Printing process using a chromium-coated or steel plate. The plate, or engraving die, is locked into the engraving press along with a counter-die (makeready die). Ink is applied with tremendous pressure against the paper. While some of the ink soaks into the paper fibers, most remains on the surface to create a subtle three-dimensional "raised" effect. A slight "bruise" or indentation is created on the back of the sheet, so this needs to be taken into consideration when designing.
Artwork: the smaller or more intricate the artwork, the less depth can be etched into the engraving plate. Indicate if the engraved pieces will be used in a laser printer or copier.
Inks: Engraving inks are opaque (i.e., white or silver ink can be used on black stock and will be completely opaque) and can be matched to almost any color. Because they are opaque, engraving inks are not suitable for 4-color process or trapping. Avoid metallic inks for fine lettering as it will appear grainy. Metallic inks can be "burnished" with a second pass through the press to add luster and make them appear smoother.
Paper: Cotton fibers give bond and writing paper the strength to withstand the intense pressures required to form an engraved image. A minimum weight of 20# to 28# bond produces the best results; avoid weights under 20#. The thicker the stock, the deeper the etch can be. The engraver should be consulted if coated or cast coated papers are being considered.
Size: Maximum image area on an engraving press is approximately 4" x 8". Letterhead designs requiring engraving at both the top and bottom will require two passes through the press.
Presswork: One plate and one pass through the press is required for each color.
Workflow: If the project involves multiple processes, engraving is usually done last.
Envelopes: Engrave after converting to ensure consistent image placement. A slight debossed image will appear on the back of the envelope. If necessary, flaps can be lifted.
Caution: Avoid large solids as they could cause ink voids in the engraved image.