G7 Qualification


Hemlock Printers has once again achieved G7 Master Qualification, having successfully completed training, examination and a qualification process of our print production processes, validating our capabilities to the highest level of global industry standards and specifications.

Awarded by Idealliance, a not-for-profit industry group dedicated to guiding print production best practices, specifications, and standards, worldwide, G7 is an industry-leading set of best practices for achieving gray balance and the driving force for achieving visual similarity across all print processes. The application of this method enables Hemlock to consistently meet our customer’s objectives for brand colour, quality and control across all printing types and substrates.

“Hemlock is proud to have once again achieved G7 Master Printer Qualifications,” says Jeff Taylor, VP Manufacturing and Product Development. “This designation means our clients can continue to rely on Hemlock’s quality and colour reproduction on both digital and offset presses to maintain brand consistency from project to project.”

If you have any questions about what G7 Master Qualification means for you, our customers, please contact your Hemlock Sales Representative, or email Colleen Moyles at cmoyles@hemlock.com


About Idealliance

Idealliance© – Where media creators and technology communities collaborate to craft best practices, advance standards, and certify people, processes, and systems to achieve the highest performance in creation, production and delivery of graphic communications.

Unveiling two new UV treatments

We are very excited to introduce two new, unique UV treatments –
High-Build Gloss and Grit. These treatments are exclusively available from Hemlock’s XL-UV press and is an exciting extension of our R&D efforts to develop more tactile choices for your print project’s success.

High-Build Gloss has seven times the density of a normal Gloss coating, and you can truly see and feel its shine, dimensionality and appeal right away. The biggest break-through – it’s available to use on UNCOATED stock.


High-Build Gloss coating on Coronado SST 100

Grit is best described as feeling like coarse sandpaper – it’s rough and gritty texture is sure to instantly capture the reader’s attention (and retention) once they touch it.  It’s an excellent treatment for cover applications on catalogs, magazines, reports and other critical communication pieces.


Grit Coating on McCoy Silk

We suspect that you’d like a few more details on these two new options – that’s why we asked Jeff Taylor, Hemlock Senior VP Manufacturing and Product Development, to answer some questions we think you will have.

What is the difference between Regular Spot Gloss and the new High-Build Gloss?

Regular coatings are about 4X the film thickness of traditional lithographic ink. High-Build coatings are 7X heavier than regular coatings, or approximately 30X thicker than lithographic ink.

I was told I could not achieve a gloss coating on an uncoated stock – what gives?

Hemlock combines the High-Build Gloss coatings with an innovative primer that avoids traditional absorption into uncoated stocks. Not only is the product glossy, it’s thick enough that you can feel the relief.

How many passes does High-Build and Grit require?

They can both be done in a single pass! You would only need additional passes if you were to combine them with additional effects, such as Soft Touch.

How many other printers are successfully using these techniques?

Specialty coatings are only available from a limited number of suppliers and we have worked very closely with our key suppliers to bring this to market. One of our key suppliers has communicated there are only TWO other printers in North America, besides ourselves, that have been successful.

Why did you decide to pursue these types of UV treatments?

Our customers consistently stress the importance of innovation, especially for cover treatments and packaging. These new offerings fit our clients’ needs, allowing them to differentiate their marketing solutions from competitors.

Anything else we should know about choosing these options?

Due to the extreme thickness of the specialty treatments, we suggest they only be applied to one side of the sheet.


Our technical specs are on the back of each card

Have any other questions that we haven’t answered yet? Leave us a comment, or email your friendly Hemlock Sales Representative for more information!

Hemlock creates Harmony with some wrapping paper

4 fluorescent boxes no wrap box

In keeping with Holiday tradition, our goal each year is to combine a leading designer with our own technical team to explore innovative processes using a variety of substrates and techniques to create a memorable wrapping paper set. We were lucky enough to partner with our friends from Burnkit this year, led by Chris Allen. The theme is “HARMONY” and as noted on the case, it’s both technical and creative.

The case and uncoated sheets were printed on the XL 106 using UV technology, while the three coated wrap sheets were printed on our 8 colour (these coated 80lb sheets are perfect for heavier gifts!). The stickers and writing cards were printed on our Indigo 7500.

The Case4 stacked wrap boxes
Printed On: 130lb Topkote Gloss Cover

Two PMS inks were used (Warm Grey 6 and Silver 877). The Silver has a Gloss UV coating applied, while the Warm Grey utilizes Reticulated strike-through technology.


Sheet 01sheet 1
Monochromatic Harmony
Printed On: 70lb Enviro100 Satin Text

What we did: Using a digital RGB image capture, it was converted to CMYK. We then created two additional touch plates to increase the depth and radiance. The two additional colours are Fluorescent UV 807 and UV PMS Warm Red.

