Embossing is the process of creating a raised or recessed designs on paper and other printed materials. An embossed pattern is raised against the background, while a debossed pattern is sunken into the surface of the material. This technique is often combined with foil stamping, as it alters the surface to create a three-dimensional effect. To learn what foil stamping is, read our previous blog post to find out more.

In order to make this possible, pressure is applied to the dies in order to squeeze the fibers of the paper, which results in a permanently raised design. The dies must be engraved into metal plates in order for them to successfully imprint on the material, while creating a high quality textural contrast to the surrounding area.

To achieve the best quality effect, there are three crucial factors that need to be adhered during the process:

1. Pressure of the weight of stock being embossed, as the pressure changes the intensity of the raised or indented design.
2. Maintaining consistent levels of heat in order to create the desired impression.
3. Die depth will need to be initially evaluated, so as the artwork’s depth appears as desired by the client.

There are different embossing types, which are used to produce various effects. Below are the many techniques:

Blind Emboss
A “blind” emboss refers to an emboss in which no ink (or foil) is used; as a result, the change in dimension is the only noticeable difference. This effect provides a subtle yet distinctive impression.
Registered Emboss

Registered embossing is a technique that aligns the embossed design another image created with another design, ink, foil, or punching.

Combination Emboss

Combination embossing is the process of embossing and foil stamping the same image. Basically, this comprises of both imprinting and aligning foil over the embossed image, thus producing a foil emboss. The process must be precise, as it involves a close application in order to keep the image and foil lined up perfectly.

Scorching results in an antique or vintage appearance in the embossed design, through heating the die plate beyond a normal temperature. Typically, it is preferred to use a lighter color paper for this technique, as to create a noticeable two-toned contrast. The effect, unfortunately, can interfere with the clarity of the design depending on the application.


Pastelling sounds like the name suggests—it embosses an image with a pearl, clear gloss, or pastel foil finish. This creates softer and lighter contrast to the paper.

Unlike pastelling, glazing produces a shiny appearance, which tends to work better with darker colors as the contrast becomes more apparent. When used in combination with foil stamping, it can create an illustrious and rich appearance.

You may be thinking, what types of projects should I actually use embossing for?

Embossing can be used for creating unforgettable invitations, postage stamps, legal documents, and seals.