"If the customer chooses one of [the] standard patterns, such as starburst or concentric diamond, there are no additional die charges. The cost is in the ballpark [with] foil stamping and embossing."
Visual Systems is looking at new inks and coatings. Pearlescent inks from Germany recently caught the company's eye.
"The metallic effects traditionally done in foil are now available as ink," says marketing manager Burg. "They're more expensive than four-color ink, but significantly less than foil stamping."
Lehigh's Roberts sees innovating new techniques as a core mission. His company has six people who share R&D responsibilities as a multi-disciplinary team.
And with lenticular processes adding lenses and shrinking material depth, increasingly life-like 3D animated graphics will become more affordable and commonplace, says Outlook Group's Traub.
Indeed, Outlook Group's manufacturing partner, National Graphics, is aiming for 7 mil, 200 lens/inch material. Outlook Group tested the new material, and is now using it for pressure sensitive labels and tip ons.
It's not perfected for all manner of projects, but is ideal for certain requirements, Traub says. "Currently the material has some limitations in effects and final size that we can produce," he says.
Now that the battle for cover attention is in full swing, the front is expanding. R.R. Bowker's Grabois says the next competitive struggle for attention will take place on back covers.
"Increasingly, competition is making publishers provide back covers for on-line and catalog marketing, and with that, the need to grab attention there will grow quickly," Grabois says.