A special note when printing UV Fluorescent inks: Be aware they do darken when being cured during the printing process. Also, the nature of fluorescent inks has a small downside, they are not as lightfast as traditional CMYK and PMS inks.


Sheet 02sheet 2
Compound Harmony
Printed On: 80lb Topkote Gloss Text

What we did: Same as all the images, a digital RGB image capture was converted to CMYK. On this image our PrePress specialists created additional CMY touch plates with a goal of expanding the traditional colour gamut. Internally we refer to this as a High Fidelity (Hi-Fi) boost, which utilizes seven colours in total. It also has a flood high gloss aqueous coating.


Sheet 03sheet3
Complementary Harmony
Printed On: 70lb Enviro100 Satin Text

What we did: Similar in concept to “Monochromatic Harmony,” RGB converted to CMYK plus we created two additional touch plates. The two colours are Fluorescent UV 805 and Pantone Blue, close to Cyan, but a different formulation.


Sheet 04sheet4
Double Complementary Harmony
Printed On: 80lb Topkote Gloss Text

What we did: CMYK process plus High Fidelity (Hi-Fi) CMY process and flood high gloss aqueous coating. We encountered a challenge here: with heavy ink coverage (some areas have up to seven layers of ink) sometimes they don’t always behave as expected with gloss coating. When coating is not applied properly, the sheet shrinks, but the acrylic does not. The entire surface cracks, a technical term referred to as “orange peel.” Tell this story around the tree on Christmas morning, it’s sure to be a success!


Sheet 05sheet5
Triad Harmony
Printed On: 80lb Topkote Gloss Text

What we did: We used the same process here as we did on Sheet 4, “Double Complementary Harmony.” Note: While this stock is heavier than traditional wrapping paper, it is the standard weight for many high-end gifts. That moment when your scissors find the sweet spot and it glides through the wrap can be found easily on this sheet.


Sheet 06sheet6
Analogous Harmony
Printed On: 70lb Enviro100 Satin Text

What we did: A digital RGB image capture, converted to CMYK. We then created two additional touch plates. On this sheet the two additional colours are Fluorescent UV 802 and Fluorescent UV 814.


We would love to hear what you think of this year’s Wrap! Leave us any questions or comments below, or if you follow us on Twitter or Instagram, post photos of the wrap using #HemlockHarmony

Happy Wrapping!

Print and a Pint, with a side of Brand Management

On October 8th, Steamworks Uber lounge was home to Hemlock’s latest installment of our After 5 Seminar Series – Print and a Pint. Guests who attended the evening were treated to Steamworks’ fine ales and appetizers, the chance to mix and mingle with colleagues in the creative community, and view a selection of some recent and notable Hemlock print projects. These were all in addition to the main event – a panel of brand management experts sharing how they are tackling a world where staff and clients are asked to do more for less, and in less time.

Oct 8 - Print and a Pint

Hemlock President and COO, RichardKouwenhoven, took to the stage to start the evening as the nights MC and referee.  “Just in case someone gets carried away,” Richard joked. “There are some ground rules – no hitting, swearing or biting. And you don’t have to mention print in every discussion!”

Brand Management panel

Richard posed questions to the evening’s brand experts – who included Dylan Staniul from Burnkit, Tom Duguid from Arc’teryx, and Dave Taylor from Douglas College – about their Marketing Team’s changing roles amidst the trend to pull more creative and digital production in-house. Each had their own unique mix of challenges and opportunities, and readily shared both with the audience.

Douglas College has gone through a major repositioning recently, and chose to keep everything in-house.  An important extension of that initiative is their Domestic and International Viewbooks, which in addition to being excellent tools for student recruitment, have won design and print awards, and he credits that to his design team.

Dave Taylor - Douglas College

“As a public entity we have to be very careful and transparent with how we use our budgets. So our team works hard to justify every expenditure, whether it’s digital or print or out-of-home – it sets the tone for our school. And deadlines are tighter than they have ever been.” And mostly, he suggested proudly, they’ve been successful in achieving the fine balance of all of those elements.

Tom Duguid, from Arc’teryx, noted that globally consumers are more likely to research the companies they support, so naturally they focus on a robust digital presence. He then explained why they chose to also create a Brand-centric printed piece, called Lithographica, intended to extend beyond the initial retail store level. “People want to feel like they are part of a larger outdoor community, and they find stories and messaging in this printed piece that is not specifically brand-centric, but aligns with the lifestyle in a less structured way.” Tom explained, and went on to note, that Lithographica has by far exceeded Arc’teryx’s expectations. The hope was that it could be found anywhere – coffee shops, hotel rooms, ski lodges – and that readers would appreciate it as a stand-alone piece, and that is exactly what has transpired.

