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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.
Another method of paper sculpture is to use a laser and we're seeing more and more of this. It's a direct process wherein a laser essentially burns and evaporates parts of a piece of paper. Now it's a one off process meaning that it's one piece at a time. But there are some advantages. There's no die tooling involved because there's no die cutting. And it can hold very fine detail, it's a digital process, so that means that if you need to make a modification to a job, you don't have to recreate a die and start all over.
You can just recreate the digital file that's driving the laser. What's this used for? Well, projects like special event pieces, wedding invitations, business cards, I've seen a lot of greeting cards this way. How do you supply your artwork? Well, really it's just art that you would create in illustrator. You do have to keep some things in mind. Think of it as being sort of like a stencil. You have to have little bridges to hold little pieces in. In other words think of doing the letter O. How would you hold the center of the O in place? You have to have a little bridge across it.
Even though it can hold very small detail, they tell you that usually your smallest feature ought to be about 3 quarters of a millimeter. But if you look at a metric ruler, you'll see that's really pretty small. It doesn't replace high-volume die cutting because you have to do one piece at a time. And especially if you're creating simpler simpler pieces, if you're just cutting out a square, really should use a conventional die. But it has some advantages. If you want to do just a short run, or especially if you want to do personalized jobs, and we see this often with projects like wedding invitations, laser cutting is probably the way to go.
And to be able to render beautiful detail that really wouldn't be possible with conventional die cutting, laser cutting makes some things possible that otherwise you really couldn't do.
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