Lenticular Overview

Although lenticular printing has been around for nearly 50 years, most people have never heard of the technology. When describing it to people we meet, we usually say “it’s an image that looks like one thing from one angle and like another thing when viewed from a different angle”. To that, the response is usually, “ohhh… a hologram”.
Well, a hologram is in fact something very different but no sense arguing with customers! A hologram is not printing but something closer to photography where an emulsion is exposed to reflected light to capture an image. That image can then be viewed by laser light or in some cases, any pinpointed direct light source.

Lenticular is in fact a specialized form of traditional printing and is most often done on a traditional lithographic press. The name “lenticular” comes from the fact that the image is printed onto a plastic sheet that contains tiny lenticules. The image is interlaced in such a way that when viewed behind the lenticular sheet, the lenses hide one image and show you the other. As the viewing angle is changed, the image that is revealed cycles from one to the next, creating an animation.

These animations can form a flip, a zoom, a morph, or a full animation that almost appears to be a small video.

The alternative effect to animation is depth or 3D. This is achieved by running the lenses vertically and interlacing the image in such a way that the lens shows one image to the viewer’s left eye and another to the right eye. The difference in what the two eyes see creates an illusion of depth.

Lenticular images have been used for years to entertain with common subjects being cartoon characters that dance or wink. In recent years however, marketers have recognized lenticular printing as a powerful way to convey a marketing message. While using traditional print applications like postcards, magazine inserts and trade promotional material, marketers can now introduce animation to both capture the attention of the target as well as convey the message more effectively.

For example, Roche Pharmaceuticals used lenticular printing to create an insert into a home blood test for diabetics. The image shows the blood tester in action including where to push the button, where the swab comes out and the entire functionality of the product. This image explained far more than traditional printing ever could. The message was so successfully conveyed through this use that Roche has decided to incorporate the lenticular into the packaging for the product.

A more simple but equally effective image is the simple flip image. Many marketing stories can be told by simply having one image change to another. Many clients have a product or company name change and want to show the before and after. The Cub company has changed to the Bear company and wants to tell the world. By producing a lenticular postcard and sending it to their client base, they not only insure that it will be noticed, but they trumpet their message without the need to read the copy. The animation is fun but more importantly, it tells the story.

Picking a vendor to produce a lenticular project can be intimidating as most people have never been involved with the technology (or even heard of it for that matter!). So in picking a vendor, it’s a good idea to talk to the companies out there (a search engine like Google can help you find them) and find one that has been in business for a while and sounds knowledgeable (there are very few that meet these first two criteria). After narrowing it down that way, the most important qualifier should be samples. There is quite a range in quality that exists in the marketplace and a quick look at a vendor’s samples will separate the cream from the milk. Although price is always a consideration, if you simply pick the cheapest supplier, you may wind up with something that is of no practical use. If the quality is not there, you may be better off using traditional print which is less expensive than the cheapest lenticular.

World3D has been producing lenticular printing for more than 10 years and has grown into the leading supplier to the promotions industry. We invite you to call, ask questions, request samples and find out for yourself why we serve the top clients in the marketing world and give us a chance to earn your business as well .


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