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Embossing and debossing – What is that?

By Steffen Andersen · 15. May 2020

There are different ways to make the printed articles stand out by not only using the design. One of the methods is by using embossed printing or debossed printing. When getting the print embossed or debossed it will normally cost some extra, but many companies and especially high-end takeaway shops get their takeaway paper cups made with embossed print. We will in this article go over what it means to have the print embossed or debossed, and how the process works. 

Embossed printing

Let’s first get the definition of embossed printing in place – Embossing is a pressing method into the paper that creates a three-dimensional design. It can both be a design, text, logo, or other images. The three-dimensional would be made by raising the surface of the graphics, and it would be higher than the rest of the paper in the print. The embossed printing will normally give a modern and high-end look.

Debossed printing

As you might already have guessed debossed printing is the opposite of embossed printing. When debossing it results in the design, text, logo, or image being pressed into the surface, so the debossed area is lower than the surrounding paper. The debossing effects give an authentic and old-school look, just as when typing machines were used back in the old days. 

The method can be used for printing on a lot of different materials, it can be used for both paper, plastic and metal. But it is mostly used for printing on paper since the pressing mechanism needs to be enhanced a lot when used for materials such as plastic and especially metal. 

How is the embossed or debossed print made?

To make the embossed or debossed the printing machine uses a counter die, which is two metal plates that are cut into the graphics that you want to have debossed or embossed. This means there will be a die on each side of the material, so it can be either used for the press or relief mechanism.  The counter die is formed into the graphics normally via photo-etching.

The upper die can then either press into the material like a stamp, with the die under the other side as support so the material doesn’t break, and then leave it be and it has then created a debossed printed. Or it can press into the material and make the upper die stick to the material via heat, and press from the die on the other side, the method can then raise the stamped area, which will make the print be embossed. The embossed can either be single-level or multi-level. The single-level raises all the stamp area to be in the same height, where multi-level can raise an area of the already embossed area, so it will be “double” embossed. 

Conclusion

Embossing and debossing is a great way to make your printed articles stand out, and it is a great tool to use in your design process. It can be used to give your business the old school look that you want, or the more high-end and classy look that is fitting with your brand. We have some customers who have used the opportunity of getting the design on their paper cups embossed. The only downside of embossing and debossing that the set-up cost of the process is rather high which makes it is rather expensive. 

Content and Marketing Manager at Limepack

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