Dylan Staniul, after providing some insights into Burnkit’s approach to brand management, succinctly capped off the evening by breaking one of Richard’s rules, when explaining why printed pieces are still so important in a screen-centric era: “Because they look frigging cool!”


Special thanks to Rolland paper for sponsoring the event and Steamworks for providing a great venue! Keep your ears and eyes open for our next Print and a Pint event in Spring 2016!

Getting to know Hemlock Display Graphics

Last month, Hemlock’s sales team got together for their semi-annual sales conference. This meeting started out a little differently – instead of meeting at Hemlock’s head office, the team met at Hemlock’s brand new wide format facility, Hemlock Display Graphics. A five minute walk from our Warehouse on North Fraser Way in Burnaby, the facility is 10,000 square feet and bolsters state-of-the-art wide format equipment.

The morning consisted of getting to know the operations of Hemlock’s newly acquired equipment, hearing from industry professionals about different substrates and also getting a first-hand look at the facility. For each piece of equipment, our wide format crew would showcase the machine in action, the sales reps would eagerly watch as the project was printed and finished and Peter Madliger, Hemlock’s VP of Prepress Services and Jeff Taylor, Sr VP of Manufacturing and Operations, would discuss the specifications and field technical questions from the reps, as seen below.

Wide Format discussion

We witnessed our Durst Rho P10 320R (roll-to-roll) printer create a large mesh banner (below), which was also welded on the Ares 4000 Plus.

Durst Roll to Roll

We also saw our Durst Rho P10 250 (rigid material) machine, printing on Foamcore, and got to see the much anticipated Zund cutter in action. Did we mention it is the largest cutter in North America?

Zund Cutter

As you can see, we at Hemlock are extremely excited about our new wide format facility and the new services we can offer. Stay tuned as we continue to build our expertise and plan for an open house in the New Year to showcase Hemlock Display Graphics to our clients and partners.

If you would like to learn more about Hemlock Display Graphics, tour our facility, or get a quote for your wide format project, contact your Hemlock Sales Representative, or contact@hemlock.com.

Hemlock Display Graphics – Our New Wide Format Print Service

As the needs of our customers continue to change, the print services we offer at Hemlock change along with them.

A service area that we have been asked about more frequently in recent years is Wide Format printing. In addition to the marketing and communications materials we are producing on our digital and offset presses, our customers often require (and ask for) display and signage products that are part of the same campaign. Wide Format projects typically demand the same level of critical quality and service expectation as they are highly visible, high impact representations of the brand and a specific campaign message.

With that in mind, we are very excited to launch Hemlock Display Graphics, a new service offering that will extend Hemlock’s capabilities into Wide Format. Our experience in both offset and digital provides a solid foundation for this service expansion in a number of key areas: established prepress workflows and colour management standards across all print devices; a dedicated and knowledgeable production and service team to support our customers and their projects; experienced project management including those requiring kitting and complex distributions; and of course, integration of our award-winning sustainability practices.

HEMLOCK_WF_5 (cropped for FACEBOOK) - LO RES

In this Inklings post, we thought we address a few basic questions to help introduce our new service:

What technology is being employed at Hemlock Display Graphics?
Hemlock’s signage and display products are produced with industry-leading Durst UV technology, including two rigid and one roll-to-roll printer with up to 1000 dpi resolution. Configured to handle a wide range of substrates, these devices are capable of imaging up to 10 feet wide and 1.5” thick. In addition, we have two Epson printers with water and solvent based technology, a massive Zund G3 precision digital cutter, a thermal welder and automatic grommet machine. All in all, just what you would expect from Hemlock – high quality, large scale production powered by the finest equipment available.

What kind of media or substrates can these devices print on?
Working with the leading suppliers in this segment, we can now source a remarkably wide range of rigid and roll substrates to match your needs for quality, durability and impact. A few popular choices include:

Foamboard:  a great go-to option for interior signage requiring a lightweight yet rigid panel, bright surface and a durable core that doesn’t tear when it’s cut for posters, hanging signs and retail displays.

Corrugated Plastic: One of the most versatile and economical signage media, this substrate can do it all. Is it waterproof? Weather and stain resistant? Absolutely. This is an excellent choice for an outdoor sign that needs to maintain colour integrity and impact day after day.

Vinyl Banner: Ideal for indoor retails signs, outdoor event displays or trade show applications, our banners are available with welded hem, grommets and/or pockets.

