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What is Embossing & the Main Embossing Techniques

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Embossing is a great technique that adds texture and dimension to your business cards, packaging, invitations, stationery, menus and more. The embossing process is used on seals to mark legal papers, on postal stamps and by jewellers as a security feature for authenticity certificates. Embossing is the process of generating a three-dimensional image on a surface through the use of pressure, sometimes combined with heat. Debossing is the opposite process and it creates a recessed image that is sunken on the paper/card surface.

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Embossing is achieved through the use of two tools (usually made of brass or copper), one of which is built in the reverse of the desired design (raised) and the other one is recessed, commonly known as a male and female.

For embossing, the tools are connected to a machine that pushes them into paper using a combination of heat and extreme pressure to permanently alter it. Embossing can either be single layered or multi-layered if you want to give tiny details even more prominence for a finely sculpted end result. The great benefit of using the embossing technique is the high-quality, elegant finish it gives to products and the subtle branding that can be achieved with it, particularly when wanting a minimalist and luxurious invitation.

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Although it is a very popular technique, there are a number of factors that play a big part during the embossing process in the pursuit of great results. They are as follows:

Die depth: It is mainly down to the engraver’s experience to determine the die depth accurately with the end result in mind. If you can show us the artwork or an image of what you are trying to achieve, we can tell you how to get there with the artwork you have.

Pressure: How intense is the impact on the weight of the stock being embossed, depending on the type of paper being used.

Heat: The ability to maintain a consistent heat level to get a great embossing result.

Stock: The paper/cardstock and thickness are paramount to how the end result will appear for embossing - ask us for our guidance on this as you will want a soft material that can be moulded to shape.

There are also several different embossing techniques depending on what’s used during the process and how bold or subtle the embossing needs to be:

- Blind embossing is achieved by using the no ink during the process, so the image is raised and uses the colour of the material only. The end result is extremely elegant and can be used to add a special touch to your invitations, business cards and more that is subtly distinctive.

- Combination embossing is achieved when embossing techniques are combined with foil stamping ones by using a combination die.

- Fluted embossing is achieved when the embossed image is either aligned with another embossed image or with printed graphics. Often used in conjunction with foil blocking.

- Pastelling emboss: When a combination of die is used to provide a subtle antique appearance to the material being foil stamped and embossed. This works best when lighter coloured stocks are used for a delicate contrasting effect.

- Glazing emboss: When a finished embossed area is given a shiny or polished appearance through the combination of heat and pressure. This works best on dark coloured stocks.

- Scorching emboss: When instead of polishing the stock, a scorched effect is created on an embossed image by increasing the temperature of the heating plate beyond the normal range. This works best on lighter coloured stocks.

Have any more questions on what is embossing or looking to learn more about Downey's services? Contact our team now!

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