Types of Embossing in Color Postcards Printing

If you are interested in color postcards printing, you can try various kinds of embossing. The types include:


Blind Emboss: This does not use ink or foil for highlighting the embossed region. The changes in the dimensional appearance of the material are the only noticeable difference that results from the embossing. Blind embossing is a process that provides a clean and subtle or distinctive image on the paper stock. It can be best used for creating a subtle impression or low level of attention to the piece. However, it provides a slight difference for the finished work.

Rack card Printing

Rack card Printing

Registered Emboss: The process aligns the embossed image with another element that is created with ink, punching, foil or using another embossed image. The blind emboss can be aligned within a larger print for producing the registered emboss.


Combination Emboss: Combination embossing is a type of embossing and foil stamping of the same image. It includes aligning and imprinting the foil on the embossed image for creating the foil emboss. A sculptured die that is usually made of brass is used for the process. The method requires close registration which needs to be regulated for precisely matching the foil and image. The procedure of foil stamping and embossing is achieved with the help of a single operation using the combination die. The latter has a cutting edge near the perimeter for cleanly breaking the additional foil away from the embossed space.


Pastelling: It is also known as tint leaf embossing involving the use of a a combination die in color postcards printing. The process provides a subtle and antique appearance to the substrate which is foil stamped and embossed. Clear gloss, pearl finishes and similar pastel foil finishes can be chosen for bringing a soft bicolored antique look without scorching the embossed image. Light color stocks best work for providing a soft contrasting effect.


Glazing: It is an embossed area with a polished and shiny appearance. Often, the process of achieved by the application of heat with pressure for bringing about a shiny look on the stock. Heavyweight and dark colored stocks usually work best with glazing as the polished effect is a lot more noticeable and the dark color of the stock helps soften or eliminate any burned appearance which might be a result of the application of the heat. When used along with foil, the method can provide the latter with a somewhat brighter appearance.


Scorching: This method is identical to the glazing except for the fact that it is not used for polishing the stock. Scorching is just what it implies: with the temperature of the die heating plate increased beyond a particular range, a scorched effect is created in the embossed image. This leads to a shaded or antique appearance. For best effects in color postcards printing, you can use lighter colored stock for the process for providing a two toned unique appearance. While requesting the effect, make sure that the stock does not burn as too much heat is used. If the scorching occurs near the printed copy, it can affect its clarity, although it could be the effect desired for your application.


Tips for Stock Selection


  • The various aspects which need to be considered for stock selection include surface characteristics, weight, gauge, material density, grain, coatings to be applied, inks and the finishing procedures to be employed.


  • Usually, stocks that are most receptive to embossing dies are the ones that are heavier in weight, uncoated and contain a felt finish.


  • Embossing on heavier stocks will often provide more detail and dimensional depth.


  • If some of the stock that is to be hot stamped or embossed is quite thick, the engraver should know that the increased depth has to be tooled within the die for providing more definition to the embossed image. If the depth is greater, it can compensate for memory or the behavior of the stock to get back to its original shape, thickness and stock resistance.


  • It is best to have the die ‘bottom out’ or strike the paper with sufficient pressure that allows the material to be stretched to its optimum potential without tearing or cracking.


  • If varnished, coated and lightweight stocks are used in color postcards printing, they tend to crack when they are embossed. Ink and paper have certain limitations in the extent to which they can be stretched. You cannot stretch coatings, and hence you should be careful with any kind of embossing on varnished or coated stock.


  • Embossing with foil covering instead of ink can prevent coated stocks from cracking.


  • Once the heat is applied to the embossing die during glazing or foil stamping, there are high chances that the coated and light stocks will become brittle. This might lead to cracking of the stock during the process of embossing.


  • Textured stocks can compete with the embossed image if the texture is too prominent, although for a blind emboss, a slightly textured stock provides best effects.


  • Think about the direction of the paper grain while embossing. If you emboss against the grain, it can lead to cracking, although you might be needed to go against the grain for getting the chosen effect in a few applications.


  • Recycled paper can make the embossing inconsistent from one sheet to another as too many recycled fibers can weaken the stock as it is exposed to pressure and heat. Using paper with less than 30% post-consumer fiber is recommended for best results.


  • The best choice for embossing in color postcards printing is long fiber sheets as they can handle more varieties of embossing dies, especially the ones that are deeper.


  • Foils and sulfates are the best board stocks while embossing packaging materials.


Artwork Preparation


It is best to create images with fonts that extend 12 point and lines that are thicker than the two point. Use images that are as open as possible and contain fewer thin lines. Embossing tends to fill in the small and enclosed areas, closely kerned text and thin lines.