Foil hacks: Get a high-end label for less

‘The first moment of truth’ is a phrase coined by Proctor & Gamble CEO, Alan Lafley, in 2005. He was talking about the moment that takes place when a consumer first encounters a product label on a shelf. He claimed that it’s in this moment – within two to four seconds – that the purchasing decision is made.

Our clients understand the importance of this moment, just as we do at Luminar, and some of them have decided that ‘foil look’ embellished labels are the best way to make that moment count.

What are foil embellished labels?

Known to most consumers as ‘a foil embellishment,’ these label finishes have a reflective silver, gold or bronze surface that looks similar to aluminium foil but without the weight. Foil embellishments have been popular over the last decade in labelling and packaging because they’re seen to promote a sense of luxury and add value to a product.

Wine label with foil embellishments image

Example: Bronze foil embellishments on eggshell Estate #8 paper stock

Foil embellishments were first used for decorative purposes including Christmas tinsel and ribbons. Now many food items, such as chocolate bars, are packaged using foil because of its sparkly quality – thought to outshine competing products printed on paper or polymer film.

There’s two ways to apply foil finishes in printing: Cold foil and hot foil. Although the visual differences are hard to spot by the untrained eye, they both lend themselves to certain job requirements. However, both can be costly due to the processing time and materials.

What’s the difference between hot and cold foil labels?

Cold foil is a process whereby printers apply a special UV-curable adhesive on a label surface that’s contrasting in colour and texture (for example, Estate #8 paper stock), then press the foil into the paper. The foil takes to the sticky areas to create a reflective surface. The foil is then sealed into the label with a UV light.

Hot foil is more of a lengthy process. First, printers create a die cut, or stamp, of the desired design of the foil embellishments. Then, the die is mounted above the paper or label and heated (hence the name ‘hot foil’). The foil slides in between the label and the heated mount. The pressure of the two surfaces binds the foil with the label.

Historically, only specialised tradesmen have been able to offer these kinds of label printing services.

Bling on a budget

For most small to medium print runs—which is fast becoming the norm in our industry—foil embellishments are not cost effective and design options are limited. So, we put our thinking caps on and came up with a simple but effective solution. We used digitally printed CMYK + white on silver metallised material to achieve a premium foil look without the price tag. The results speak for themselves:

Alex Sabba

Alex Sabba is an exclusive line of organic, Australian-made hair care products that needed a label that would speak to the quality of its brand. To achieve this label finish, we used CMYK printed on silver metallised material with a matte laminate.

Within a month of hitting the market with its new product labels, Alex Sabba was picked up by AMR Hair & Beauty, Australia’s leading beauty supplier.

Alex Sabba metallised film label image

A luxe label for a luxe product



CodeClean produce high-end car detailing products with their signature CODE professional shine. A high gloss label is a natural match for their brand. To achieve this look, we used CMYK + white printed on silver metallised material with a gloss laminate.

Other clients that have recently taken advantage of our metallic embellished label ‘hacks’ include Elemental Nutrition, widely known for their scientifically formulated ‘perfect’ protein powder, and Urban Spa, the Australian owned skin care and luxury spa brand.

CodeClean carnauba wax foil label image

Code’s signature high shine carnauba wax

Ready to get started?

At Luminar we’re always investing in new technologies and solutions so we can create almost any label that our customers crave. Need help with a shiny new label? Ask us for a quick quote today.

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Bonus: Download our free eBook to reveal the steps to making a successful product label from start to finish. The eBook includes more than 8 new hacks to make your product jump off the shelf.[/box]