Sometimes printing projects deserve a special look. Perhaps you are seeking a touch of elegance or perhaps you just want something different from what’s been done before. What can you do to make your piece look extra special and stand out from other printed pieces? Here are a few suggestions.
Embossing is a great way to add impact and elegance to almost any printed piece. Embossing raises the surface of the paper by using a die and counter die to squeeze the paper fibers between them. While “embossing” raises the image, “debossing” lowers the image from the original surface of the paper. If the embossed area has not been printed, it is Blind Embossed. Embossing (and debossing) is used on borders, images, logos, or type to create attention to those areas.
Foil Stamping is done alone (Flat) or in conjunction with Embossing or Debossing (Combination Stamping). The foil is fused to the paper by heat and pressure. Gold, silver, holographic, and other metallic colors are used. This look adds a texture and shimmer to selected areas.
Die Cutting allows shapes of all kinds to be cut out of paper. While bindery cutters provide straight edges, die cutting allows for circles, curves and any combination of contours. Sometimes the finished piece is die cut out of the sheet; other times words or images are cut out of the finished piece in order to allow the paper or colors from the sheet below to show.
A true watermark is a translucent image added to the fibers of paper during the manufacturing process. When watermarked paper is used to print letterheads or special documents, it conveys a subtle sense of prestige. It also provides a level of authenticity as a watermark means the document is an original. Although watermarks quite often reflect the name of the paper, watermarks can be custom made to reflect almost any image, logo, or type. An image which looks like a watermark can be added during the printing process but it is difficult to achieve and maintain in the desired density throughout the entire run on press.
Last week we talked about coatings in our blog, Coatings for Printing. In addition to protecting the printed piece from scuffing, dirt, and moisture, some coatings are used to accentuate areas of print or to create a special visual effect. Varnish comes in gloss, satin and dull finishes. A gloss spot varnish is sometimes used to make something stand out from a dull or matte background. If the background is glossy, a dull varnish can be used in certain locations to provide contrast against the gloss.
Bright blues, gold, silver, burnished copper, bright reds, and other colors are available in metallic inks. Metallic inks are created with fine reflective metallic particles in them to create a shine and reflectivity you don’t see in most inks.
Next time you want a printed piece that is different than others, consider adding one or more of these options. While there is an extra cost to utilizing these special touches to print, quite often the extra dollars are worth it. Not only will your piece be noticed, but the extra attention to detail will be remembered and appreciated.