Project planning and overview

Project planning and overview


The sophistication of Embossing

To make your printed work really stand out, a number of options are available. Hot Foil printing, spot varnish thermography and Embossing are a few that come to mind, however nothing does the job better than the sophistication and elegance of Embossing. There are several types and finishes that can be created by Embossing in almost any shape and texture imaginable.

Want your printed materials to look and feel different to others, look no further than Embossing.

Important Notes:

  • When Embossing and or debossing, it is important to make the distinction between registeredand blind. Registered refers to Embossing and or debossing done in registration with a foiled or printed image. Blind refers to Embossing and or de-bossing done on a random area or a non-print area.
  • When selecting paper, colour, coating, texture and weight all play a key role in the look and feel of an Embossed item. For projects where intricate designs need to be Embossed, thick uncoated paper or board will reveal the greatest detail in the Embossed image. You are able to achieve good quality Embossing on thinner materials but will be limit by the depth of the Embossing before the paper will cut/split.
  • Creating an accurate Die can be very difficult without detailed information of what’s being Embossed.

Data required for Die making include:

  • Data on the type of substrate being used.
  • The thickness of the substrate.
  • The run length.
  • The depth of Embossing.
  • The look and affect you need to achieve.
  • The type of Counterforce required.
  • and more…..

This information should be supplied with the Die manufacturing order to allow for correct Die creation. For multi-level and combination Dies, colour-coding the various levels in the image design in the file will ensure accurate Die making. Ensure a colour code Key is supplied with data of the different depth and effects each colour represents. In addition, an image of the top and side view of the Die showing what you require will help in the Die making process.

  • Dies made out of Brass are recommended as they are very durable and are able to create high quality and intricate designs on them. Brass Dies can be engraved using CNC engraving (milling) machines, manual engraving machine or can be hand chiselled to create 2½ and or 3D sculptured Dies. If designed imaginatively these Dies could produce exquisite detail to make your product come alive and stand out from the crowd.
  • It is essential that proper electronic files are created in the formats required by the Die making department or company, when ordering Foil Stamping and or Embossing Dies.
  • When sending files for manufacturing Foil Stamping and or Embossing Dies, ensure the artwork does not contain any information within it that you don’t want engraved or etched on the Die. This includes any information on colour, masks, screens etc.
  • When e-mailing or sending electronic files, it is important that you convert all the fonts to outlines. The outline of a font is all that’s needed when creating Dies for Foil Stamping and Embossing. Most high end design applications have the option to convert fonts into outlines. In Adobe Illustrator, you have to select the Create Outline option for every font in the file. To avoid the possibility of errors, always include “key” information about each font, such as point size, font name and any other attributes.
    All scanned images should be at the highest resolution and, if the file includes scanned artwork, it should be no less than 600dpi resolution. A low resolution scan may result in a blurry image, with its lines and edges feathery and inaccurate. Ensure all images are in black and white, as colour or greyscale images may result in lower quality, increase cost and longer turnaround times.
The intended image             e e e
The effect required
Converting Font to outlines will prevent this
In-fill will occur



























  • When saving files, always save at 100% scale and indicate if the image is right reading or not. There are a number of graphic applications such as Corel Draw, Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, Quark express and many more and numerous file formats like Jpg, Tiff, PDF etc. Contact your Die maker or Die department for information on how they would prefer the file to be created, saved, sent etc. They will provide information on the programs they have, what file extension they would require, and any version compatibility issues. Good communication with the Die maker or Die department will greatly reduce mistakes and delays.


  • Where ever possible always send hard copy proofs of any electronic files sent, whether that be by, courier, messenger, post, fax or any other means. This helps to verify that the data sent in the electronic file is accurate and so prevent nasty surprises!

It is important to remember that Embossing Dies can be made as a single-level or multiple-level Die, depending on the complexity required. A combination Die is required if Foil Stamping and Embossing is to take place in one combined pass through the press.


To enhance the Embossing effect, Foil Stamping is sometime added to the process thus creating a striking effect. However when the substrate is Embossed and has no embellishments such as foil or printing on the raised surfaces, it is referred to as Blind Embossing. If the blind Embossing project is designed effectively, it will project a high degree of style and sophistication.

The best Embossed work is usually created from a detailed Die and a thick paper substrate, which combined with the skill of the designer and the machine operator, can produce amazing results. Since Ink, foil, substrate, Die and colour selection are all important elements in the success of an Embossed or Foil Stamped project, it’s a good idea to get the Foil Stamping department or company involved in the project at the design level. Furthermore, before beginning any project where Hot Stamping foil is being used, talk to you foil supplier and similarly to you Die and Counterforce supplier. Good communication is the key to a successful completion of a project.