Traditional Paper Embossing Techniques
Few things can make a print material stand out like embossing.
By raising letters or images above the page, print professionals can create a classy, eye-catching design that captures more attention than traditional print items. This type of printing is especially popular with items like invitations, cards, and letterhead.
A professional print finisher uses state-of-the-art equipment to complete embossing jobs, allowing for multiple pages to be printed in a short period of time. What would take hours by hand can be done in a matter of minutes. But the technology behind the embossing process is so fascinating, many customers are interested in learning how it works.
From the start, it’s important to plan for embossed finishing when choosing paper and the design of the page. Embossing requires a thicker paper stock in order to be able to get the desired effect, and design elements should never be placed toward the edge of the sheet. Doing so can cause the paper to wrinkle during the embossing process.
When putting together the look of the page, designers should keep embossing in mind.
What looks large on a flattened sheet of paper will look much smaller once the paper has been raised, so it’s important to use a large font size. Otherwise, any words printed on the raised part of the page may be unreadable.
How It Works
Embossing uses two dies, with one placed on either side of the sheet of paper. Once pressed, one die pushes the page out, giving it the raised effect. This can also be done in reverse in a process known as debossing, where an image is recessed below the page rather than raised.
This means a very important part of the embossing process is creating the dies that will be used to press the image. In the print shop environment, this is done using technology, with the diemaker creating the image on a screen rather than on plates.
Doing this also means clients can be a part of the die design process, since changes can be made on the screen before the print job starts. This has sped up the embossing process and also reduced the costly redoes that were required when dies were made by hand.
Once the dies are ready to be applied, the equipment uses a tightly-controlled combination of pressure and heat to affect the change to the paper. The depth of the die that was created before the job began also has an effect on how pronounced the finished product is.
The more depth the diemaker applied, the more dramatic the effect. This can also be adjusted prior to the beginning of the finishing job to fit a client’s personal preferences.
Although embossing has come a long way in recent years, thanks to technology, the designer and printer both play important roles in how the finished product turns out.
With so many variables affecting the final look, it’s important to partner with a print finisher who not only has the latest equipment, but also the creative talent necessary to create the perfect finished product.