The Power of Specialty Print Proofs for Cold Foil Printing


Seeing is believing. And in print, it’s extremely important to see how your artwork and specialty effects will translate into real life labels and packaging, through the power of custom print proofs. Print proofs provide a more accurate representation of how your final design will look, before sending for mass production. Though thoughtfully designed, the shape of the final package, store lighting, packaging contents and many real-life factors can quickly cause your product to flop, if not vetted through a proof and design process. Furthermore, packaging with specialty finishing effects have additional elements that can impact the presence of your final printed product. Cold foil, metallic inks, specialty coatings, and other finishing options can attract the eye and differentiate your packaging – but only if done right.

At K Laser Technology, we created the Mockup Service at our Design Lab to assist designers and printers in perfecting designs, with foil and holographic elements, to reach their packaging goals. With over 30 years’ experience in cold foil manufacturing, we have witnessed firsthand how cold foil and holographic substrates can make or break your print. In this blog, we’ll discuss the power of custom print proofs with specialty effects and important considerations to help you achieve your best holographic print design yet!

What is a Print Proof?

Artwork proofs are a digital or physical representation of how your final design will look when printed on press. Provided in a PDF format or physically printed product, a print proof will allow the designer to better understand how the artwork interacts with the elements affecting the packaging experience, before produced en masse.

“It’s best to request a new print mockup every time you create or modify a print design, add specialty effects, work with a new printer, or use a new cold foil or consumable. Each of these factors should be vetted to produce the best possible solution for your product,” says Nerissa Ignacio, K Laser Technology’s Creative Director.

Print proofs can be sent via

mail, reviewed in person, or sent as a photo for those requesting a virtual option. You can receive a print proof through your printer directly, a design consulting agency, or FREE through the K Laser Technology Mockup Service at our Design Lab.  Keep in mind, printers don’t offer mockup services that include print embellishments such as cold foil and holograms. K Laser Technology can complete most print proofs, with specialty foil and hologram effects, within 2 business days to ensure your project stays on track. With in-house packaging and label designers, our team can not only create the mockup, but consult and modify the artwork to achieve the packaging experience you envisioned.

Common Print Proof Discoveries

Now that we’ve covered the fundamentals of print proof, let’s talk about the power they have to bring brand-killing elements to your attention. Here are some of the common issues we’ve spotted through projects completed at our Design Lab.

Wrong Cold Foil Color or Pattern

What may be the perfect metallic accent in a flat AI file, could clash with the design once printed in a 3D format. A print proof will display any conflicting elements between the design, specialty effects and product packaging, giving you a chance to try different colors and patterns to find what suits the product best.

Bad Cold Foil Placement

Now that you’ve chosen the cold foil color or pattern, ultimately, it is all about strategic placement for maximum impact. For instance, intricate foil patterns can become overwhelming if placed next to or behind heavy text or elaborate graphics. We may recommend adding heavy cold foil patterns next to solid colors so it POPS. Additionally, silver and gold foils can get lost if on light or clear backgrounds and we may recommend adding more white space or additional elements to increase the WOW factor of the foil, depending on the print proof.

Clashing Overprint

For designers that spec-out printing ink over foil substrates, proofs will give you a better idea of what the actual ink color will look like on the final product. Often, the foil will slightly, or drastically, change the visual color the eye sees, and you may need to modify the design or double print the ink using two color stations to achieve the saturated color that matches the brand.

Product Content Conflict

For packaging that displays the internal product contents, it’s important to see how your artwork will look with the product displayed inside. We’ve witnessed beautiful spirit labels be completed drowned out by the caramel color of whiskey or rum inside the glass. Additionally, folding cartons with window displays need to consider the color of the internal contents and pair with a contrasting or complimenting color or pattern to effectively display the product.

Print proofs that include specialty effects can save you the time, cost, waste, and massive headaches associated with full production runs that, in reality, are a complete design fail.

Important Design & Print Considerations

Though extremely powerful tools for strategic artwork design, we must note that print proofs do have some limitations. At K Laser Technology, we always explain to our clients the following key considerations:

  1. Print proofs are not fully registered press proofs. They are often printed through short run inkjet applications and may be slightly off register.
  2. If overprinted, a print proof may still not show the full color of the ink, due to, again, the digital print technology used to create the proof.
  3. Applied cold foil may appear slightly distorted or crinkled on the proof, as a result of the digital transfer technology used for short run, off-press foil application.
  4. The paper or substrate used to print the proof may be different than the final substrate used on press. Though your Mockup service provider should work with your print manufacturer to ensure the closest match.
  5. Depending on your print partner, a proof could take up to 5 business days to be completed and shipped. The K Laser Technology Mock Up Service is proud to have a reputation of sending print proofs within 2 business days of the request.

Ultimately, a specialty print proof is not the final product and should only be used as a tool for designers to modify design conflicts visible in a 3D format. When you work with the K Laser Technology, you can rest assured our team will bring to light any and all factors that affect your final design, so you can perfect your artwork for print. Though many printers do not offer print proofs that include specialty foils and holograms, K Laser Technology is one of the only providers of print proofs and design assistance services for projects using cold foil and holographic films. With the largest selection of cold foil colors and holographic patterns in the industry, combined with experienced packaging designers on staff, K Laser Technology can assist your team from initial design, to proof, to printer-designer collaboration and beyond. Partner with a knowledgeable specialty print partner so you can focus on creating viral packaging solutions for your clients and brands.

Designers and printers are welcome to schedule a consultation at our Design Lab located in Sarasota, FL. In the lab, creatives can better collaborate on specialty effects and view design inspiration in person. Contact our team today to request a complimentary mockup service and let’s get started on your specialty packaging designs today!