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How to Design Print Materials for Foil Finishing

You don’t just want another business card or flyer – you want something eye-catching, bold and even a little fancy. You may think foil stamping effects are a bit over-the-top for the average business, but dare to be above average and brave the shiny world of foil.

Foil stamping is created by etching a design onto a metal die, then a piece of special foil is placed between the die and paper. This printing sandwich is then placed in a hot stamping press to seal the deal and your material comes out embossed with a metallic sheen.

Adding foil elements to your your material gives it class, sophistication and a ‘look at me’ quality that is second to none.

However, before you go recruiting your printer to slap the sparkle everywhere, there are a few things to consider in your design.

Ask The Experts

Start with some research. Before launching into designing your material and choosing which elements you want to emboss, it’s wise to talk to a graphic designer about their experience and recommendations. The may have some previous work you can look at for ideas, or will be able to offer insights on how to tweak your current branding to incorporate foiled elements. Alternatively, take a look around the world wide web for some examples and take notes on which ideas will work for your business.

Similarly, your printer may have some examples of work they have foiled so you can gauge a better idea of the finished look. This will also allow you to check out the colour range they offer so you can design your new-look material accordingly.


Be Selective in Which Design Elements Are Foiled

Use foil to highlight specific design elements, rather than having a whole big shiny mess. In the case of foiling, keep it simple – less is often more. You company’s motto or catchphrase is a great element to consider foiling on any print material, but be aware that foiled letters often appear larger and you need it to remain easy to read. A logo or icon are other great elements to foil as it makes them stand out and can help your brand get noticed and recognised.

On material such as letterheads, you might like to foil your company name or header details. Make sure any area to be foiled is greater than 1pt wide, otherwise it will be quickly lost.

If you are feeling particularly extravagant, some designs look amazing when larger elements such as the background are foiled. This works beautifully on small printed items such as business cards, but shy away from glitzing up larger documents too much.Try foiling design lines, contours or illustrations as another option.

Choose Your Paper Stock Wisely

Foil requires clean lines to be effective, so opt for a coated or smooth paper stock to get the most from your jazzed-up material. Thicker papers also often look best with foil. Have a good look at all your options and ask your printer for some paper stock samples to actually see and feel before making any decisions – there is a lot to choose from!

Always Request a Proof

Once you have mapped out your design, chosen which elements to foil and sorted your paper stock, it is time for printing. However, before your printer warms up their machine, always request a digital proof. Check this VERY carefully for typos and design flaws. Once the metallic die has been set, it can be very expensive and time consuming to re-do, so get it right the first time to save you both a lot of heartache.

From business cards, to flyers, letterheads and brochure covers, there is a multitude of effects you can create with a touch of foil. Go ahead, be bold and get creative with your next project – and take your print material to the next level!

Kym Wallis

Kym Wallis

Digital Advisor at ColourTech
Kym Wallis, the founding director of Higher Ranking has over 15 years of advertising sales, digital strategy, and business development experience. He is currently working as Digital Adviser for Colourtech.
Kym Wallis

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