Synthetic Poster: This is the ideal poster media for high traffic retail spaces. It’s tear resistant, water resistant, and the UV print offers remarkable colour integrity.

We can also produce exceptional results on Sintra, Styrene, Plexi Glass, Aluminum Panels, Gatorboard, Falconboard, Canvas and Mesh and many other unique and effective media.


How can I learn more? How do I get a quote?
Glad you asked!  You can contact your Hemlock Sales Representative or email us at contact@hemlock.com for more information or to get a quote.

Want to get a peek at our new facility and technology first? We posted some images on our Facebook page, so check them out and let us know what you think!

Hemlock Plant Tours


Come and see what makes Hemlock unique!

Hemlock is excited to announce we will be running scheduled plant tours, with the next one being on Wednesday, May 18th from 9:30 – 11AM.  We’ll be showcasing the full spectrum of print processes, from prepress techniques to our array of Heidelberg offest presses and HP digital presses through to our extensive bindery and die-cutting equipment, all active with live jobs.

This is a great opportunity for anyone interested in learning more about our printing process, and gleaning more than a few insights of the trade from our experienced craftsmen. Following the tour will be a Q+A session with Hemlock’s technical leaders to answer any questions you may have, and to share a few light snacks with your colleagues.

I you are interested in this unique opportunity, please contact your Sales Representative or email Colleen Moyles at cmoyles@hemlock.com for more information and a formal invitation.

Check out our latest video here

Print So Good You Can Smell It

Recent Mrs Meyer's advertisement which used Lavender scented inks.

Recent Mrs Meyer’s advertisement which used Lavender scented inks.

Get your nose ready. Hemlock is pleased to introduce our latest “immersive print” endeavor. Think chocolate, auto leather, fresh laundry, or licorice – just a few of the over 60 scents now available as a “rub and smell” application and another great way to full engage your audience in the print communication they receive from you.

Scents such as citrus, pizza, and not one, but four varieties of chocolate, are standard inventory items available to Hemlock’s customers. And if you happen to be a manufacturer of cosmetics or industrial products and have a custom scent you’d like to use, we can help you get that scent incorporated into the varnish.

For example, Mrs. Meyer’s, a household products company that makes its cleaners from herb and flower essential oils, wanted to have their print advertisement smell identical to their products. They were able to create an identical smell, not once but twice, with ads smelling like their basil dish soap and lavender laundry detergent (which you can smell in our latest edition of Inklings!)

And just a quick technical tip – scents may be applied to either coated or uncoated stocks, but for the latter, we lay down an underprint to pre-seal the scented area – this prevents too much absorption and ensures the scent stays active.

Other stocked scents available include:
• Apple Cider
• Apple (green, Macintosh)
• Apple Pie
• Asphalt
• Auto Leather
• Bacon
• Banana
• Blueberry
• Bubble Gum
• Burnt Rubber
• Cherry
• Chocolate
• Chocolate Chip
• Chocolate (dark, hot)
• Christmas Tree
• Cinnamon Buns
• Citrus with Eucalyptus
• Clean Cotton
• Coconut/Suntan
• Coffee
• Daisy
• Eucalyptus
• Fresh Laundry
• Frosted Cake
• Gingerbread
• Grape
• Grapefruit
• Grass
• Honeycomb
• Hydrangea
• Jasmine
• Lavender
• Lemon Drop
• Lemon Lime
• Magnolia
• Marijuana*
• Mentol
• Mint*
• Ocean Mist
• Orange
• Orchid
• Peach (fresh, Georgia)
• Peanut
• Peanut Butter and Jelly
• Peppermint
• Pineapple Paradise
• Pizza
• Popcorn (buttered)
• Pumpkin Pue
• Rootbeer
• Rose
• Smoke (Fire Place)
• Strawberry
• Tulips*
• Vanilla
• Watermelon

*Limited Quantity

Talk to your friendly Hemlock Sales Representative for additional details, or to get a drawdown of the scent you’d like to use on your next project.

Hemlock renews its commitment to Ancient & Endangered forests

The Great Bear Rainforest

The Great Bear Rainforest

Thanks to the great people at Canopy (canopyplanet.org), we have made tremendous progress in advancing our paper purchasing practices over the past 11 years since we were first introduced. We’re proud to announce our latest milestone in our journey, with the release of a comprehensive Ancient and Endangered Forest Paper Purchasing Policy. It’s the first time we have had such a comprehensive set of guidelines to work from and it will direct our paper purchasing activities in the years ahead.

