Be impressive – Embossing explained


How to make an impression: benefits of embossing and debossing

When it comes to print marketing, embossing or debossing will, quite literally, make an impression.

But which is right for you?

Here’s what you need to know when it comes to embossing and debossing.

What is embossing?

Embossing is when part of a design is raised to give a 3D effect. It’s often used on items like invitations, business cards, letterheads and brochure covers, but materials such as metal, acrylic and leather can also be embossed.

First, we create a die, which is made up of two plates (male and female). These press together, sandwiching the paper in between and creating the emboss.

Adding colour, ink or foil is known as registered or combination embossing. You can choose from a range of finishes such as pearl, clear gloss, glazing, scorching, foil or tint leaf embossing, depending on the paper stock you are using and the look you want to create.

Not using registered embossing (or embossing against a plain background) is known as blind embossing.


Example of an Embossed Printed Cover

What is debossing?

Debossing is the opposite of embossing. Instead of creating a raised image, you create a depressed image – the design is pressed into the paper or card.

As with embossing, you can leave a natural finish (blind deboss) or add colour, foil and other special effects. Debossing can be used on its own or combined with an emboss, depending on your design.

Example of a Debossed Unprinted Cover


Benefits of embossing or debossing

Embossing or debossing your designs doesn’t just make them look great, it can also increase your response rate – here’s how:

Stimulate the senses

Most marketing materials are focussed on the visual aspects, but the power of touch should not be underestimated. If something stimulates more than one of our senses, it will hold our attention for longer. And if it has our attention, we are more likely to engage with it.

Add a touch of class

Embossing or debossing creates a sense of prestige. It makes an item feel more luxurious and special, which is why it’s often used for things like wedding invitations and letterheads. Embossing or debossing your logo will highlight the quality of your brand, add an extra level of professionalism and show people you’re a company that pays attention to the details.

Stand out from your competition

If you distribute sales literature or prospectuses at exhibitions or by mail, you need an edge over your competitors. An embossed or debossed cover is more likely to grab attention, ensure you’re remembered and help you stand out from the crowd.

Which should you choose?

Embossing and debossing offer the same benefits, but the right one for you depends on the paper stock you use and the finish you want to achieve.

Embossing will leave a mirrored indentation on the reverse side of your paper. You’ll need to consider this if you’re adding design elements on the back. You could add backing to your design to hide the reversed impression, but this will make the item thicker and heavier.

Debossing, on the other hand, will not leave a mark on the reverse, as long as you use a thicker stock.

Top tips for the perfect finish

Unfortunately, embossing and debossing can cause cracking, creasing, bruising and show through. The good news is, you can prevent or reduce this by using the right stock for your design and following our tips for creating a higher-quality finish:

  • Embossed designs work better with softer edges, whereas a deboss needs sharper edges.
  • Keep in mind that any fine lines and text will appear thinner when embossed.
  • The ‘bruise’ that is created on the reverse side may interfere with any design or text on the back, so consider this in your design.
  • Keep artwork simple – embossing or debossing creates a 3D effect so excessive shading or colouring can appear distorted.
  • If you are doing multiple levels of embossing, then the largest areas of your design should be the deepest.

Want to make an impression?

We’re experts in print and have worked with some of the most prestigious brands to create marketing materials with that wow factor.

If you’re considering an embossed or debossed project, we will talk you through the options, help you perfect your design and ensure you select the most suitable paper stock and finish.

By utilising our knowledge, experience and exceptional print facilities, you can have complete confidence that your marketing materials will make the right impression.

Contact us now to get started.

Go on; be impressive…

More to explore

Need help with your print marketing?

Leave a comment

Hey, before you go

Would you like to subscribe for exclusive print offers and get updates on new blog posts?