We offer every finish you can think of – from foiling and embossing to die-cutting and in-house assembly. Do you want something to be cool, quirky, possibly soft touch laminated… or even iridescent shine? No problem, we’re all about creative freedom. With our ability to replicate and produce foils, silver and metallic inks, coupled with our variety of finishes, we create highly effective superb quality mock-ups fit for any purpose.
We believe in being the best. We have the best resources, the best practices, the most up-to-date technologies and a whole range of in-house capabilities.
We mix old printing techniques with new to produce you the most effective, stylish and unique results. Our range of lithographic, digital, UV printing and finishing equipment allows you the creative freedom to push boundaries with your ideas and concepts. There is no mock-up that we cannot produce! Let Litmus create your visions for a bolder, brighter and smarter future!
Everyday packaging – from household boxes, food items, cosmetics containers and magazines – are produced by a variety of print processes. There are many points to consider when deciding which would be the most appropriate print solution, including budget, quality and quantity required.
Deciding what substrate to be printed is an important factor too. Flexography, rotogravure, screen and digital printing are best for flexible packaging. Offset lithographic printing and digital are more suitable for general print onto a board or paper.
What's Digital Printing?
Our extensive digital printing department can handle almost any mock-up type. Whether flexibles – such as flow wraps, quad bags and bread bags – labels of any kind, or cartons, corrugated and shrinks, the beauty of digital mock-ups is the speed and quality, not to mention the reasonable cost. We are able to print on any substrate and accurately reproduce the vast majority of pantone colours. All of our digital printing kit is kept up-to-date and profiled on a regular basis to within 96% of the FOGRA Colour Gamut.
With our latest investment, we offer the ability to digitally simulate emboss & deboss effects, various varnish levels, matt, satin and spot gloss as well as the very effective tactile effects that can be produced. By digitally printing onto metallic substrates with a white layer, we can very accurately replicate foiled effects of many colours.
What's Silk Screen Print?
Screen printing is a printing technique that uses a woven mesh to support an ink-blocking stencil.
The attached stencil forms open areas of mesh that allows ink to transfer onto the material. A squeegee is moved across the screen stencil, forcing ink through the threads of the mesh.
To complement our wet proofing and digital capabilities we also offer silk screen printing to add a 3rd dimension to any mock-up, from bright bold colours to strong backing whites and tactile finishes. More recently pearlized/pearlescent varnishes have been added to our services.
What's Wet Proofing?
Wet proofs are the most accurate way to see exactly how your finished product will look after printing.
If you’re printing a four-colour process job, or designs that require spot colours, wet proofing is an ideal way to ensure accuracy and clarity. We use the exact same materials and colours to create the proof that would be used for the job – even down to the exact same inks.
Litmus can have special inks mixed either on site to pantone references or use the services of a specialist ink company and have the inks supplied pre-mixed. This is recommended for a trial run prior to a large volume production run. Special ink mixes could then be ordered, in advance in larger volumes, assisting consistency throughout the print run.
We take your repro’d files to perform a ‘pre-print test run’ to get an accurate idea of how everything will come together in your final packaging – highlighting any problematic areas and helping you understand any issues prior to going to press. Wet proofing is also helpful, as you would not need to attend a print press pass and quality issues can be excluded, saving time and money.
Wet proofs can be produced on a variety of different substrates, paper, board, acetates, polythene, tin and many others. Often materials may need to be pre-mounted onto a carrier board for stability to ensure perfect registration, but we will guide you on this.
Each ink is applied to the rollers, one colour at a time, then the substrate handfed, one sheet at a time. This is a time-consuming process, usually starting with a minimum of 60 sheets printed for the first colour down. Then each time, the ink duct and rollers are washed down to remove any traces of the previous colour. The second lithographic plate for the next colour is mounted and then added to the ink duct. Registration is checked and fine-tuned prior to running this second colour on top on the first. At each stage the ink density is checked to ensure the print is within the print specification for reference for the printer to match, enabling the same result later on the high-speed press.
We have the latest colour matching software and a Spectro photometer, which can read any colour and break it down part by part. This result is then entered into our ‘colour library’ which enables us to build a profile and remix the colours should the project advance.
We invite all of our clients to attend proofing sessions.
Lithography or lithographic printing is a high-speed printing technique used to print packaging, books, newspapers, maps and posters. It‘s a form of offset printing, which means that it uses a printing plate to transfer a design or image to a roller and then a substrate.
Litmus use the latest computer to plate technology. We offer a service to have special inks mixed, either on site to pantone references or using the services of a specialist ink company to formulate an ink from a spectral reading LAB file or CXF file, in order to match precisely on your chosen substrate and run to exact densities and dot gains to ensure consistent colour control.
We also have the latest colour matching software and a Spectro photometer which can read any colour and break it down part by part. This result is then entered into our ‘colour library’ which enables us to build a profile and remix the colours should the project advance.
We are able to take your repro’d or design files and perform a file check to get an accurate idea of how everything will come together in your final packaging. Highlighting any problematic areas and helping you understand any issues prior to going to press.
Litmus have a team of colour experts for exploring colour results in a variety of print environments. We offer a variety of colour matching solutions to fit every project need. If you can think of it, we can develop it. Yep, that’s any colour on any material or substrate, including specialty finishes.
We make it happen. With print there are so many options and with options come creative possibilities!
Picture this… You’ve just contracted some incredible new artwork for a project and it is now time to have it printed. But have you thought about how you’d like it to be finished? Did you consider that your project could use some spot varnishes, embossing and possibly hot foiling?
