Embossed vs. Debossed?

by Brock on September 23, 2008

emboss

Embossed from this Side

deboss

Debossed from this Side

Have you ever needed the services of a Notary Public? Do you remember how the two sides of their little metal contraption crushed a seal (raised image) into the paper stock? This is a terrific way to visualize the embossing/debossing process.

Embossing and debossing are processes of pressing paper into relief using heat and force. The procedure involves the use of two etched metal dies, a raised (male) counter-die and recessed (female) die. The raised die forces the folder stock into the recessed die to create the embossed impression. Embossing creates a raised impression while debossing creates an indented impression.

Embossing applies pressure to the backside of paper stock to alter the surface, giving it a three dimensional or raised effect. A die maker engraves the desired impression (image or copy) into several metal plates (embossing dies). Embossing is generally the process most often employed to attract attention or convey high quality textural contrast in relation to the surrounding area.

Debossing applies pressure to the front side of paper stock forcing the material away or down from the paper surface. Debossing is not as commonly used as embossing.

It is possible to achieve an elegant embossed effect with only one level of etching that renders a flat image with either a beveled or rounded edge. You can also achieve a more sculpted look with many levels of etching. Obviously, the more elaborate the design and etching, the more costly it is to make the die.

In your embossing journey, you will likely to run across common emboss types including blind emboss, registered emboss, combination emboss, pastelling, glazing, and scorching. You are also likely run across common emboss shapes such as flat with bevel, dome, v-shape chisel, flat with round edge, multi-level, sculptured, bevel-in, split bevel, and bevel out.

Embossing without the use of ink or foil (change in dimensional appearance only) to highlight the embossed area is called blind emboss. The blind embossing process provides a clean image, whether distinctive or subtle. In fact, the Notary Public’s seal is an example of blind embossing. Top notch folder embossing incorporates a detailed die and bulky paper stock to enhance the depth and intricacy of the final piece.

To create a more dramatic effect, foil stamping can be applied to the raised surfaces. Combination stamping, or foil embossing, is the process of embossing and foil stamping the same image. A registered emboss foils stamps and embosses in two passes and requires close registration, that must be controlled, to keep the image and foil matched precisely. A combination emboss uses a combination die to foil stamp and emboss in one operation. Your choice of paper stock may affect the final appearance of your foil stamped folders. Papers such as 25% cotton, 100% cotton, vellum, laid stock and other porous papers will dull certain foils.

Embossing can be used for logos or accents surrounding logos, borders or highlights surrounding images or information, and elegant accents for distinctive symbols, images, graphics, or lines on your custom pocket folders.

Although technology has advanced the process, foil stamping and embossing are crafts where experience is absolutely crucial to success. An experienced stamper will guide you through what can and cannot be achieved with foil and embossing.

Ink, foil, paper stock, and die are all key elements in the success of an embossed or debossed pocket folder. Given the number of variables, it is best to get your print company involved at the design level. An experienced commercial print company will be able to guide you in your decisions so that your presentation folders are stunning and not mediocre. These things can only be learned through experience, something The Folder Store prides itself on.

Image Credits: P/\UL

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