Embossing is a process that creates raised images, text or designs above the background material. It’s a technique we’re all familiar with, applied to everything from credit cards and wedding invitations to business cards, and even Braille. In our line of work, embossing is used for aesthetic purposes, giving visual impact and a luxurious, premium feel to printed materials of all kinds. (For the sake of completeness, where the design is pressed into the background, rather than raised up from it, it’s called debossing.)

While it’s a relatively simple concept, embossing is actually a highly specialised technique, applied to the material after any printing, varnishing or laminating. It’s an entirely separate stage in the production process, requiring its own press run, which is why it appears as an extra on your print costs.

There are half-a-dozen different types of embossing, but as a rule, we have three we generally choose for our clients’ printed materials. Blind embossing is about raising the surface, but with no ink or foil used to highlight the embossed area – ideal if you want to create a clean yet subtle effect. For something more striking, we recommend registered embossing (sometimes called embossed-in-register, or EIR). In this process, the embossed image is aligned with another element created in ink, foil or punching, or a second embossed image. The most exacting technique is combination embossing, where the image is embossed and foil-stamped simultaneously, using a sculpted die made of brass, copper or magnesium.

We love the distinctive quality that embossing gives to paper stock. Subtle and intriguing, it adds a distinctive quality that can’t easily be achieved in two dimensions, even with today’s printing technology. It exemplifies true craftsmanship and attention to detail, and is a reminder that, sometimes, you don’t need to be bold and bright to be noticed and remembered. To view more embossing examples visit our Pinterest board >