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


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

with Claudia McCue

Video: Sculptured embossing

The most advanced form of multilevel embossing is something called sculptural embossing. It really is paper sculpture. So that multilevel aspect adds dimension. It requires brass dies so they can hold the detail. And brass dies almost always require hand work anyway. But when you're creating something that's really a sculpture. That's going to require an artist's touch. It really is a form of engraving. So how do you provide the artwork to the die maker? Vector art as much as you can for sharp components.

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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

Sculptured embossing

The most advanced form of multilevel embossing is something called sculptural embossing. It really is paper sculpture. So that multilevel aspect adds dimension. It requires brass dies so they can hold the detail. And brass dies almost always require hand work anyway. But when you're creating something that's really a sculpture. That's going to require an artist's touch. It really is a form of engraving. So how do you provide the artwork to the die maker? Vector art as much as you can for sharp components.

And then separate the layers out for each level of embossing. And it's really just sort of a crude start. It gives them a start for milling when they create sort of the base of the brass sculpture. And it's going to be up to the die maker to do some engraving, and hand work to refine it. It's helpful if you provide a Photoshop file or a sketch that indicates how you want the shading to be handled. So this is really just a start for the die maker. It's going to show them the size. And where the lettering's going to go and so forth. And they'll use this as a starting point for milling out that piece of brass. This gives them a general idea of how we want the edge of that milled die to be. How we want the lettering handled, how we want that rim around the outside handled and, of course, the text.

But the head is going to have to largely be handled by hand. What happens when they mill, they're just going to sort of leave a general area there for the head. And then it's going to be up to the die maker to refine it. Here's the little sketch to give them a rough idea how we want it shaded. But again, keep in mind the die maker really is a sculptor, and you have to rely on his instinct to do the best job. When this piece is finished, it's been embossed with something called a combination die. And a combination die performs embossing and foil stamping simultaneously. It looks like a piece of metal coming out of the paper. It's an absolutely gorgeous piece.

And the dye maker did a fabulous job on it. We just gave him a start, he's the one who really made it shine. This is truly craftsmanship in printing. It's created by artisans, it requires an artist's touch. That dye is one of a kind. The dye itself, honestly is a work of art. But it's a collaboration between you as a designer and the die maker, and you should think of him as a sculptor. And it's really something to be proud of when the job is finished.

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