December 16, 2021

Ever wondered how to make your printed project stand out from the competition and jump off the shelves to customers? Apart from an organization’s marketing efforts and selling points the best way to easily differentiate your printed products to get an edge over the competition is with embellishments. Embellishments are the individual decorative aspects of a larger printed piece that draw attention to certain areas of the print which are deemed important, or they can be used to create a more visually stunning printed piece. When implemented effectively by experienced craftsmen, embellishments can convince customers of the quality, care, dedication and attention to detail your organization provides its customers. Embellished pieces can also command a higher price point depending on the nature of the product, due to its luxurious look and feel.

There are various types of embellishments which can be employed in a number of diverse ways on your printed products. While some embellishments may be very obvious and jump off the print, others can remain more subtle and powerful. With nearly limitless possibilities and combinations of finishing techniques here are the major styles traditionally used:


Foil Stamping:

Digital foil stamping consists of applying a hot stamping foil, adhered to the printed piece with an ink or varnish. Since this finishing technique does not require a die, it provides greater flexibility in terms of personalization and can be used on a wide variety of run lengths without issues.


Embossing is the process of creating a die (a personalized metal plate engraved with the image you want to emboss) and utilizing stock (any number of paperboard materials). The die is then pressed onto the stock in a fashion similar to a stamp and the extreme pressure slightly raises the image on the stock. This creates a 3D effect that emphasizes a particular area of the design.


Debossing is almost the opposite of embossing where an image is raised into the die and then imprinted on the print piece, creating an indented effect. While debossing and embossing embellishments are created in a somewhat similar fashion, the visual result is drastically different.

Spot UV:

Spot UV involves a clear, shiny coating which is applied to specific areas of a printed piece, as opposed to coating the entire surface. The outcome is a spectacular contrast between the uncoated matte areas and the shiny UV coated areas which reflect light. Ideal for highlighting specific eye-catching aspects of your printed piece.

Coating and Laminating:

Coating and lamination refer to the processes in which pressure and heat are utilized to adhere a thin layer of plastic (also referred to as laminate) to a paper or card stock. Coating and laminating are primarily used to provide customers with an altered tactile experience; however, these processes also offer a higher vibrancy to printed color gamut and offer additional protection from the elements. 

Die Cutting:

While die cutting can be used in various stages of the print manufacturing process it can also be utilized as an embellishment feature. This process utilizes a steel cutting die to cut thin stock materials into a certain shape. Using unique shapes and cuts can peak customers’ attention, give a look at the product inside your packaging, or to create unique art aspects which could not be achieved with other methods. 


Sleeking is an on-demand foil stamping solution primarily applied to short-run digital print. Unlike foil stamping there are no dies needed for sleeking which allows for amazing special effects while remaining budget friendly in some cases. Sleeking technology can apply a simple finish such as gloss or mate, a metallic background such as gold or silver, or even a full coverage to create a unique, brilliant piece.


Superior’s Latest Technologies:

Superior Packaging and Finishing has always strived to be a leader in the print finishing space by incorporating the latest in custom printing technology. In 2021 we have added two new machines to further our commitment in providing our customers with the widest range of services and customization imaginable. 

Autobond FL 106 Thermal Laminator:

Superior’s latest acquisition- the Autobond FL 106 Thermal Laminator- is utilized primarily as a 1 or 2 sided sheet-fed, thermal film laminator for long runs. This laminator operates with a maximum sheet size of 106 x 106 cm and a minimum sheet size of 28.5 x 32 cm, with a max speed of 394 ft/min. This machine was custom built specifically for Superior Packaging and Finishing, our version features additional rollers to increase coating stability and durability, made possible by increased roller surface area. Our version also features a rewind roller with pressure sensitive laminate capabilities, ideal for plastics and outdoor signage due to this process being heatless. 

This machine also greatly increases the productivity and effectiveness of sleeking jobs because of its ability to print to the edge of a sheet. While not used for every job, sleeking on this machine is good for projects with lots of colors, specialty items, or items with immense detail due to the fact multiple custom colors can be achieved with one pass. This machine also offers increased scuff resistance when compared to foil board and can achieve much cleaner cuts even with heavier paper.

