Winning attention: Kwality Offset Printers’ Kamet whisky label

Krish Chhatwal of Kwality has led the vision for the award-winning label at FlexoTech Award 2022, about which the judges said, “The multi-layering of elements with exquisite precision delivered a beautiful and desirable finished product that exceeds the sum of its parts.” Chatwal shares the details with PrintWeek.

11 Nov 2022 | By PrintWeek Team

(r) Krish Chhatwal with his father, Rajeev

PrintWeek (PW): How did you plan the execution of the award-winning Kamet label?
Krish Chhatwal (KC):
Kamet is an Indian single malt whisky producer that prides itself on local production from indigenous barley. From a packaging design point of view, the brand's requirement was to match its digital label sample printed in Australia using three kinds of foils and a special wine paper. We planned to highlight all elements using a special mesh of rotary screen to add a 3D tactile effect on a metallic substrate, which would give them a similar look as well as be cost-efficient. 

PW: Great. How do you select the labels that will go as Awards entries among the many you produce?
Krish Chatwal (KC): 
Labels are selected considering the categories and what the judges are looking for. There is also a gut feeling that this particular label has all the right things, from design to print embellishments and quality to the final packaged look.

PW: What was the print run?
The print run was between 10,000 to 15,000 labels.

PW: And approximately how many days production period?
The process is long. It takes 8-10 hours to complete the job and has multiple passes.

PW: For best design practices, one might only consider colours and imagery first.  At the same time, the sizes and shapes of the labels are of significant importance. What R&D went into producing the award-winning labels — concept and design phases?
The idea was to do justice with the bottle and bottle label. We had to create a canister label that matched the end product created before the canister was launched. So we had to keep all the other elements in mind to create a more luxurious final look.

PW: What were the challenges?
Many. The first was to match the canister labels with bottle labels already created in Australia. We had to give it a more luxurious look than other single malt whisky competitors in the market. Next was adding 3D tactile embossing to all elements in the job, even the minutest of the lines and dots. And finally, finish the job successfully with a soft velvet touch, giving it three foil shade effects.

PW: :How did you overcome these challenges? 
We overcame these challenges using Kodak technology for platemaking, which gave us great print results. When it comes to pre-press, we used hybrid software to create all the layers. Our expertise came into play with years of experience to pull off such a complicated label in a single pass.

PW: As you said, the core of producing any labels is the pre-press process. Which plates were used, and imager and processor? In terms of the technology used, how were they instrumental in producing the perfect labels?
Kodak Flexcel NX system was used in producing the plates. There is no dot gain or blurry images when using this system. Although Kodak plates are known to be more expensive than its alternatives, it's worth it when you are creating masterpieces like the Kamet Whisky Labels. 

PW: Was there anything special that was done during the pre-press process?
It is commendable how different layers were created during the prepress process to get the needed results. Hybrid software was used to create important spot UV and white layers with utmost precision. 

PW: Print equipment used to produce the labels?
We used a Mark Andy flexo press. Mark Andy machines are known to give excellent results even at high speeds. It was truly instrumental in producing this wonderful label. We were confident that the job could be pulled off on this press. 

PW: To get this right, how many proofs did you have to create?
We had to create four to five options and undergo various rounds of proofing before finalising the concept. 

PW: Can you elaborate?
We devised the final label after various brainstorming sessions with our client. Our digital machine helped us and the client to produce fast machine proofs with minimum wastage, giving very close results to offset/flexo technology.

PW: How did you select the material and the decoration of the labels needed?
The selection was made based on various things: the budget we had in hand, the client's taste keeping the final look of the entire product in mind, and what would convey the Indian consumers to pick up the bottle from the shelf.

PW: What role does this substrate/ink/coating play in producing an award-winning label?
We, at Kwality Offset, always believe in using the most premium quality raw material (RM). Everything is always transparent, and we never indulge in using cheap RM that hampers our job quality as well as label performance to get our costs down. Our years of expertise have helped us choose the correct compatibility of all raw materials, resulting in such award-winning labels.

PW: What substrate/ink did you ultimately use?
We used DIC, Siegwerk, Fuji inks, and the paper was from Vacmet India. 

PW: Do producing labels entail many processes? What is the thing to watch out for when so many processes are involved?
There should be a QC check in-between each stage with proper work information on orders. Everyone involved in the entire production chain should be well aware of the final output that the client requires. 

PW: Are there more labels you have produced this year that are prospective award winners?
There are many more labels which we are developing in various segments like FMCG, pharma, nutraceuticals and even liquor that may become world label award winners.

Krish Chhatwal: At a glance

How do you unwind? I like to try new restaurants and watch movies.

One health regime you have? I spend one to two hours at the gym or doing a sports session every day.

Favourite snack? Desserts by Delhice.

Your favourite chocolate? Lindt Choco Orange.

Favourite book (Fiction / Non-fiction)? The White Tiger.

One thing about the Kwality Offset Printers that no one knows? We know how to party.

One factory you visited which WOW-ed you? CS Labels in the UK.

One trivia about New Delhi that no one knows? Been to numerous cities, but no one can beat Delhi's food.

One phrase that you deploy daily? In life, there is no such thing as impossible.