Years ago, I wrote about a study conducted by the Digital Printing Council on the lamination (or non-lamination) of direct mail and how the various toner-based presses fared in the mail stream. The topic is still around apparently, since it is kicking up quite a storm in one of the industry discussion groups.
The poster expressed frustration that the USPS had been “particularly cruel” to his non-laminated direct mail piece and was looking for advice on the best way to create scuff-resistant mail.
Here are a few interesting responses:
Well, being in the lamination business for 25 years, you know what I would suggest. Not sure what USPS did and not sure what type of DM you did, but coatings may still scuff. Lamination will certainly preserve the piece from tearing or the ink being scuffed. It will add to the cost, but so will coating or even bagging your piece.
(Chuck Thompson, Business Development Manager, Cosmo Films)
If you print digitally and mail, without coating or laminating, you will get scuffing and poor looking pieces. I see from your profile that you are from the manufacturing side of the industry. Welcome to the user side. Toner does not absorb into paper. It sits on top and is easily rubbed off by rollers . . . Next mailer, budget for coating or laminating or have it run on old fashioned offset lithography.
(Ed Keenan, Owner, Document Depot [NYC])
Ryan’s dilemma may create an interesting opportunity for him. DM users are always searching for ways to improve response. It is possible that film lamination could add visual impact that would do just that. For the next mailing try laminating half of the pieces, then mail using an A-B split (every other name receives the laminated piece). Code the labels, address, or response piece to show which lot generated every response. You may be surprised at improved results.
(Mike Burrows, President and Owner at Burrows Consulting, Inc., Washington D.C.)
Other suggestions included printing on synthetic substrates, using offline UV, and to keep costs down, using a lighter weight stock and laminating only on the messaging side and leaving the address side uncoated.
What was interesting was that, once the suggestions were proffered, they solicited responses from other group members who found that, at least from the technical side (not the marketing response side), it didn’t seem to matter whether the prints were laminated or not or printed on synthetic stocks or not. It’s so nice to have a consensus, isn’t it?
What’s your experience?