The document is now posted within the Sustainability section of our website or by clicking here. We invite you to review our vision and implementation goals which will help us continue to grow our FSC and PCW paper use, shift to low-carbon paper grades and ensure that all of the paper we buy comes from sources which protect and preserve the remaining tracts of ancient and endangered forests.

Thank you to Neva, Nicole, Fawzia and the rest of the team at Canopy for their exceptional work in assisting and encouraging us along the way.

Some highlights of our policy:

  • We will ensure that papers we purchase do not originate from endangered species habitat or controversial sources
  • To grow the total post-consumer waste content of all paper purchases to 35% within 5 years
  • Give preference to suppliers that monitor and reduce overall emissions by adopting the latest technologies and practices to minimize air and water pollution
  • Target reductions in paper waste within our operation, year after year

At the heart of this policy is the ongoing collaboration with our paper suppliers who have been great partners in these efforts. We are committed to building on our work over the past 10 years in determining the forest of origin for our paper and ensuring we are not sourcing from controversial suppliers and sources.

There is much work ahead but we’re excited and motivated to see all of our commitments through – ultimately they will help us be a better company, a better employer and help us bring additional value to our customers.

Should you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us – we’re here to help!

Hemlock Brings Print & a Pint to Seattle

 “A magazine editor, a designer and a printer walk into a bar…”

No, seriously; this really happened. And a curious group of design and business professionals joined them just to see what would happen next.

The occasion was the first international event in Hemlock’s popular Print & a Pint series, a string of after work seminars designed to get people talking about the changing world of ink on paper.

Hemlock President, Richard Kouwenhoven set the tone for the evening by donning a printers apron that likely pre-dates the disco era.

“Our three professions have been meeting like this in bars for centuries,” he began, “And through all the years of changes, one thing does remain constant – the printer buys the beer.” The crowd raised their glasses in appreciation.

Besides the frosty ales, fine local wines, and savory appetizers, the Hemlock Seattle team also served up two captivating speakers to talk about the relevance of print in today’s communications mix.

Georgia Frances King is the editor of Kinfolk Magazine. She shared the authentic philosophy and inspiringly short history of this upstart publication.

“Kinfolk was created by a group of people who didn’treally know what they were doing at the time. They just wanted to share the concept of simplifying their lives, cultivating community and spending more time with friends and family.” King said.

The success of the printed magazine they created has taken the publishing world a bit by surprise, and focusing on the tactile permanence of print has had a lot to do with it.

“We don’t try to recreate the printed publication for tablets, or online,” she continues, “The content is available to read on our website, and along with our popular Instagram feed, the digital community we create really works to encourage people to order the printed piece.”

And order they have. Kinfolk’s circulation is now estimated at over 200,000 readers. Hemlock brings their own philosophy of print craftsmanship to Kinfolk, and also handles distribution and shipping from their Burnaby, BC warehouse, making things even simpler for the folk who produce this refreshing read.


From this specific new era print success story, the evening’s discussion took on a broader philosophical tone, as the mic was passed to Christopher Simmons, designer educator, writer, and principal of San Francisco design office, MINE™.

He opened with a slide showing a ‘digital locket’ (designed to replace the ones people use to carry miniature pictures of loved ones around their necks)

“You can use it to swipe through a series of images, but unlike a ‘classic’ picture locket, if you lose this device, it’s not really that meaningful. You still have the pictures on a hard drive. It’s the imprint of a message onto an object that gives that object meaning.”

Simmons then cruised through a bold and bright series of print examples, from silkscreened campaign posters to a mural montage created for the interior of a restaurant.

“The mural is made with layers of printed posters, torn and layered over again with other graphics. People in the restaurant can’t resist touching it, and the wall is taking on an aged patina in certain areas. With digital, you engineer every outcome – it doesn’t wear and evolve like that.”

The crowd was soon responding with questions and discussion of their own, and conversation turned to the permanence of print in a ‘read and delete’ world.

“When you invest $18 in a magazine, you are going to spend some time with it,” King said, “A Kinfolk magazine sitting on your coffee table says something about who you are.”

Simmons wrapped up the print/digital relevance argument neatly with one last example.

“I got this direct mail letter, in my mailbox, with the little window in the envelope and everything. And the headline was telling me to buy Google Adwords, because they are the most effective way to reach people.” Simmons shook his head as the audience executed a collective face-palm. “It was a piece of art, really.”

If you want to join the discussion, we would love to hear from you. And watch for a Hemlock Print & a Pint event coming to a bar near you.

You never know who might walk in.

Check out some photos from the event here and like us on Facebook.
A special shout out goes to our sponsors, Unisource/Veritiv and Neenah Paper, thanks for helping make this event a great success!


Neenah Logo