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Printing Techniques: Embossing

Embossing is the process of creating a three-dimensional image or design on a flat flexible surface, which is accomplished by using a combination of heat and pressure. It creates a raised image/impression and can be used on a number of different materials to include leather, rubber, plastic and paper.

Debossing is the process of heat and pressure imprinting a design/image onto the surface material creating a depression rather than the raised impression that the embossing process creates.

All the products shown in the pictures have been manufactured by Think Tank.

How is This Achieved?

A metal die, which is a specialist tool used to shape products/ materials, is created in the reverse of the design required. The die is connected to a machine which uses a combination of heat and a stamping method to push the heated metal die into the product leaving a permanent imprint of the design.
If used in conjunction with inks it is referred to as colour register embossing and if no ink is used it is referred to as blind embossing.

Types of Embossing/Debossing

Blind Embossing

This form of embossing does not include the use of ink or foil to highlight the embossed area. The change in the dimensional appearance of the material is the only noticeable difference and provides a clean and distinctive 3D image or effect.

Foil Embossing

Also known as hot foiling, the process where a sheet of coloured foil is placed in between the metal die and product so that the foil is stamped into the design.

Combination Embossing

This process allows the end user to have a product which is part blind embossed and part foil embossed.

Pastelling or tint leaf embossing

This involves using a combination die to provide a subtle antique appearance to a substrate that is foil stamped and embossed. 


This refers to a finished embossed area that has a shiny or polished appearance, generally achieved by the heat of the die on the right material.


This process is similar to glazing except that it is not used to polish the stock, instead, the temperature is increased to create a scorched effect resulting in an antique or shaded appearance.
Products that are recommended for this method are leather and bonded leather items such as folders, travel wallets, passport wallets, laptop bags, leather keyfobs and luggage tags.

Benefits of Embossing/Debossing

• Embossing gives a high-quality finish to the product
• Blind embossing offers exclusive and subtle branding
• Suitable for small logos
• A permanent branding method

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