One of the things we love most about our job is that we get to work directly with some of America’s best packaging designers. The most successful projects are a collaborative effort between the brand owners, designers, and packaging vendors to make products that capture the customer’s interest and imagination. These projects use a variety of decoration techniques like embossing, spot varnishes, and screen printing to achieve a high level of complexity and depth. Of all the decoration techniques, hot foil stamping stands out as the most effective. At a relatively low cost per piece, hot foil can be used to create outstanding, multifaceted compositions very economically. We’ve compiled five hot foil projects we had a lot of fun working on to demonstrate the versatility of foil stamping, especially when used in combination with digital printing.
St. Petersburg Distillery: American Royal Mead
How do you position your product as ‘royal’ without overdoing it and creating something gaudy? That was Dunn&Co’s dilemma when they set out to design a label for St. Petersburg Distillery’s premium mead product, American Royal Mead. In early discussions we discussed a product that looked like it came straight out of Game of Thrones. This was achieved by using gold hot foil (a lot of it) contrasted with a muted, flat gold ink, all set on a black vellum material. This created a sense of depth while still using only two colors, gold and black. By using two different golds, a ‘flat’ gold and a ‘shining’ gold, the designer was able to create a palette to work with, while delivering a monochromatic label. American Royal Mead shows that foil works very well as the whole subject of the label, it’s opacity and sheen let it stand out even against a jet black background, so it’s more than capable of standing alone in a label design.
Seventh Son Brewery: Bourbon Barrel Aged Oubliette
Minimalism has been an ongoing theme in packaging design over the last few years, and for good reason. If you have a great product, and a strong brand identity, why not design products to match? With its Bourbon Barrel Aged Oubliette, Seventh Son Brewery wanted a label that spoke to the high quality of the beer, but also their commitment to quality and craft. We worked with their design to make a simple silver ‘S’ (their logo) on a white wine stock. It was simultaneously stark and complex, the shining silver on the textured background created a label that was immediately eye catching. Much like the American Royal Mead Label, the Bourbon Barrel Aged Oubliette just goes to show that foil can speak for itself, not needing much else.
Devil’s Head Distillery: Vodka, Gin, & Aquavit
Hot foil doesn’t just come in golds and silvers, it is available in everything from holographic patterns, to being completely clear, or even black. Ryan White, the owner of Devil’s Head Distillery in Englewood, Colorado, wanted his iconic ‘devil’s head’ logo to stand out from the rest of logo. We originally discussed a spot varnish but after further consideration, realized we needed something more dramatic. We ended up using a gloss black foil to stand out from the otherwise matte wine stock material. The design also utilized bright text that stood in contrast to gloss black image of the in the background. The Devil’s Head Distillery labels demonstrate what a versatile tool foil can be. Simply looking at it as a way to add gold or silver to a label overlooks a whole range of possibilities.
Mission Coffee: Packaged Coffee
When Mission Coffee increased distribution of their premium coffee, they needed packaging that communicated what their brand was about. After going over a variety of foil options, their design team came up with a series vibrant, bold colored labels for each variety of coffee. They were all pulled together by a consistent foil design with a detail of Columbus, Ohio, in the middle. This creates a consistent look across the whole brand, and demonstrates the high quality and craftsmanship of the product inside.
Middle West Spirits: OYO Olorosa Wheat Whiskey
Foil doesn’t always have to be incorporated into the label; sometimes it can act as an actual ‘stamp’ or quality seal. In the case of Middle West Spirits’ OYO Olorosa Wheat Whiskey, it is used as more of a quality mark than to accentuate a specific part of the design. The foil is actually stamped on and then die cut out, but it looks like it is applied overtop of the actual label. This references many older quality seals that were actual separate labels applied overtop of the traditional label.
Of the hundreds of foil labels we’ve done, these are just a few that have stood out for different reasons; hopefully they give you some ideas. For a relatively small investment, foil can add a great deal of depth and complexity to your labels. If you’re interested in seeing more examples or understanding the process, give us a call and we’ll be happy to talk about it.