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Some visual effects simply can't be accomplished with ink alone, for example, spot varnishes can add shine or a matte finish to a specific area of a piece, and that can highlight an important graphic. For example, this piece has a high-gloss furnish highlighting the wheel, but it also has a special aqueous finish called soft touch covering tire image. Now it may just look like a matte varnish on camera, but it feels like velvet. It's very hard to put down, you sort of want to petit. But think of what a great way that is to engage a customer. They are much more likely to keep such a piece because of the novelty. I promise you this is not going in the trash.
Now Embossing can add wonderful depth to a printed piece. The Embossing process uses pear-shaped dies, some pressure and sometimes heat to create the special effects. Embossing creates a ray shape on the top surface of the piece, debossing results in a concave shape, so it's pushed into the surface of the paper. In essence, the paper is molded into a paper sculpture by being pressed between those two pieces of metal, and this makes for a very textural piece. Now not all printers perform such special finishing operations in-house, so your project might go out to a third-party supplier for that part of the job.
If that's the case, your printer will probably introduce you to a customer service rep at the finishing facility so that you can keep up the conversation. Now here are some general considerations for embossing. Thicker stock as you might expect can support more embossing depth. Fine detail can be a bit of a challenge, but you should always follow your printer's guidelines when you're creating artwork that's going to be used in embossing. You should usually keep them embossed areas away from the edge of the sheet, it might pucker a little bit. So if you stay, quarter of an inch to half an inch away, you are usually safe, but your printer of the specialty finishing house can advise you.
Now if the embossing is going to be multilevel, that means it's more sculptural in nature, you'll have to create a separate layer for each level and label it accordingly, and it should always be vector art. You've to keep in mind that creating and testing that die requires some lead time. So work with the printer or the finishing house and make sure you understand the impact of that on your overall deadline. You really should tackle this aspect of a project as early as possible in the life of the job, because the use of any specialty finishing process can have an impact both on your choice of stock and on your deadline.
Now when you hear the term foil stamping you may just think of metallic enhancements. And of course it's true that foil stamping can add a metallic coating to an area, but it's not limited to that. Foil stamping can also be used to apply opaque white to dark stock and even iridescent or holographic areas to paper. Embossing and Foil Stamping combined can make for some really stunning effects. When you're preparing for foil stamping, you should keep a few things in mind. A foil usually can't go over coating such as varnishes. Blisteringly may result, and in fact some coated papers can present the same problem.
If you are using a textured stock, you should note that foils result in a smooth surface. Although this could actually be pretty cool, it could be a nice contrast with textured stock. Registering foil to an existing design, whether it's the printed part of the design or some embossing, it can be a bit challenging. You should usually avoid fine type. Now if the finished piece is going to be run through a laser printer, in other words, you're creating letterhead, you should test to make sure that the heat of the printer's fuser doesn't cause the foil the bubbler or pucker up. Of course that would ruin the look of the piece, but it could also gum up your laser printer.
Varnishing and foils and embossing can greatly enhance a printing job. As you might expect, a lot of planning and testing can go into the creation of the piece that utilizes these special finishing processes, and the cost of such finishes can certainly add up. But the stunning results are certainly worth it.
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