Not just decoration

Innovative use of foils and one-off dies can help brands make a strong statement in the marketplace. High-quality packaging has a big influence on a consumer’s purchasing decision.

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Consumers average less than three seconds to make up their minds about which product to pick from the shelf. This is why companies like Denmark’s Dreyer Kliche, which specialises in the production of high-quality foiling and embossing dies, insist that graphic finishing is more than just decoration. It’s a marketing tool that brands need to take seriously if they want to catch the consumer’s eye and optimise their own potential.

Dreyer Kliche’s customers are mainly print houses and finishing companies. “We supply them with innovative precision-made bespoke dies and hotfoils from our business partner Foilco to complete their ­printing solutions,” says Conni Dreyer, the company’s ceo. “They might come to me with a layout and ideas ­for foils, embossing techniques and varnishes, and we’ll discuss which foils to use and how we can create a die to suit the materials they want. After that, they’ll send us a pdf file, and from that we’ll create the die in either magnesium or brass, which they mount on their own embossing machine.”

Magnesium flat foil dies are ideal for short- to medium-run foiling. An average printing house could achieve up to 25,000 to 50,000  prints depending on how the printer treats the die and the material to be printed onto. “We generate a negative film from the customer’s pdf image,” Dreyer explains. “This is exposed onto the magnesium plate, which is then placed in an acid etching bath. The resulting image stands up on the die, to a height of normally between 1.5 and 2 millimetres.”

Brass flat foil dies are more expensive and are generally used for medium- to high-volume runs, up to 250,000 to 500,000 prints. These are machined using carbide tools in a computer numerical control (cnc) machine.

“We also produce embossing dies that raise the image out of the paperboard and debossing dies that push the relief inwards,” says Dreyer.

“Our multi-level embossing dies are produced using three-axis machining. Each die is made to our customers’ individual requirements and depends on a range of issues such as board thickness and surface.” The dies take up to three days to produce, depending on the complexity.

Package showcasing multilevel combination technique. The golden finger is a combination of hot foil stamping and embossing. The black circle with the W has a snake pattern.

When it comes to book covers or luxury packages, there is a growing awareness of the importance of quality. Studies have shown how quickly consumers make purchasing decisions, and adding a high-quality finish to a package can really make a difference. “We know that foiling, embossing or a combination of both make a product more appealing and can boost market share,” says Dreyer. “When Colgate toothpaste added a holographic foil to one product pack in their range, consumers thought the product in question was the flagship product, even when it wasn’t.”

Over the last few years, Dreyer Kliche has been developing new products and techniques. “Our strategy is firmly grounded in quality, innovation and service rather than price – there’s nothing cut-price about the services we provide,” Dreyer says.

“However, we are always seeking to innovate, and we recently developed Espialle, a cheaper alternative to hologram foil that can include two or three images in the die.”

Dreyer Kliche has also recently developed a bubble die that, when printed with foil, gives a 3d mirror effect on a flat surface.“What makes us different is our overall approach to graphic finishing,” Dreyer says.

“At Dreyer Kliche we understand the marketing power of our finishes and know how they trigger an emotional response with the consumer, resulting in better sales. We’re optimising packaging potential at the point of purchase, and this is where the focus needs to be. Customers who truly understand this are looking to companies like ours and asking for more, which makes this a fascinating field to be in with huge potential for innovation.”

Golden hot foil with an Espialle effect, which means that texture is used in the foil. See the small skulls in the eyes. Blind embossing in several layers. Made from a brass tool with both a male and female part.


Facet embossing with a copper foil and a holographic foil on top of each other. All embossing details are in the same tool, a multilevel embossing tool.

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