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Print Panther bets big on embellishments

Company president Christine Yardley discusses the role of embellishments in shaping consumer behaviour

April 20, 2024  By Nithya Caleb

Print Panther Direct is one of the few printers marrying a giclee print with digital embellishment, such as this Frieda Kahlo art piece. Photo © Print Panther Direct

Late last year, Print Panther Direct, a commercial printer in Oakville, Ont., invested in a Konica Minolta Business Solutions Jetvarnish 3D Evolution press. This was five years after it installed a Jetvarnish 3DS embellishment press. The new press has a sheet size of 29 x 47 in. and 800 GSM stock compatibility.

“Evolving our print to meet our clients’ needs is both what excites us and keeps us in our leadership position. The acquisition of our new Konica Minolta MGI Jetvarnish 3D Evolution with its larger sheet size opens up exactly the kinds of opportunities we like to seize, and our clients like to take advantage of. Brands will always be about their emotional pull as well as their physical appeal and the two should be inexorably linked,” says Christine Yardley, president, Print Panther Direct.

“Just as their emotional appeal must keep abreast of the latest consumer insights so the physical appeal has to communicate its relevance with its contemporary look and tactile feel. We live in an age where people expect change and ‘newness’ to keep them engaged. Packaging designs trigger memories, ideas, or semiotic associations that in turn ignite emotions. The technology we now have with our new Konica Minolta MGI Jetvarnish 3D Evolution press builds on our core mission statement of printing print that matters, creating more meaningful interactions between the consumers and the physical presence of the brands we serve,” she adds.


Eight years ago, Print Panther Direct evolved and decided to focus on embellishments. At that time, “we were not thinking about tactile engagement, emotional connection, perceived value, or packaging psychology. I am quite certain most printers did not think about it. We just knew our clients wanted more. And technology was a great place to start in wanting more for the printed page,” Yardley recalls.
After numerous projects and awards, Print Panther Direct better understands the science behind the power of embellished print.
“By better understanding the influence of print, especially when enhanced with embellishments, we can help shape consumer behaviour, drive brand success, and by using eco-friendly printing practices, appeal to environmentally conscious consumers as well,” Yardley explains.

Christine Yardley, president, Print Panther Direct. Photo © Print Panther Direct

The five-second rule
She talks about the five-second rule, which is widely used in marketing. Conceptualised by author Mel Robbins, the idea is that consumers take only five seconds to choose a product. This decision is “often influenced by various factors, including product familiarity, brand recognition, and prior experiences. While the ‘five-second rule’ may not be an exact measurement of the time consumers spend on product selection, it underscores the importance of capturing attention, communicating value, and instilling trust in our choice,” shares Yardley. “Embellished print is for me, next generation print. I believe in a world driven by a new generation [that’s] driven by a true sense of purpose and authenticity.”

Return on investment
Investing in new technologies like embellishment costs money, so printers must ensure a good return on investment.

Yardley agrees and shares, “Embellishing the printed sheet is not new. What is new is that it can be done digitally. Being able to provide embellished print digitally opens more doors to more business. There is always the balance when acquiring a new press of the initial investment and when you start making a profit. The opportunity to improve profits on a print job exist with digital embellishment. But more importantly to me than per page profit, is the recurring revenue when you supply a product that is unique.”

Gicleee prints
In 2023, Print Panther Direct won a Canadian Printing Award in the Specialty Effects category for “Freida – Giclee and Digital Embellishment on Fine Art Piece,” which was a giclee print of famed artist Freida Kahlo. The project was printed on an acid-free, PH buffered, 100 per cent cotton rag, matte stock, using Epson SureColor P9000/Konica Minolta Jetvarnish 3D Evolution and ifoil Press.

“Giclee prints are extremely high quality, archival grade, digital prints that use an ultra-fine inkjet printing process to produce images of intense colour and vibrancy. Embellishment with digital foils and spot varnish adds another dimension to giclee prints, making each print a unique, collectible, and stunning piece of artwork,” explains Yardley. “In giclee printing, no screen or other mechanical devices are used and therefore there is no visible dot screen pattern. The image has all the tonalities and hues of the original painting. The Giclee printing process provides better colour accuracy than other means of reproduction. Archival quality ensures that the prints are light-fast and not water soluble. The spot varnish brings a depth to the intense color of the artwork.”

The Canadian Printing Awards jury agreed, as they described the piece as a great example of modern art reproduction.

Print Panther Direct is one of the few printers marrying a giclee print with digital embellishment, and Yardley is excited about the opportunities this coming together of two technologies presents.
“The world of art and design often pushes the boundaries of what’s possible with print. We work with artists and designers who continually explore embellishment techniques to create visually stunning and thought-provoking pieces,” she adds.

This article first appeared in the January/February 2024 issue of PrintAction.

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