Digital finishes – replicate foiling & embossing
Want your design concept to look great by using a different, quick, high quality result? Then digital finishes may be the one for you. Using up-to-date technologies and equipment (not forgetting our creative brains), Litmus can replicate print finishes to a high quality to provide you with modern, visually appealing mock-ups that will bring your design ideas and concepts to life – without the additional finishing time.
What's Cold Foiling?
Add foil detail to any design with a cold foil application – a cost-efficient solution. Once applied, cold foil can be overprinted with offset lithographic ink in register, again using the lithographic process to achieve desired foil hue. This process can be a tone or solid area, depending on the design to achieve the desired effect.
What's Hot Foiling?
Metallic material can be applied to a print surface by using heat and pressure. Foil stamping can add attractive properties to many parts of your design. It’s normally used on text and logos to enhance and add a look of luxury to packaging products.
Embossing raises part of the design, giving it stylish emphasis and texture. Images, logos and text can actually be felt. This finish adds physical characteristics and can even make shadows and highlights of a design striking to the eye too. Multilayer/shaped and micro embossing available.
What's DIE Cutting?
This method produces a similar result to the Cad cutting method, but is usually used for longer runs, dependent upon the design.
Using a blade held within a frame made to a desired shape, die cutting is used to cut out and crease pre-printed sheets of various materials at high speed. These shapes are originated from an artwork file. Sharp blades are used for the cuts and blunt steel blades for the creases. Pressure is applied on a platen press to assist in cutting printed sheets accurately at speed.
Debossing enhances part of the design similar to embossing but inverted to create a recessed image, giving the packaging emphasis, and texture. Images, logo’s and text can actually be felt. Much like embossing this finish adds physical characteristics, and can make shadows, and highlights of a design striking to the eye too.
What's Dry Transfer?
Dry transfers are used with great effect to replicate foiling on a short run of mock-ups as well as keeping the cost low. We are able to accurately replicate many foil colours from almost all foil manufactures.
What's CAD Cutting?
Using the artwork file, the cutter and crease layer is sent to the digital plotter. A pre-set programme is selected to suit the desired outcome, dependent upon the intricate cuts and creases required on the packaging. Various materials can be cut out on the CAD machine and different blades or knives can be switched to obtain the best possible result cutting card, acetate, or E-flute boards up to 5mm thick.
This digital service is perfect for more intricate shapes.
A varnish is a liquid coating applied to a printed surface to add a clear glossy, matt or satin finish. Varnishes can be glossy, (giving the printed surface a sleek, sheen look) or matt (which gives the printed surface a non-glossy, smooth, yet sophisticated look).
We also offer a range of other varnish finishes from spot UV, tactile varnishes to pearlescent finishes.
Add depth to your artwork with a raised spot UV ink or varnish. Additionally, spot UV varnishes are applied to the printing surface and are hardened by UV light. This results in a state-of-the-art glossy coating on the surface.
UV varnishes are usually used as a spot application where it is only applied to specific parts of the page to make areas standout (such as a logo or over pictures). This effectively gives texture and draws attention to different areas of the design, whilst leaving other areas untreated.
What's Cast & Cure?
As a specialist finish, this effect creates a strong visual contrast with holographic effects used on many packaging products within cosmetics, food and nutritional products.
A number of different patterns available to lift your designs, helping them to ‘jump off the shelf’. Different patterns are frequently released, adding to the vast selection available.
With our creative approach, working outside of the usual parameters is something we relish. Our expertise and hands on approach means our clients’ expectations are kept at the forefront of any project.
Always mixing old techniques with new equipment, we can turn our hand to any request you choose to pass our way. With a positive attitude and a can-do approach, we will not disappoint!
What's CGI Renders?
Computer generated imagery is the application of computer graphics to create or enhance still and moving images.
We have the capacity to produce a large number of CGI outputs, helping our clients to visualise the intent of their strategies and brands.
We produce CGI images for a number of global consumer product goods companies across the following media platforms: packaging (all packaging formats localised for all regions), point-of-sale (POS), in-store design, retail architecture, interior architecture, product design and digital animation.
We can create stunning visuals to enhance your brand and/or add that wow factor to your presentations – bringing your ideas and products to life.
We can get involved throughout the whole design process, from concept and image creation through to final production renders.
We use high end 3D software to build bespoke wireframe models, create materials and textures and import artwork, including special effects and finishes.
We use cameras and lighting studios set up in 3D software, to ensure image consistency for your brand. Once your model is built we can render from any angle.
We can output visuals in various formats making them suitable for multiple uses from e-commerce imagery, presentational use through to POS sized visuals. Choose from multiple backgrounds such as transparent, reflective, in-situ, photographic or creative backdrops.
What's Vacuum Forming?
Whether replicating a blister pack, tray or any shape – such as an Easter egg – vacuum forming, or thermoforming, is a great way to represent short runs of shapes for sample mock-up packaging.
Many prototype packaging projects require an inner tray, or blister, within the outer packaging. These molded plastic shapes can be made of a number of different colours and are used to hold the irregular shaped items in place within the outer packaging.
Producing a short quantity can be costly and take time to produce using the manufacturing route. Our service is the ideal solution.
What's Spray Paint?
Need your packaging container to be a certain colour? We have the capability to spray paint a variety of materials to a pantone or colour chip in matt, semi matt & gloss finishes.
From confectionary to packets, we are able to cellophane wrap a wide variety of products for security, freshness or simply to add the ‘off the shelf’ look.
What's 3D Print?
We have the ability to print simple 3D shapes from supplied files to replicate a product or a filling, using various colours of PLA plastic filament.
What's Model Making?
In house assembly – mocked, and dummy filled see your packaging ideas turn into the real thing.