THE POWER OF TOUCH
While few dispute lenticular's ability to dazzle, some competitors aren't convinced the technology is ready for prime time. The process's higher material costs, heavier weight, and longer cycle time are some of the arguments competitors make.
"Check in again in two years," says Eric Roberts, director of graphics technology for The Lehigh Press Inc. Roberts wonders why publishers would choose lenticular graphics when there are other faster, less costly, simpler processes for corralling shoppers' attention.
"The biggest trend right now is tactility," Roberts says. "Covers that appeal to the sense of touch excite readers, whether it's textures or embossing, or processes like UV curing that give the visual illusion of embossing without actually embossing."
Roberts is especially enthusiastic about a UV-cured book cover Lehigh recently created for Pearson Education Inc., Upper Saddle River, N.J., publishing under the Prentice Hall imprint. The educational title, Biology: Exploring Life, features a dramatic photograph of a reptile's eye.
The image appears almost three-dimensional, and the creature's scales have a spectacular raised look and feel.
UV treatment doesn't require new equipment, which keeps costs down, Roberts says. The technological part of the solution is a liquid, with a workflow that's faster than embossing, foil, lamination, and decoration. It also leaves the cover's flip side perfectly flat, and available for printing.
"Embossing has been a perennial winner for eye-catching covers," Roberts says. "But you have to choose between height or detail, because it's very hard to get both in the same die."
Lehigh uses three new Bobst stampers, and two Geitz stampers, to lay down foil and embossing effects. The company works on a variety of embossing and foil projects for publishers chasing vivid cover effects.