Foil printing is making big waves in the printing industry. It’s the perfect embellishment to add a little depth and sophistication to your project without distracting from the overall content.
Just a little foil accent can be enough to completely transform the look and feel of your collateral, business cards, mailers, or whatever deserves your audience’s attention.
Let’s look at some foil printing basics so you can put its benefits to work in your next project:
What Is Foil Printing?
If you’ve ever seen a business card or brochure with a bit of foil metallic accent, you’ve likely seen foil printing at work.
Briefly, foil printing (also referred to as hot stamping) is the process of adding foil accents to your printed pieces. Rather than ink, foil stamping uses a metallic material to add embellishments to your printed pieces, such as a border, logo, or lettering.
Gold leaf was the original foil stamping, being used on hardbound books hundreds of years ago. Today, graphic designers and companies can use similar techniques to add foil to print projects without being limited to just gold leaf. Foil can be added in a variety of colors to match the brand and goals of the company.
Everything from retail packages to books to business cards has been printed with foil, and that list continues to grow. Now, using materials other than pure gold, the process is more affordable and more widely available for businesses to use in their print projects.
The Different Types of Foil
Gold foil was once the standard of foil printing, but technology has given way to other options.
In addition to gold leaf, you could opt for pigment foils, which are glossy or matte colors that don’t have the metallic sheen commonly associated with foils.
Pearl and holographic foils are also common options. Pearl foil is transparent (or nearly transparent) and has a pearl-like finish. They’re primarily used to add shine, not color, to your projects. Holographic foils create a silvery rainbow-like effect, kind of like the back of a CD or DVD. Holographic foils can come in patterns, like dots or prisms.Foils provide visual interest that appeals to most anyone. They are the perfect choice when you want to communicate luxury and opulence.Click To Tweet
There are other types of foils, such as foil that resembles marble or wood. You can check with your printer to see what foil options are offered to complete your design.
How Are Foil Accents Printed?
Historically, gold foiling was always applied by hand. But could you imagine a print shop trying to apply tiny foil accents to 2×4 business cards by hand? Not only would be it be time-consuming and tedious, but it would also be astronomically expensive!
Nowadays, foil accents can be applied during the printing process. Printers use a special foiling die that applies the accent by machine. The die is very much like a rubber stamp, only it’s made of metal. The stamp is heated and presses the foil into your chosen substrate. The heat “melts” into the foil or is pressurized into your material.
The final result is a delicate, refined look and feel that would have taken several hours to do by hand, not to mention a ton of other resources.
How to Include Foil in Your Design
Deciding you want to add foil printing to your design is the easy part. But how do you account for foil in your graphic design?
In other words, how can you tell your printer where you want foil accents, how big they should be, and what they should look like?
It’s not like adding a specific printing color. Rather, you must plan for where the foil will appear in the final product.
For starters, the foil design needs to be created in vector format. This will ensure the shape of the foil is smooth and appears the way you expect it to. Also, graphic designers should create their foil accents in 100% values – no shading or gradients allowed. This is because foil is a single value color since it’s not actually “printed” on the material.
Helpful hint: You can convert the image of a pencil sketch you’ve drawn on paper into vector artwork using Adobe Image Trace.
Source: Adobe Help
Also, make your foil elements at least 1 pt. or greater. Anything smaller will run the risk of breakage or disappearing altogether. Avoiding fine detail can also help to ensure your foil printing turns out smooth and polished. You should work with your printer to ensure other guidelines are met to create a successful print project you can be proud of.
Las Vegas Color Is Your Foil Printing Partner
Adding foil printing is an inexpensive way to transform the entire look and feel of your project, and Las Vegas Color Graphics can help you tap into its many benefits.
Contact us today to get a quote on foil printing or to discuss your options. We’ll help you navigate the process of preparing your design for foil so you can get the best possible finished product and be proud to show it off.