row, writer, PostPress

The team at Print Panther Direct, a commercial printer in Oakville, Canada, prides itself on creating beautiful, meaningful print. Printing print that matters is the philosophy that guides each project, including the Extreme Digital Guide 4 – the fourth of its Designer Guides – that was created to highlight the company’s print embellishment capabilities. The Extreme Digital Guide 4, christened the Applications Portfolio, weaves together the essence of its predecessors while further pushing the boundaries of embellishment with incredible detail. The Applications Portfolio’s aesthetic and tactile appeal captured the judges’ attention at the Foil & Specialty Effects Association’s 31st annual Gold Leaf Awards, where the project won Best of Show: Best Use of Digital Embellishment.

“Each spread was crafted to showcase our expertise but also to resonate with the evolving market demands, such as the cannabis packaging segment,” said Christine Yardley, president of Print Panther Direct. “The Applications Portfolio represents an evolving journey with Konica Minolta (KM), building upon the foundation laid by three previous Designer Guides.”

The creation of the portfolio began with research identifying emerging trends and market demands. From there, the Print Panther team conceptualized each spread, considering both aesthetic appeal and practical application. The design phase involved digital mock-ups and iterative refinements until each spread met the company’s exacting standards.

“We opted for a premium turned-edge binder/box to elevate the portfolio’s visual and tactile appeal. By using high-quality materials, we aimed to convey a sense of quality and craftsmanship that would resonate with our audience,” Yardley said.

The graphics for the portfolio were created using a combination of digital design software and traditional artistic techniques. Special consideration was given to the integration of imagery and typography to create visually compelling spreads that effectively communicated each concept. Additionally, the Print Panther team ensured that the design was adaptable to various printing techniques and embellishments, allowing it to achieve the desired visual impact.

The portfolio features a range of specialty effects and embellishments to enhance its visual appeal and tactile experience. This includes digital foil and varnish applications, as well as laminations, which add depth and dimension. Yardley said that these embellishments not only elevate the aesthetic quality of the portfolio but also highlight the versatility of KM’s printing technologies. The paper stock used was Supreme Silk Cover 12 point pages/box 80 lb text, laminated.

State-of-the-art printing technologies played a crucial role in achieving the desired quality and consistency across each spread. Stunning visual effects and unparalleled print quality were achieved with various KM Accurio presses, including Print Panther Direct’s Accuriowide 160 Press. Extreme embellishment was achieved with the KM JETvarnish 3D Evolution press.

Creating a product that has multiple embellishments and design processes can be challenging. Throughout the project, the team encountered various design and production challenges, including adhesion issues when applying CMYK on top of a chosen lamination.

“By leveraging our collective expertise, we were able to overcome these challenges and deliver a portfolio that exceeded expectations,” Yardley said.

Response to the Applications Portfolio has been overwhelmingly positive. Yardley said the portfolio has served as a valuable resource for designers and print professionals, inspiring creativity and showcasing the capabilities of KM’s printing technologies.

“Winning Best of Show in the Gold Leaf Awards was a moment of immense pride and validation for our team. It was a testament to our dedication, creativity and unwavering commitment to embellishments,” Yardley said. “We celebrated this achievement with gratitude knowing that it wouldn’t have been possible without the collective effort of every team member involved.”