Specialty Printing Guide: Foil Stamping

If you want to add some bling to your print projects, there's nothing quite like foil stamping. Also called foiling or hot foil stamping, this finishing process elevates any print job to a luxury level. From invitations to annual reports to packaging, virtually any project can benefit from a little flash!

What is Foil Stamping?

As far back as the middle ages, scribes applied gold leaf to intricate manuscripts. This process was reserved for the most important books since every part of it was done by hand. Once printing presses were more widely used in the 1700s, expensive books were bound in leather with gold leaf applied to the covers. Still a handmade element, this was still reserved for high-end products.

Modern foil stamping, however, is done by machine and wasn't developed until the turn of the 20th century. This process involves rolls of foil made from aluminum or tin that are laid on top of the paper stock. A hot metal die with the image area etched onto it then presses on top of the foil, transferring it to the desired areas of the stock. New technology now exists that can adhere the foil directly to printed areas with ink, but it is not widespread at this time and is much more expensive than hot foil stamping.

 

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How Do I Design for Foil Stamping?

Deciding where and how to incorporate foil stamping into your project can be tough. There are the usual variables like ink color, paper stock, and finishing options that need to be considered, but adding foil brings another element to the overall design. Pre-planning your project is critical to ensure all your ideas will mesh well together.

Fortunately for designers everywhere, foil comes in a wide range of colors. Metallics like silver, gold, copper, and rose gold are popular choices because of the expensive look they bring to a project. Any color of the rainbow is also available, and you can choose whether you'd like a glossy or matte effect. The glossy foils are very high shine and the matte can tone down an area that is already shiny enough. There are even pearlescent and holographic foils for truly unique options! You can opt for a textured foil as well.

When it comes to choosing a paper stock, foil opens up extra possibilities. Because the foils are opaque, you can achieve an impressive effect applying a light-colored, shiny foil onto a dark stock. You do need to consider the paper thickness, though, especially if you're planning to incorporate other finishing elements. Foil stamping is especially easy to combine with embossing because the processes are so similar as far as using heat and pressure.

It's true that foil stamping is an added expense to your print job, but the value is undeniable. You'll get a huge bang for your buck when your project is that much more impressive! Contact your Vomela rep or click here to get started on your next printed project.

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