Lamination: Can you still teach an old dog new tricks?

CelloglasInside this month’s print issue: Richard Pinkney is a director at Celloglas, a decorative print finishing company, adding value to printed matter for brands, retailers and publishers. He asks if lamination is still relevant today, or if the market has moved on.

In the 1930s lamination was embraced by the archival community out of a necessity to strengthen fragile documents and to protect against contamination. It was the cool kid on the block when it launched, and it needed specialists involved.

Today document protection via lamination is pretty mainstream; anyone and everyone can achieve this to some degree, from individuals and their home laminators, to businesses and brands using small in-house laminators for their day-to-day requirements.

So, does this mean lamination is no longer special, and that it no longer has a place? Absolutely not – but it is the specialist types of lamination that are keeping it popular, and its ability to provide differentiation in crowded markets.

Over the last 20 years trade lamination has predominantly moved from specialist trade laminators to small in-house laminators; however, there still remains a place for the specialist.

Fundamentally, lamination is still a great way to add a luxurious feel and improve the durability of the underlying paper – this will not change; but what does change, with trends, customer demands, technical innovations and R&D are the variations of lamination, and this is when it starts to get interesting.

For example, Cellogreen is an over-lamination film product that offers all the benefits of OPP but is sustainable, biodegradable and can be recycled. This product has been widely commended for its CSR values and offers brands an easy way to communicate and adhere to environmental responsibilities.

Just recently launched at Packaging Innovations, Celloglas now has new members of the product family. Mirri Lens is a tactile addition; it is a bespoke lens design product, achieved through the lamination of micro-embossed fresnel lens film to the face of high quality boards and papers, it provides a premium, luxury product for high-end carton applications for things like perfume and cosmetics.

The company’s other new development is focused around R&D showing that sometimes less is more, and Mirri Blanco was launched as a stripped back, stylish and contemporary white board, that, when overprinted, offers a subtle shimmer effect.

Lamination definitely has a future. Print has been polarised over the years, with many customers who look for cheaper options moving away from finishing and print, but there has been strong growth where brands attempt to stand out from the market.

As omnichannel retail becomes more widely used, the e-commerce world seems to be waking up to the fact that it still needs to deliver a brand experience through online sales, to replicate as closely as possible the emotions clients experience in store.

This has opened up new opportunities for Celloglas; the company has been working with luxury brands and it is currently in the final stages of R&D with a product that provides a must-see unboxing experience!

Read this article in full in the November print edition of Converter.