Embossing and foiling are an embellishment that can be added to any any print.

Foiling is where you a can add a metallic film on to a print. It is distinctly different to metallic inks. Metallis inks have a glittery look to then, and soak into the paper, like other ink.  Foiling is a solid film that has a tactile feel to it, as it sits on top of the paper.

Embossing is a different finish, but both are applied using the same process so I am talking about both in the same page. Embossing is where a shaped die is pushed into the paper to create a raised impression on one side of the sheet, and a mirror depression on the other side, known as a deboss. Foiling is also done using a die, though it will not always make a deboss on the reverse side.

The process is done using large turn of the century machinery that apply terrific pressure to the paper and the film, joining the two together. There is some similarity to cut vinyl lettering with the way the film is applied and prepared, though obviously you don’t need a big noisy machine to apply cut vinyl to a window for example.

Embossing and foiling is very attractive and adds a real sense of value making any design more official looking and increasing perceived value. It’s great to put onto certificates or awards, anything that you want someone to treasure and perhaps frame.
There are digital foiling methods, as well as mechanical. Digital foiling allows for variable data printing to be done with foil. SO perhaps you want to put peoples name in foil, and are working off a list, you can do that now with digital foiling.

This is a top shelf process that needs some time so be done, and is not cheap. However there are intelligent ways to approach it that will help you get better value from foiled or embossed jobs. This is a mechanical process, which means there is a setup cost, so there are economies of scale, meaning the higher the quantity the lower the unit cost.  If you’re doing something like an award, maybe you don’t give away a couple hundred awards, maybe you only give 30 or 40 a year. But what you can do is the there’s a kind of of foil known as laser safe foil. Meaning you can create physical templates or shells of your awards with the foil or embossing on it and all the colourful design elements. Then you can just put them, put them in the drawer and when it comes around next year, you can pull them out and you can over-print the names of the winners with your office laser printer. This would allow you to take advantage of the economies of scale and print multiple years worth of awards, then store them for later use. As long as you’re mindful with the way that you design the template, for example, don’t put the year on to the template design, save that for the over-print.

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