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Knowledge Base

Emboss vs Deboss in Packaging

Embossing for Printing and Packaging

Embossing is a popular finishing technique for packaging and printed items. It creates visual complexity by adding a new dimension to your brand message and graphic.

Your earliest introduction to this type of technique may have been in your childhood years – greeting cards often use this effect!

What Does Embossing Look Like?

In the simplest terms, an embossed design is a raised design of an image or textual content pressed onto a cardstock or paper.

Ink and foil can usually manipulate the design. Sometimes the effect appears in its original form (blind emboss).

Embossing has a wide range of applications, from brochures, postcards and business cards to letterheads, certificates, folders and certificates.

A custom greeting card with embossing.
Greeting Card with Embossing
Types of Embossing

Embossing can incorporate a number of die styles to achieve unique effects.

For instance, round dies produce images with rounded corners while the flat dies create straight edges and hard shapes.

For a deep emboss effect, the use of beveled dies often create tapering/sloping sides. This can achieve a more or less 3-dimensional effect can be with sculptured dies that create multiple layers.

The Process of Embossing

Machine etching or hand engraving a ‘female die’ can also achieve elegant designs.

A ‘male die’ is placed under the paper or substrate and the female die is positioned over it. Machine apply pressure to transfer the design onto the paper.

The result demonstrates a visual depth, though is it usually no more than 25 micron.

Either text or both image and text may be embossed. The technique renders work especially well for heavier stock and detailed die, creating intricacy and depth to take visual interest to the next level.  

As mentioned earlier, foil stamping can be added to the embossing process to enhance the visual intensity of the printed piece.

It is often used to highlight key details of the design, such as logos, slogans or graphics. Gold and silver foils are commonly used, through solid colors are also employed to enhance the visual quotient of the product.

Why is Embossing Used?

Businesses appreciate the following advantages of embossing to their marketing and brand-building  goals:

  • Immediate attention and product differentiation
  • A memorable experience for their consumers
  • A higher recall value/brand identification
  • Higher benefits versus costs (good ROI)

What is Debossing?

In contrast to embossing, debossing creates a depressed imprint on a surface (cardstock or paper).

It is another technique available to create visual interest. The process is the same but requires reversing the position of the male and female dies.

Like embossing, deboss can be used with foil stamping and printing. It can also be used to achieve multi-layered, multi-dimensional effects.

Explore other print finishing for your product: foil stampingwindow patching & spot UV

About author

Mark Velarga

Mark Velarga is PakFactory's Director of Digital & Content Marketing. He writes about all things related to design, business and technology and how it serves value to customers, business owners, packaging designers and industry experts. Connect with him on Linkedin.
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