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Print Production Essentials: Embossing, Foil Stamping, and Die Cutting
Illustration by John Hersey

Creating artwork for single-level embossing


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Print Production Essentials: Embossing, Foil Stamping, and Die Cutting

with Claudia McCue

Video: Creating artwork for single-level embossing

We want to enhance this little card by adding some embossing. Won't be very fancy. It will just be a little simple single level dye. And because that's our approach, I'm going to have to change a little bit about my art work. And here's why. Here where I have these two balloons overlapping, if they are embossed it's just going to make sort of a one blob with two lobes to it. It really look like two balloons. If we were going to create a multilevel embossing dye then we could emboss this balloon, push it up a little bit and then we could emboss this balloon at higher sculpture, you know, we push it in further into the paper, and that way we would see some distinction between the two balloons. But we're not going to do that.

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Print Production Essentials: Embossing, Foil Stamping, and Die Cutting
1h 28m Intermediate Jul 02, 2013

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Adding a die cut or emboss to your print job can make a striking visual impact; it's a way of sculpturing and increasing a reader's engagement with your work. Learn about the various types of embossing and die cutting as well as the proper ways to set up your documents to achieve consistent results. Author Claudia McCue covers manufacturing concerns like cost, time, choosing the appropriate paper stock, and file formatting; preparing your artwork for embossing and stamping; and then designing your die-cut project in Adobe Illustrator or InDesign.

Topics include:
  • Understanding how dies are created: hand-engraved, machined, or photo-engraved
  • Preparing files for die-cutting
  • Choosing appropriate stock
  • Creating artwork for single- or multi-level embossing
  • Checking proofs
  • Examining a cutting die
  • Handling a complex bleed
Subjects:
Design Print Production Design Skills
Software:
Illustrator InDesign
Author:
Claudia McCue

Creating artwork for single-level embossing

We want to enhance this little card by adding some embossing. Won't be very fancy. It will just be a little simple single level dye. And because that's our approach, I'm going to have to change a little bit about my art work. And here's why. Here where I have these two balloons overlapping, if they are embossed it's just going to make sort of a one blob with two lobes to it. It really look like two balloons. If we were going to create a multilevel embossing dye then we could emboss this balloon, push it up a little bit and then we could emboss this balloon at higher sculpture, you know, we push it in further into the paper, and that way we would see some distinction between the two balloons. But we're not going to do that.

We just want to do something simple just to give it a little bit of visual interest, but we really don't want to get involved with the expense involved with a multilevel die. So, because of that,m I'm just going to modify my design. So I'm going to move this balloon down so that they are now two separate shapes and I also want to make sure that there's enough room in between the balloons so that there'll be the embossing and then the paper has room to flatten back out. Remember that what happens during emboss is essentially the paper gets stretched and sculpted. So with that in mind, I'm going to make sure that I have enough room between the balloons so that that paper can sort of relax again.

And also that same consideration here. This is where somebody is going to write a message. I want to make sure that the paper can flatten back out so that there is no deformation where they're going to write. I think this balloon is okay. And I also want to emboss this text. So again, I want to have enough room between the balloon and text and I think we're okay here, and I have a bit of a head start with the text because there's already plenty of room between the letters. If the letters were much too close together, I'd have to move them apart, but with the way they're set now, I think everything's going to be fine.

So my artwork's in position, but now I have to create artwork that's going to be used to create that embossing die. So I'm just going to duplicate my little balloon shapes and my text, and create a new layer and a new color, and that's going to represent the embossing. So first, the new layer. And of course, I'm just going to call it Emboss. And now I'm going to create the color. So in my swatches panel I'm just going to choose New Swatch and I'm going to name it Emboss, naturally. It's going to be a spot color. The color itself honestly doesn't matter it's really just representing an area. I tend to like to make those colors really bright and obvious so it's clear that they aren't part of the art work but that that they serve a different purpose. So I'm going to choose OK, and now I'm going to duplicate the artwork so that I can then assign that color to the duplicate artwork. So I'm going to select my balloons by Shift clicking and I'm going to get my text as well and you can see this little selector square here in the Layers panel. All I have to do to duplicate Illustrator even tells me. Click to select.

I'm going to duplicate it and hold down Alt on Windows or Option on the Mac. And that duplicates the artwork. So it still remains in its original location but now I also have it in my top layer. Of course we can't see it, because it's white. But what I'm going to do so that I can keep track of what I'm doing, is I'm going to turn off all the artwork in the underlying layer. I still have that blue shape to help me keep going. I'm not going to emboss the strings, I'm just going to emboss the little globes of the balloons. So, I'm going to delete the strings from my emboss layer, so I don't want them involved in my emboss artwork, so I'm going to ungroup them with Object and Ungroup, and for the rest of them I'm just going to use the keyboard shortcut, which is Command Shift g on the mac and Control Shift g on Windows. This saves me a little bit of time.

And then, I'm just going to get rid of the strings. Now we just have balloons, and then, of course my text. Again, since my little blue shape is locked, I can actually just select all of this at once. And then I am going to apply that fill color which is my emboss. And there we go. Now, here's something to keep in mind. I'm going to turn everything back on. If we decide that we're going to move one of these balloons, or we're going to resize it. Then we have to remember to do the same thing to the emboss artwork. They are dependent on each other, so always remember that whatever you do to your artwork, you have to do to the emboss, and vice versa. So now this is ready to send off to the printer.

And then the printer is going to coordinate with the die-making company. And they're going to create the embossing die. And then when the job's printed, they'll send it over to the embossing company. And they'll do the embossing. And I think this is going to look really cute when it's done. It's not going to be very pronounced, but it's just enough to give a little bit of shape and a little bit of visual interest. So now that you've seen this happen. I think this gives you an idea that it's really not that hard to do.

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