Embossing and Debossing Part 2: Types and Styles

Embossing is the procedure used to add a raised element to your printed project. There are a variety of embossing types, each creating their own unique effects. There are three main types of embossing styles based on the type of die or tool used: single-level, multi-level, or sculptured. Single-level dies are used to create flat images; a multi-level die can be designed to create almost limitless possibilities and provide more texture and relief to the design; while sculptured emboss is typically created with a hand tool process. Sculptured embossing uses a variety of depth levels to make the design or imagery appear more realistic and also provides more of a multi-dimensional appearance.


Blind Emboss

Blind embossing can be used on just about any image. However, this style does not utilise ink or foil to the embossed area. The only difference in the stock paper is in the dimension, or raised portion, of the design. A blind emboss is best used when creating a delicate or subtle change to the overall design.


Combination Emboss

Combination embossing uses both the foil stamping process and the embossing process on the same design. This style requires for both imprinting and the alignment of the foil over the embossed imagery. The process must be very precise. This is due to the fact combination embossing requires close application in order for the image and foil to be lined up perfectly.



Glazing is similar to how it sounds. This type of emboss creates an area that is shiny or polished in appearance. Generally, heat is used to apply the pressure to create the shiny impression on the paper stock. It is recommended to use glazing on darker colored heavy weight paper stock. This polished effect is significantly more noticeable on darker colors, and darker colors also help to prevent discoloration that can occur from using heat. Glazing can also be used in conjunction with foil to provide a somewhat brighter appearance.



Pastelling is also known as tint leaf embossing. This method adds a pearl, clear gloss, or pastel foil finish to the embossed area of your design. Pastelling works best with lighter colored paper stocks and adds a soft contrasting effect to the overall design.


Registered Emboss

Registered emboss is similar to a blind emboss. However, a registered emboss is a process that places the initial emboss design in alignment with a second element of either: ink, foil, punching, or even a second embossed image.



Scorching and glazing are very similar. The main difference is scorching is not used to polish the design. Instead, heat is used to create an antique, vintage, or shaded appearance. Since heat is used to create this look, it is very important to use caution. Otherwise, it can burn the paper stock. Lighter colored paper stock is best for scorching because it helps provide a two-toned appearance. Scorching should avoid being close to the printed sections and be applied carefully to prevent clarity problems with your design.

Embossing is a great way to add elegance and professionalism to your printed project. It is important to keep in mind the embossing style and type you are planning to use when choosing your paper stock. The overall look can change depending upon the choices you make. For instance, heavier paper stocks typically provide greater details, while the paper stock coloring can determine whether or not the appearance will be affected by the embossing process.

1 – Image courtesy of Publicide

2 – Image courtesy of Visual Graphics Online

3 – Image courtesy of Digital Printing Tips

4 – Cover Image courtesy of McIntosh Emboss