Using Holograms & Holographic Foils
If you’re not sure of the difference between a hologram and a holographic foil, then read on! This primer should help you decide which option will work best for your creative vision as well as your budget.A hologram is a unique design element that is
used to create an area of emphasis, dramatize a product, include a security feature, or add secondary visual rhythms to a logo, border or panel. A holographic design can be applied in several ways, most commonly through the use of a holographic laminated paper or board, or through the process of foil stamping the hologram.Two separate basic types of holograms are utilized in paper decoration today. The first, pattern “wallpaper” holograms, consist of a continuous pattern throughout the design. This is the only type that can be used with a holographic paper or board. Holographic patterns can also be used in the foil stamping process to apply the pattern in specific areas on the substrate.The second type, image hologram, must be registered in a specific place on the finished product – this type of hologram must be foil stamped and applied with special registration equipment.Holographic Patterned Foils
Holographic patterned foils consist of various elements or geometric designs repeated in either a random or structured pattern to create a two-dimensional effect. As the angle of view changes, individual elements within the pattern produce an illusion of depth, while the shimmering, prismatic effect creates a spectrum of changing colors.Many standard holographic patterns and colors are available. Common patterns include rainbow (oil slick with no actual pattern), kaleidoscope, broken ice and specific random shapes such as snowflakes and stars. The most common background color is metallic silver, but holographic patterns also are available in gold, red, blue and several other metallic colors.A relatively new product on the market today is clear holographic patterns. The foil product is completely transparent with a holographic pattern running through it. It has become quite popular on children’s books, greeting cards and folding carton applications. It’s most often foil stamped over the top of a printed image to provide both additional gloss and a holographic sparkle.Common applications for holographic patterns include packaging, greeting cards, book covers, brochures and special event invitations.Laminate or Foil Stamp?
As mentioned earlier, holographic patterns can be laminated to an entire board or paper, or they can be foil stamped in specific areas of the stock. The decision on what is best suited for a specific application depends on the coverage involved with the design.If the design includes complete coverage of the pattern, then a laminated stock is probably the best option. However, if the holographic pattern is in a specific area of the design, then applying the pattern through the foil stamping process is going to be the most efficient and cost-effective choice.Image Holograms
There are several types of image holograms in the marketplace today. An image hologram includes a specific image or design embedded into the holographic foil. Image holograms are most commonly applied through a foil stamping process where each image on the foil roll is stamped in register utilizing specialized sensors that read each image as it is stamped on the finished product.Many applications for image holograms deal with security issues to guard against counterfeiting. Countries around the world utilize a specially made image hologram for currency. Other security applications include driver’s licenses, software and other financial documents. Images are also created for promotional uses on cartons, greeting cards, presentation folders and more. Because of the cost of an image hologram, it has a limited range of applications – and in most cases, it’s used for security purposes.Image holograms can be produced in several different forms. The following is a quick review of some of the more popular types of image holograms:Three-dimensional holograms are created from inanimate objects. With this type of hologram, an actual model of the subject is used and is ‘holographically’ recorded, appearing to have true depth when viewed under direct light. This is one of the more expensive options when producing a hologram, but is also one of the most unique and secure methods.
Multiple-plane (2D/3D) holograms are produced by layering images on several planes to create a three-dimensional scene. The image planes may contain two-dimensional scenes or three-dimensional objects, or a combination of both. Each plane seems to float at a different level and shift position slightly as the angle of view is changed.
Stereograms are sophisticated, three-dimensional holograms capturing a sequence of live, moving models. Produced with the aid of a movie camera to record individual “frames” of action, these frames are then transferred to foil, creating an illusion of three-dimensional movement forward and backward as the image is tilted from side to side. As one might expect, stereograms are more time-consuming to produce and therefore more expensive than other forms of holograms.Dot matrix holograms allow the implementation of unlimited computer-controlled and laser beam-engraved dots in the hologram. It is the result of designs comprised of many tiny dots, where each dot is a separate mechanism to split and defract light into several beams traveling in opposite directions. It is an inexpensive and relatively new way to create a holographic image that is completely computer-generated.A lot to consider, but your printer or finishing specialist will be able to help you decide which is best for your project. Whether you use holograms and holographic foils, whether for serious security or as attention-getting marketing devices, I hope this information will make using them easier, more effective … and fun too!Please post a Comment to this Tip – and let others benefit from your wisdom. Thanks
Jeff Peterson is executive director of The Foil & Specialty Effects Association (formally the Foil Stamping & Embossing Association), a nonprofit graphic arts association dedicated to furthering education on print enhancement processes, including foil stamping, embossing, UV coatings and laminates. For more details, please visit www.fsea.com or call 785-271-5816.