The ins-and-outs and ups-and-downs of Lenticular


My earliest experience of lenticular print was a giveaway in a cereal packet, but lenticular has come a long way in the intervening years.

Lenticular is a process of printing on a sheet of plastic lens, which allows the creation of “moving”, morphing, flip or 3D images. Not to be confused with a hologram (the ghostly foiled 3D images you find on a credit card), lenticular offers vibrant colours and expansive movement.

How does it work?

The lenticular plastic lens material is made up of an array of optical elements, called lenticules. These lenticules, a series of elongated plastic lenses, focus, magnify, and direct the right parts of the picture to your eyes. The printed image, which is applied to the reverse of the lenticular lens, is an interlaced background, which looks like a jumble of several pictures. The assembly is actually made of strips of a number of images divided vertically or horizontally that are interlaced such that only one slice of each image lies behind each lenticule.

The various images are revealed in sequence to the viewer looking at the picture from different angles, such as walking by a poster or tilting a hand-held card. The lenticular lens controls which slices you see and at which angle. As a result you only see one, reassembled, whole image at each point in time. Through rapid movement, or with smaller lenticules, the images blur together into depth or motion.

Skilled origination of the print images can create a range of effects, such as:

– Movement (images changing with the passage of time)

– Zooming (the same image taken from different distances)

– Morphing (one object sequentially turning into another)

– Flip (two relating objects flipping from one to the other)

– 3D (the creation of a sense of 3D perspective)

What can it be used for?

Lenticular is fast becoming a more mainstream marketing technique. It can be used as a direct mail piece, in a brochure, tipped onto a magazine insert, incorporated into a point-of-purchase piece or used as a poster. One of the interesting aspects of lenticular is not only the cool effects that can be created, but the affect those effects have on consumers. Lenticular has a significantly increased stopping power. Studies have shown that 3D increases the stopping power of advertisements by as much as 5 times and increases the staying power by 4 times in relation to 2D advertisements, whilst we all know that young children love to collect lenticular cards. These facts are key reasons as to why marketers continue to utilise lenticular for attention-grabbing campaigns.

How do I get started?

As with all innovative print processes, lenticular is only as good as the design concept it is used for. As a specialist printer of lenticular, we can only work with the artworks we are given, relying on the vision of the designer to produce striking images.

However, there are parameters that have to be considered when designing a piece of lenticular print that will define the finished piece’s effectiveness. What is the environment in which the piece will be viewed? What will the lighting be like? Will it be backlit? Will the lenticular lens be incorporated into another piece? Will it be tipped on, glued in, bound in or supplied loose?

But the good news is that no special artwork is required. The multiple images that make up the lenticular piece need only be supplied as if for any normal process print job. We do the rest in the origination process, so no special knowledge is required on the designer’s part.

…. and finally

I have only scratched the surface of what lenticular print can offer the designer or marketeer. As they say, “the proof of the pudding is in the eating”! If you have any interest in the process and what it has to offer, please contact us for samples, prices and information.

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