Packageprinting: Best Dressed
By Cory Francer and Ashley Roberts

Best of Show — ASL Print FX


To help distinguish each of the table wines under its Girls’ Night Out brand, Ontario-based Colio Estate Winery emblazons an image of a dress on each label,with each variety of wine featuring a different dress.

But after “wearing” the same dress for more than seven years, the team at Colio Estate Winery decided it was time for its Girls’ Night Out chardonnay to don anew outfit. Allison Modesto, the Girls’ Night Out brand manager, explains that she wanted this dress to be different,so the winery decided to create a little competition.

First, Girls’ Night Out contacted two local colleges in Toronto, George Brown College and Seneca College,which both offer fashion design programs. Students were brought on board to submit dress designs and the staff at Girls’ Night Out narrowed the submissions into three finalists. The idea was that three separate labels would be produced, adorned with one of the finalists. Then, Modesto explains, consumers could vote for their favorite, which would become a permanent fixture on the chardonnay.

Modesto explains she knew that printing a run of three individual labels wouldn’t be easy, but luckily forGirls’ Night Out and Colio Estate Winery, ASL Print FX, one of the premier label converters in the industry, is located nearby in Vaughan, Ontario.

“All of the treatments that are on the labels really came at the recommendation of ASL,” Modesto says.“We knew we wanted to do a holographic foil on the sequined dress, but it was ASL that made the suggestions of where to put the embossing, the gloss and the certain details to call out. In doing so, they really brought the dresses to life on the bottles.”

According to Charlie MacLean, president and CEO of ASL Print FX, there are two essential keys to creating a standout label. First, he says the printer and brand owner need to communicate frequently, so both parties are on the same page as to what exactly is desired. Second,the printer needs to assess the technology they have in their arsenal and how it can be maximized to achieve the customer’s vision.

“It’s looking at all the tools we have available to be able to say, ‘Here’s what we can do with this,’”MacLean says. “It takes a strong communication effort to appropriately merge what the customer design is trying to achieve and how we can make that a reality on press.”

ASL Print FX ran all three labels simultaneously on its Gallus RCS 330, using a process developed in-house to produce the multiple images. In addition to the varying graphic on each label, the job included foiling, holographic elements and raised varnish.

But, according to Stacy Daly, ASL Print FX’s VP of operations, what really stands out about this label is its precise registration.

“If I’m a printer looking at this, the thing that’s going to amaze me is the registration, especially as you start adding other mediums,” Daly says. “Registration on just straight plates is one thing, but then when you add silkscreen and you add stamp — all of those things combined make this a difficult process.”

Anita Birus, an account manager for ASL Print FX,worked closely with Girls’ Night Out to help transition the designs submitted by the college students into graphics for the wine labels. She explains that through consistent communication, both parties worked together to make it a seamless transition.

“We worked with [Colio] to properly capture the students’ design intent on press, combined with identifying which design elements to enhance so as to create the desired ‘pop’ on the shelf,” Birus says.

While both ASL Print FX and Colio Estate Winery were thrilled with how the labels came out, they also amazed the judging panel of the 30th annual packagePRINTINGExcellence Awards. The label received Best of Show accolades in the competition, along with first place in the Wine and Beer Labels – Flexo (Line andText) category.

“This was a great print job incorporating many decorative effects,” said Bill Enright, applications specialist for Mark Andy. “The interesting mix of different images repeating add to this label’s appeal.”

Second Place Overall — Bennett


When Welch’s needed a large corrugated display project completed on such a tight deadline that litho wasn’t a feasible option, most converters would have had to turndown the job. But for Bennett, a Lee’s Summit, Mo.-based corrugated converter, it was a perfect opportunity to turn to its new Barberan JetMaster high-speed digital printer —the only one installed in North America.

According to Craig Bradley, VP of manufacturing atBennett, without the new digital printer, the order intended for display in Sam’s Club stores would possibly have been a missed opportunity. But, he says now that digitally printed corrugated, especially of this size, has become a reality,it is revolutionary for the industry.

“I think [the digital printer] is a total game changer,”he says. “It is disruptive technology that no one has had to compete with. This is going to be a direct attack on litho for corrugated.”

Although the single-pass digital printer was just installed in August of 2015, Bennett was able to take on this project shortly after, thanks to extensive training and testing, as well as the “fairly flawless installation,” Bradley says. And even though the team has run other projects since installation, he says that this particular project happens to be his favorite.

“The sweat on the grapes looks real,” he says. “Some of the grapes actually look cold. … The design was very digital printer friendly.”

The client was also pleased with the result, along with the judges in this year’s package PRINTING Excellence Awards.

“The deep purple,life-like grapes had incredible detail in the graphics,” says JohnHennessy, product manager for EFI and one of the competition’s judges. “Direct to corrugated digital is so new, it is amazing to see this level of print quality.”

It isn’t just the quality that makes digitally printed corrugated a force to be reckoned with — it’s the timeliness of the process. The setup only takes about five minutes,versus the three to four hours it could have taken if the project was run flexographically, Bradley explains. Or had litho been used, there would be a lead time to receive the labels in-house.

“I can print off one sheet and it will look exactly as the entire order will run,” Bradley states. “You can’t do that with flexo or gravure. You can get a proof from litho, but it isn’t always exact.”

Needless to say, with the reduced time to produce,the reduced investment in tooling/raw materials, and then the resulting quality, this particular project has brought in more business from the client.

“It’s always good to knock it out of the park on your first order,” Bradley says. 

Third Place Overall — McDowell Label

While it is a visually engaging label, featuring two separate foils, tactile doming and sharply printed text and graphics,these aspects of the Shadow-X label printed by McDowell Label are not what made McDowell’s VP of Technology,Jay Luft, most proud.

Instead, he explains that what stands out about this label is how McDowell was able to satisfy a customer located across the world.

This job was produced for a brand owner in New Zealand.While McDowell Label is headquartered in Plano,Texas, the company serves brand owners from around the world and on every continent. Communicating and interfacing with customers is paramount to understanding the needs and achieving brand success, so Luft explains the company does not see geography as a barrier.

He says that during the label development process, both sides discussed how the final label should look and the customer provided McDowell Label with a basic layout. But,the McDowell team was given the freedom to implement its own creativity to ensure the customer’s vision was realized.

“In the case of Shadow-X, they wanted the soft feel on the edges of the face, but they also have some very defined detail within the face structure,” Luft says. “Our team listens and even challenges the brand owner regarding how we would execute or approach the artwork to achieve their desired look.”

In addition to the crisply printed graphics and text, Luft says the special effects of tactile doming and foiling also created a unique visual experience in the way the label interacts with light and offers differing depth perception.

“We employed the tactile doming only in certain areas of the silver foil and not in other areas to offset and make the foil more brilliant, more reflective and create more depth,”Luft says. “This is going on a round container, so as your eyes move across this container, you get different light refraction and different depth perception by the use of the tactile dome.”

The label, which earned first place in the Labels-CombinationProcess category, was produced on a Gallus multiprocess flexo press and featured a transparent foil, silverbacked foil, tactile doming and gloss and matte varnishes