Foil Stamping Basics

One of the things we love about paper is that it is offers the designer so many options. While we get to work with creatives on projects that use all kinds of print techniques, we thought we’d profile the basics of one of our favorites – foil stamping.

L.A Magazine «Les Ambassadeurs», couverture n°11

Foil stamping is a process that uses a metal plate that has been engraved with an image of the desired design to be foil stamped. The die or sculpted metal plate comes in contact with the foil and transfers a thin layer of the foil film onto the surface. As the metal plate is heated, the foil sticks to the surface only in the design of the plate and in the areas with the desired imprint.The result is a finished piece with a highly reflective image.

Foil stamping is a great way to use dark paper stocks without compromising design or readability of the piece.  It works well with both minimalist designs as well as highly embellished ones. Since the foil is actually a film,  the effect of white type on black paper stock works well when using a white gloss/matte foil as opposed to white opaque ink – which will usually require at two hits, possibly three to achieve the desired effect. Metallic foil stamping tends to have a more pronounced effect than printing metallic inks on paper – not to mention the type of paper (coated vs. uncoated) will effect the results of metallic ink greatly.

There are many types of foils that can be used when foil stamping ranging from metallics to gloss, matte and even holographic foils. Foil stamping lends itself beautifully to embossing as well. Some of our favorites include copper foil on kraft paper, clear foil on white paper and black foil on black paper stock. If you love seeing inspiring work like this make sure to join our free mailing list – we love sharing.


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