Global Cosmetic Industry enlists its "makeup artist" to apply metallic highlights.
Cosmetic companies are well-known shine fighters, mobilizing generation after generation of face-conscious consumers with their "Powder to the People" battle cry.
Yet the industry also endorses a little strategically placed shine, from lip gloss to body glitter, as a means to accentuate the positive.
No wonder, then, that Global Cosmetic Industry (GCI), a monthly trade magazine published by Cleveland-based Advanstar Com-munications, dazzled readers last year by printing one of its covers on holographic metallized paper.
Typically, the publication's cover features a standard four-color photo—
usually a product shot, reports Laura Watilo Blake, GCI's senior graphic designer. Still, when opportunity knocked, the magazine was willing to try out a new look for an issue.
In this case, GCI opened its doors to Unifoil, a Passaic Park, NJ-based laminating, coating and metallizing specialist, and to Crown Roll Leaf, a manufacturer of hot stamping foils and holograms in Paterson, NJ. The companies had a prior relationship: GCI covers cosmetic packaging, which is a target market for both Unifoil and Crown Roll Leaf, explains Keith Hammer-beck, director of manufacturing services for the publication.
Hammerbeck and then-Editor Nancy Jeffries decided to develop a cover using Unifoil's UniLustre metallic paper, incorporating Pixel-Grafx holography from Crown Roll Leaf. They entrusted the project to Watilo Blake, who had just been hired to art direct GCI and another Advanstar title.
Simplicity by design
The trick for Watilo Blake was to create a design that would work well with the substrate. "We knew that there would be a little variation [in the positioning of the metallized paper] on the press, so we had to come up with a really simple design to pull it off," she recalls.
Working on an old SuperMac 700 (soon to be upgraded to a G4), Watilo Blake mocked up several different preliminary designs, taking into consideration a number of factors.
"The cover actually consists of two [UniLustre] sheets," she points out. During the design process, she had to keep in mind that the primary metallized sheet would serve as the cover itself and that a smaller sheet—featuring a hologram—would be fused to the top of the primary sheet. Ink would be printed over part the primary sheet to cover some of the substrate and allow title logo placement.
"It was difficult for me to visualize at first," Watilo Blake acknowledges. "The [metallized] areas of the cover just appeared blank
"Fortunately, we had just upgraded to Photoshop 5.0, which allowed me to save the cover as a DCS 2.0 file, which, in turn, allowed me to view the [substrate] as a fifth color," she adds. (A DCS file includes an individual file for each separation, as well as a composite view.)
Still, GCI wasn't comfortable signing off on a screen view—or on output from a digital proofer. So the magazine went to press to review each iteration of the cover before making a final design choice. "There was no way to do an internal test," Watilo Blake affirms.
Hammerbeck received press sheets of each design from the printer, Banta Corp., Long Prairie, MN, and sent them to Watilo Blake and to Jeffries. (To complicate matters further, GCI's staff is scattered around the country. "I'm in Cleveland, the editors are in New York, digital prepress is in Duluth, MN, and scanning is in Eugene, OR," Watilo Blake notes.)
So, what worked and what
didn't? The final version includes a white background created by printing opaque white ink over some of the cover (with the metallized substrate showing through as text), allowing the hologram to really pop.
"Originally, we planned to fade the color on all four sides [of the holographic UniLustre sheet], but the ink was not laying down at 100 percent opacity—we weren't getting a pure white—so we went with a hard edge," Watilo Blake remembers. "We also tried printing yellow over the [paper] for a gold effect, but we didn't go with that."
Once the design was final, Watilo Blake output the final Quark file. She reports that she sent a copy to Unifoil so the vendor could measure the dimensions and tailor the substrate to the design.
"[Banta] ran the cover through the press three times-first to print the back cover, then to overlay the white ink, then to print our logo," Watilo Blake recalls.
The process was smooth, although not completely so. As expected, there was some variance in the ink positioning, approximately 1⁄8˝ vertically and horizontally, according to Hammerbeck. "So, we just made sure that the ink
overlapped that much on all sides." he states.
"The biggest production issue was how to handle the back cover," he asserts. "Since we used [UniLustre] on the front cover and spine only, the tack of the ink ended up pulling some [of the metallized surface] off, leaving us with a slightly ragged edge [as the seam between the metallized and regular stock]. There was nothing we could do about that."
If GCI were to use UniLustre again, Hammerbeck would prefer printing the entire cover on the substrate, either working with the back-cover advertiser to take advantage of the paper or running a dust cover.
"All in all, though, the project was well worth it," he declares. "We received more comments about this cover than any other I remember."
The feedback was overwhelmingly positive, Watilo Blake concurs. "I'd gladly do it again," she declares.
"[Designing the magazine cover] was fun and I learned a lot," she concludes. "If there's a next time, I might try different opacities of color over the foil, or create my own [hologram] instead of using an existing design. I've seen some pretty amazing samples from Unifoil."