Every day, we receive inquires from clients about different specialty treatments they’ve seen on various marketing pieces and want to use on  their own collateral. Usually, they have an idea of what it looks like but are unfamiliar with the correct term of the treatment, how it works, or what the cost is. More likely than not, these clients have come face to face with one of the following specialty processes: deboss, emboss, die-cut, foil stamp, or painted edges. To ease the frustration of the unknown, we’ve listed visuals and information on the 5 most popular specialty treatments requested for various marketing and event materials today.

Debossing is a treatment where a pattern is sunken into the surface of the material. It’s a subtle effect that looks clean and professional, and adds a touch of elegance to any printed material.

Embossing is the process of creating a raised or recessed design on paper and other printed materials. Although this technique is often combined with foil stamping, as it alters the surface to create a three-dimensional effect, blind embossing has become a much bigger trend as of late (pictured above). This is an emboss in which no ink -or foil- is used. As a result, the change in dimension is the only noticeable difference. It provides a subtle, yet distinctive impression on a printed piece.

Foil stamping is a popular finishing process that is used to enhance a printed piece, where a heated die is literally stamped into the foil. The variety of color and finish is vast, ranging from opaque pigment to metallic foils to patterns. It can be utilized as a stylish treatment on almost any design. Today, one of the most sought-after types of finishes is clear foil stamp.  


Die-cutting is the process of cutting irregular shapes in paper using a die. It’s one of the best techniques to use for marketing and event materials because you can create custom pieces at an extremely affordable price. Believe it or not, this is one of the most cost-effective specialty treatments to add to any sort of collateral.

Painted edges is exactly what it sounds like, the process of applying a color to the edges of printed paper, whether it be invitations, envelopes, books, journals, folders, etc. It can be done in any color including various foils and metallics. This treatment will give your marketing and event collateral a little extra “something, something” and truly make it pop!