Hot Foil Stamping Adds Shine to Print Design

Hot Foil Stamping Adds Shine to Print Design

Andrew James

Andrew James

Letterpress Operator at Capital Colour
Andrew James

Latest posts by Andrew James (see all)

Once exclusively reserved for book covers, awards, and certificates, hot foil stamping has recently become more commonplace for custom and personalized printing. Designers for bespoke stationery, business cards, and boutique packaging have been embracing this technique more and more. Average inks fall short when it comes to printing metallics or light colours on dark papers. Ornate borders, crests, logos, and other important visuals can be given an eye-popping shine through the use of metallic foil.

Hot stamping is a process that uses a heated magnesium, brass, or photopolymer stamp to press an adhesive foil onto a printable surface. Left over from the stamp’s impression is a bright metallic print that stays solid over a variety of papers. Foil styles are diverse and can be found in a wide variety of shiny metallics, muted opaques, translucent holograms and unique textures. The process behind foil stamping causes the foil to adhere directly to the paper surface instead of being absorbed or laid on top. This can create an illustrious appeal. Black paper stock could feature a bold opaque red or a metallic gold, where inks would lack lustre. When paired with softer paper stocks, the foiled image can leave an debossed or letterpress effect.

An emboss effect can also be added to give foiled text or images an added dimension. By using a sculpted die, the end result leaves a raised surface with added depth and shine. Much like letterpress, foil stamping can be applied to numerous papers and boards for limitless possibilities. This technique can bring out a focal point in a design while adding an embellished sense of style, quality, and class.

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Some careful considerations need to be made before deciding if hot stamping is best for a design. Like all print processes, foil stamping has its own set of strengths and limitations. Generally, foil stamping looks best when highlighting specific design elements such as a logo or title. Extremely fine details paired with large flat areas can sometimes lead to imperfections in the print. Foil also tends to add an overall thickness to certain typefaces and any type under 8pt may negatively effect its’ fine serifs or counters. However, bold images and thick type can create a beautiful appeal with a crisp print quality. Foil stamping patterns and background elements can also elevate a design to new heights.

Those who are looking to add a multi-sensory experience to their print and packaging designs should consider foil stamping for the enhanced appeal it has to offer.

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