Tips for Using Foil in Your Designs

If you’re interested in using foil in your designs, there are a few things you should know. These tips will help you get the most out of your design and the best use of foil for your project.

Foil Application

Foiling is the application of a thin layer of metallic foil to a design. It’s often combined with embossing or debossing, when the foil is stamped on a raised area (embossing) or stamped into the surface (debossing), which is traditionally done using special types of dies and heat.

Embossing Plus has several ways to apply foil to your design, traditional hot and cold foiling and, using our new JetVarnish 3D Evolution (EVO) machine, foil application in an entirely digital process.

Types of Foil

There are several types of foil that can be applied to your design to achieve the look you’re after. There is metallic foil, which comes in standard metallics like silver, gold and rose gold, but also comes in colored metallics, like blue, green and red. There are pigmented foils, which can be used in contrast with the substrate, such as white or colored foil on a black background.

Pearl foils, commonly used in wedding invitations, have a pearlescent sheen rather than a truly metallic look. Holographic foils, or foils with a rainbow effect or pattern that reflects colors in the light.

Designing for Foil

When creating artwork for foil it’s important to understand a few things to ensure the success of your design.

Vector Art versus Bitmap or Raster

Designs for foil must be created as vector art, rather than bitmap or raster. Because of the way foil is applied, rather than the standard high resolution of 300dpi, areas of foil need to be output at a resolution of 2000dpi. Anything less can result in jagged or uneven foil application.

It’s also important to understand the design limitations of working with foil. It can’t be used as shading or gradient, only as 100% values.


Fine Lines and Script

Depending on the size of your design, it’s important to understand that there is a minimum recommended size for fonts and other delicate details. Type appears bolder in foil than it does in ink, so intricate, very small or fine fonts or other design elements aren’t recommended. The minimum recommended font sized for most fonts is 8 pt and the recommended minimum weight of a line is .25 pt. Hairlines will not work in foil.

Space it Out

Another design consideration regarding type is to space the type loosely to ensure readability. This includes kerning and leading. Overall, give the type a little more room to breathe than you would in a piece printed in ink.

Combining Foil with Other Embellishments

Foil can be combined with other print finishing embellishments to create a truly unique design. The JetVarnish 3D Evolution can apply multiple print finishing embellishments in a single pass, such as foil, embossing, and varnish, quickly and error free. Variable printing in foil is also available, so you can personalize your design, such as using foil for addressing envelopes.

With all the combinations available, it’s easy to be overwhelmed with options, so we offer custom consultations to all our customers. Meet with our experienced staff to determine how you can add impact to your design with foil and other print finishing embellishments.

Contact us to learn more about how Embossing Plus can help you incorporate foil into your designs.

If you needed it yesterday you better contact us today!

We can turn even the most complex jobs around quickly – and without all the time and expense creating dies. Let’s talk about your project!