Each year the Gold Leaf Awards, sponsored by the Foil & Specialty Effects Association, honor original and technically difficult works in 28 different categories which creatively incorporate foil stamping, embossing, die cutting, or specialty effects. this year LasX took home the Bronze Leaf Award in the Laser Cutting category for the unique Warhol Invitation that uses laser cutting in an innovative, non-conventional way.
The 2011 Gold Leaf Awards were recently announced at the Gold Leaf Awards Banquet during FSEA-IADD Joint Conference in Las Vegas, NV. Design, execution, and level of difficulty were used as criteria to judge hundreds of entries submitted by trade finishers and commercial printers from across the globe. the Contour Creations® digital finishing division of LasX submitted the Warhol Invitation, which demonstrates that you don’t always need printed details to create a stunning design. In this case, less really is more.
Often people perceive laser cutting as simply an alternative to metal die cutting, used for creating shapes or cutting out the perimeter of graphic art pieces such as cards, invitations, and folders. In reality, laser cutting is an extremely versatile finishing method which can be used in a number of creative ways – including, as a replacement for printed text.
Each letter on the Warhol Invitation is comprised of a series of very small laser cut circles. One might think that this text was perforated, however the design is actually laser cut, as opposed to adjusting the laser setting to perforate. This creates a very high degree of precision when processing these extremely small features. Each hole is completely uniform and round. this technique creates a delicate, sophisticated look that cannot be achieved through traditional metal die cutting.
There are lots of ways to utilize this laser cutting method to transform graphic arts pieces. as you can see, using laser cut circles as text can create interesting effects with light. or, add a contrasting colored backing to reveal color through the text to make the design pop. this technique doesn’t have to be reserved for text; try using laser cut circles as a pattern to embellish design features or call attention to graphic elements on cards, invitations, and promotional pieces. these unique effects cannot be achieved using ordinary printing and for this reason, laser cutting is a great option if you’re looking to add interest and depth to a design. this example illustrates a simple way to elevate a plain printed invitation that will be sure to please guests.
The back of the Warhol Invitation is clean and free of processing artifacts and debris. Even on white paper stock, there is no clear evidence of discoloration due to the laser cutting process. Each material reacts slightly different to laser processing and it is important to test material prior to a full production run. however, high quality laser systems, such as the LaserSharp® LPM which processed this invitation, are able to significantly reduce or eliminate discoloration, resulting in a beautiful finished piece from front to back.
Have you seen an innovative use of intricate laser cut circles? How do you plan to incorporate this technique into your next project?