Embossing and Debossing

A male and female die is used in combination with heat and pressure to form a raised image (emboss) or a recessed image (deboss). Dies can be single level, multi-level, sculptured or beveled.

A few tips when specifying embossing:

  • It is important to note if ink is to be applied to the embossed or debossed image, or if it is a "blind" emboss or deboss (no ink on or touching the emboss area).
  • Paper must be specified prior to making the die.
  • Finished embossing will appear to be slightly smaller than the original art.
  • Letterspace type more than normal to allow room for the die bevel.
  • Artwork should be vector line art (i.e., Illustrator) rather than a raster (pixel) image.
  • Art for multi-level dies should be created in Illustrator with separate color-coded levels. Each die level should be on a separate layer in the file.
  • Provide a laser proof of the die art, and mark each layer: "paper level", "1 level above paper" or "1 level below paper" etc.
  • A multi-level or gradually-curved die on thick stock will give the maximum impression.
  • Multi-level embossing or debossing requires a brass die.
  • Don't use thin rule weights; 2-point rules or thicker are optimum.
  • Paper may wrinkle if embossed images are placed too close to the edge.
  • Avoid borders near folds, or the piece may not fold in the right place.
  • A cross-grain emboss may cause buckling.