Graphic Design Tip! How Does Foil Stamping Work?
’Tis the Season to send out Holiday Cards! The weather gets a little cooler and winter is right around the corner, which can only mean one thing: Holiday Season! It’s time to start breaking out the decorations and start singing carols like that old holiday classic Silver & Gold. There’s just something classy about silver and gold. It's used for expensive jewelry, it backs our nation’s currency, it' used for trophies, awards, and medals. Silver and Gold simply epitomize class, value, and sophistication.
You’ll often see gold, silver, or other metallic inks used on stationery, invitations, and a variety other printed materials. They look nice, but somehow lack that special POP. For those cases, where metallic ink just won’t do, there’s another solution: FOIL STAMPING.
When planning for foil stamping, it’s important to understand a few things about the process.
- Foil Stamping is NOT the same as embossing. They are often done together, but they do not HAVE to be. Embossing changes the surface of the paper or cardstock to create a raised image (or a lowered image in the case of “debossing”). Foil is also done using a die and adding heat and pressure, but you can add foil to your project without needing to raise or lower the surface of the image.
- An even surface is better. The best impact is going to be on smooth coated surfaces, like Cast-Coated or High Gloss stock. Dull or Matte coated stocks take foil well also, as does smooth uncoated sheets. Heavier stocks are more durable and hold up better to the process, although text weights can be used. Textured papers like linen or felt are more difficult, since the surface texture and effect the way the foil is pressed onto the sheet, and your image might not be as crisp as it could be. Also, while you CAN foil on top of wax-free inks, you should avoid using coatings or varnishes in the area to be foil stamped.
- Line art is a MUST. In order for the foil to fuse to the stock properly, there needs to be enough surface area to grab onto. Halftone dots and super thin lines won’t fuse as easily and may flake off, which will appear as “broken” or “missing” during a long production run.
What you need…
The Die: This is a metal plate with the reversed image raised from the surface, like you would see with a stamp. Typically these will be made of brass, copper, or magnesium. Buying a die can be a little pricey, but they can be used over and over.