Design and Artwork Planning

Preparing Embossing Artwork

To achieve high quality embossing or debossing, it is essential that all the stages of production are correct and of the highest quality. Artwork creation is the first stage in the process and it is extremely important to get that right. Not all artwork designs are suitable for hot foil printing and or embossing. Some designs are better suited for plain substrates rather than textured and similarly some designs are better on thin rather than thick substrates. When embossing thin artwork, the embossing will not be as deep as you would have, if the design was bold. When combining thin and bold lines in the artwork, the resulting embossing will produce uneven results. Avoid designs incorporate fine patterns such as halftones as they do not emboss and or de-boss well.

  • Keep the design uncluttered and bold. Avoid too many fine details and tiny crisscross lines.
  • When using lettering use sans serif fonts such as Arial and space them so that there is enough space between each letter to allow for the embossing effect to be properly created.
  • Slightly Increase the size of the art, to compensate for the added dimension.
  • For multi-level embossing it is best to use colour codes to indicate the various levels.
  • Keep the image area at least 6mm / ¼” away from the edge of an oversized sheet to avoid puckering or wrinkling. If the embossing is being done on a finished project, keep a 13mm / ½” margin.
  • To prevent dissatisfaction and ensure success and overall customer satisfaction, it is critical that the customer, the artwork designer and the die maker, talk to each other and fully understand the customer’s requirements. The best way to avoid problems is to listen carefully to the customer, make detailed notes, ensure that the customer’s specifications are correct and share information openly with each other.

Artwork design for Embossing and Foil Stamping Dies

  • When designing artwork for single level embossing dies, output your artwork off a high quality imagesetter, 1200 to 2400 DPI laser printer, or a good quality photocopier.
  • Attach a velum overlay and write clear and detailed instructions of what is required for your die manufacturing department or die maker.
  • Whenever possible, all line / rule thickness should be 2 pt. or more, this is because of the inherent bevel, smaller lines are more difficult to emboss cleanly.
  • For optimum foil printing quality, use line art and avoid type smaller than 8 pt. and copy with tight intricate detail may plug (infill).
  • Mark the vellum overlay attached to the artwork specifying if a bevel or round edge is required and the type of substrate to be embossed.
  • Embossing thick card normally produces excellent results, although embossing on thinner materials will produce a better quality and more detailed embossing.
  • When hot foil printing and or embossing it is strongly advised to keep away from crease / fold lines.
  • To accommodate the bevel (the relief image’s “face to base” shoulder angle) on the embossing die, it is recommended that the artwork should be slightly larger and heavier than the artwork required for offset printing.
  • Greater the embossing depth required, the more kerning (letter space) must be incorporated into the die artwork design. This is because the larger bevel will take up more space around each element of the image. Extremely small and intricate designs should be avoided, but by working closely with your die making department or your die maker, you should be able to reproduce fine detail of reasonably good quality.
  • When designing artwork for multilevel (combo) dies, output your artwork off a high quality imagesetter, 1200 to 2400 DPI laser printer, or a good quality photocopier. For complex multilevel jobs, it is recommended that you colour code the various levels with permanent ink markers (felt tip pens).
  • Create a depth and bevel chart and with a series of engraver’s symbols you can mark the overlay that will indicate to the die making department or the die maker the desired effects required.