MGI Jetvarnish 3D Evo
MGI Jetvarnish 3D Evo

MGI Jetvarnish 3D Evo:

Another recent acquisition by Superior is our MGI Jetvarnish 3D Evo, coined ‘the next generation digital enhancement machine’. With the ability to coat up to 3123 sheets per hour this machine employs the Artificial Intelligence SmartScanner to create an automatic varnish and hot foil registration for inkjet heads over the preprinted sheet. This machine can provide multiple variations of makeready samples in as little as 5 minutes, offering over 2,000 texture options which can be applied anywhere on the sheet. Furthermore; Superior can take any aspect of the preprinted image, select it, and create our own textures with that segment of the preprinted sheet. This machine also possesses the ability to run variable print, keeping lines sharp and ensuring consistency across variable units. Due in part to our close-knit relationship, MGI is developing textures specifically for Superior and its clients which can be expected in the near future.


August 26, 2021

Printing technologies such as variable print and print-on-demand have opened up new doors to personalized products and an enhanced customizable experience. Personalization has not only become a major trend but an expectation for customers. At Superior we always aim to forecast and capitalize on emerging print industry trends, providing top-level service to clients and partners alike. Superior is well suited and equipped to execute various projects for personalized products. Our investments in state-of-the-art technology and machinery provide us with the opportunity to offer limitless personalization opportunities. 

Driving Customer Satisfaction

With the rapid emergence of personalized products on the market, there is some level of expectation for personalization from customers because it leaves them feeling valued. Personalization allows a business to differentiate its products from competitors or similar finished goods, creating a value add for these products. Certain aspects of personalization lead consumers to feel as if the product they are investing in is unique and personal, which helps bridge a meaningful connection between the brand and customer. A positive customer experience has a direct correlation with a businesses success. The positive experience generates 20% higher “customer-satisfaction rates, which also generates customer loyalty, contributing to an increase in average customer value. It’s a win, win! 

An example that puts the value of personalization into perspective is Superior’s collaboration with well-known media publication Tasty (a division of Buzzfeed). Tasty wanted to develop a custom, personalized cookbook and requested the cookbook be designed, launched, and ready to sell by Black Friday. This left Superior with 30 days to execute the unique project. Due in large part to our advanced programmatic processes, we were able to comfortably meet that deadline. Superior collaborated with Tasty to create an algorithm which prompted customers to select 7 (of 20 possible) meal choices, generating 50 recipes (of 120 total), resulting in 15 trillion possible options. Every cookbook was created entirely from what each customer selected, discouraging any two from being the same. The personalized custom cookbooks reached over $1 million in sales during the first month of launch. 

Fully Customized Tasty Cookbook

Personal Preference

Research has concluded that 80% of consumers are more likely to buy a product from a business that provides them with a personalized experience. Similarly, when consumers were asked if they would prefer to wait for more personalized products coming from smaller companies; opposed to receiving a product fast from a company such as Amazon,  74% of them said that they would rather wait for personalized products from the smaller companies. Not only do consumers prefer waiting for a personalized product, but when consumers feel like a business has successfully provided them with a personalized product or experience, they are likely to shop for the brand three times more frequently. This aids in facilitating a relationship with a customer that encourages not only repurchasing but also a sense of satisfaction, pride and joy. 

With the proper technologies and a knowledgeable team, adding an element of personalization to a project can be quite simple. From a strictly business standpoint, the advantage of personalization is that it allows businesses to up-charge for a custom product, when very minimal change is needed during the manufacturing process. In some cases, a job might only require one item or part of a product to change in order to create an element of personalization. At Superior, we have the experience, resources, and technology to successfully execute adding any degree of personalization to a product. We have the capability, skill, and machinery to work with all types of printed products and binding styles, such as photobooks, gift books, mailers, candles, and countless other printed goods. Superior technological capabilities provide our organization with the tools to transform basic, static printed products into complex variably printed goods with endless levels of personalization.