What’s bright, shiny and lights up the eyes of consumers?

Could it be the glinting, gleaming point-of-purchase signs from sports apparel giant Under Armour? The breathtaking silver ink from MetalFX Technology? Or the eye-popping printing?

How about all three? That’s what happened when science and technology collided with great marketing to create a series of Under Armour retail signs with shiny metallic accents.

THE QUEST FOR HEAVY METAL: Achieving an authentic metal effect is one of the grail challenges for designers and printers. Metallic ink can yield a dull, muddy patina if used in certain combinations with CMYK, varnishes, aqueous coating or surfaces. Even under the best circumstances, metallic ink can be unpredictable from job to job. It minimally simulates, but does not accurately replicate foil or the reflective and textural properties of real metal.

That is, until MetalFX Technology developed its MFX Mirrasheen formula. Mirrasheen is the company’s top-of the-line spot color sheetfed offset ink.

The ink technology gives customers a valuable, viable alternative to conventional offset metallic inks or mechanical foil stamping. The disadvantage of metallic ink is that it tends to chalk, scratch or rub off. The alternative is to seal it with aqueous, varnish or UV, but the impact gets dulled. MFX Mirrasheen is more resistant to rub off than regular metal ink, while the brilliance and shine is a night and day difference.

With a name like “Under Armour,” it is no surprise that a distinctive metallic look is incorporated into their print collateral. The brand is instantly recognizable in retail displays, due in part to its consistent use of metal as a visual anchor.

Tray has worked with Under Armour for over nine years using variations of spot metallic (PMS 877) with notable results. But Under Armour marketers were seeking something even more eye-catching and appealing for their signage. A press test with MFX Mirrasheen was run, and they fell in love with it.

Under Armour directed Tray to use MFX Mirrasheen as a spot color on the “Performance” POP series which features red, blue, and orange display signs. The result is a “metallic sheen as dramatic as…a silver Maserati in moonlight…as an Athenian shield against the dawn…as a coil of fresh-lathed steel,” exclaimed marketing projects manager Craig Shaffer. “It’s by far the best ink-based metal solution we’ve ever encountered.”

Brian Burlace, sales executive for the Under Armour account and president of Tray, said, “we have been fortunate to partner with UA and they appreciate us keeping them apprised of technological advances in the industry.”

“From printing their jobs stochastic to using MFX metallic ink, their brand has been able to carve out a unique niche in their print advertising,” Brian added.