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31/05/2018 Print Finishes

Print Finishes: Embossing/Debossing

Embossing and debossing

The technique of embossing involves pressing paper or card between two metal dies so that lettering or some aspects of an image are made to appear in relief. The embossed areas of the page are raised a fraction of a millimetre above the rest of the page. Debossing uses the same tools to achieve the opposite effect: debossed iconography is sunk into the page like an engraving. For the purposes of clarity, we’ll focus on embossing, but remember the opposite effect can always be achieved by swapping around the dies in the press.


How Does it Work?


Two dies are produced featuring the shapes that you wish to emboss. One is cast in relief and the other intaglio. Respectively, these are sometimes referred to as ‘male’ and ‘female’ because of how they fit together. The material to be embossed is put between the two dies and pressure is applied at a constant temperature. When the dies are removed the paper or card that has been treated will be left with a permanently raised area in the desired design.


Foil stamped embossed page

Can Embossing Be Combined with Other Print Finishes?


Most definitely. Embossing is particularly suited to being combined with foil blocking which also utilises dies subjected to heat and pressure. Combining embossing and foil blocking will give a luxury feel to your business cards or wedding invitations. Another place it is common to see these techniques combined is on the cover of paperback science fiction books. Embossing can also be combined with:

  • Lamination
  • Spot UV Varnish
  • Die Cutting


What is Blind Embossing?


Blind embossing is when the technique of embossing is employed completely on its own. No ink, no foil stamping: just raised paper. A technique that makes for a gorgeously tactile and subtle visual impression.


Blind embossing and foil stamping

For more information about embossing, debossing or any of our other print finishes, please contact the office on 01603 488001 or email any questions to sales@col-print.co.uk.


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