What Are The 3 Techniques Of Foil Printing

We believe that foil printing has a luxurious and attractive, upmarket appearance. It suggests that the owner of the business card you've received or the event organiser of the invite you've opened cares and takes pride in the presentation. First impressions mean a lot, and with metallic foil print, it isn't only eye-catching, but it stands out as looking incredible. It also feels wonderfully tactile thanks to the soft-touch background and smooth shiny foil.

All foil isn't printed equal though, in today's printing world there are two types of foiling machines and methods to create a foil look: foil stamping that has roots in the past, and digital foil printing that is leading the way in amazing, cutting edge, yet affordable metallic foil print.


Traditional Foil Stamping Vs. Digital Foil Printing

The Traditional Foil Stamping Method

Until recently, the only way to achieve a printed foil finish on paper was traditional foil stamping with hot foil stamping machines. Stamp foiling involves using custom shaped heated plates that press foil into the paper. It generally works well on thicker material, as the foil sets via the debossing (leaving an indentation) and pressure applied by the stamp.

As the stamp plates for each job or design are unique, the foil stamping process is time-consuming. It is therefore quite artisan and as a result, can be expensive. The main drawback is that sometimes you're forced to pick from specific pre-made stamp patterns that limit your customisability. If you wanted different names on your invitations foiled, or perhaps a few different names on your set of gold foil business cards, you'd need a separately made foil stamp for each one. They're not cheap either!


Hand full of foil pressing stamps


Our Digital Foil Printing Method

Digital foil printing is a lot easier to make as it is printed directly from a computer file. The print achieved is smooth, rather than embossed; as you'd get with traditional foiling block method. It is, therefore, a lot easier to produce and makes a more cost-effective choice for the customer, without really any significant drawbacks.

You're also never tied down to choosing a pre-made pattern because with our digital foil printing method no stamps are required. Suddenly, printing individual names on your foiled invites or different designs for your foil menus is very simple. With foil stamping, you could achieve this, but if each print were different, you’d need tons of different stamps making up which would cost a fortune.

Finally, with our digital foil printing, there is no waiting period to set up the printer as the details are all stored digitally. We can simply get your approval of the files and print them in a matter of days, whereas with foil stamping you could be waiting weeks to even get your foil stamp created.


Metallic print foil on a roll


How Does Your Foil Printing Method Work?

With our digital foiling method, we place your desired foil colour, which comes in rolls, on our high-pressure foil printer. When the foil is rapidly heated and pressed onto the paper, the foil detaches and adheres to anywhere printed in ink. You might be thinking, well how come the foil doesn't stick to everything on my design? We'll to achieve the look of only having foil where you want it, we have to print it in two stages. First, we print everything you don't want to be a metallic foil. We then seal off that layer of print with a matt soft-touch laminate. Finally, we overprint in black only the parts of the design you want in foil. This is where we then feed it through our machine to make the foil stick.


Which Foil Print Method Is Best?

Without stating the obvious, we definitely think that the digital method of foil printing is the best. It offers so much more benefit to our customers from the sheer amount of customisation options you can have. From having much more intricate foil designs to being able to have different designs or aspects of your prints foiled. While there is no substitute for the embossed texture you get from traditional foil stamping, the amount you'll save by printing with the digital method is huge. Especially if you're more interested in having shiny reflective foil over a duller foil with embossing.

As always, if there's anything you need assistance with, we're here to help, so get in touch and ask away! We'd love to digitally print your next set of foil business cards or foiled invitations.