August 13, 2013 | By:

Top Three Ways to Upgrade Your Next Printed Piece

Looking to make your business card or brochure stand out against the rest? Give it a nudge by using one of many different printing techniques that can make your print piece more impactful.

1. Emboss/Deboss

Embossing and debossing are two similar techniques that are used to imprint images onto the paper, using heat to stretch the paper’s fibers so that they pop up (emboss) or down (deboss). Blind embossing is just applied to the blank paper, while a registered emboss uses ink or a foil stamp on top of the emboss.

As a designer I like to use these techniques when I want to add a simple, clean and elegant feel to a printed piece, creating a dimensional/sculpted finish.

Registered Emboss
Image credit:,, and

2. Die Cut

Die cutting uses a die made out of a steel blade used to punch or cut out irregular and unique shapes from the paper. You can use a perimeter die to cut the edges or border of your piece to create the main shape, or you can use a die to punch shapes out of the middle of your piece.

Although die cuts can be used for decorative elements, I like to use them for functionality purposes, for example creating a brochure with an angled fold and a unique notch system.

Die Cut
Image Credit:, and

3. Foil Stamp

A foil stamp is achieved by affixing a foil layer to the paper by a heating process. The foil is opaque against the paper which makes lighter colors on darker paper possible. There are several different finishes and colors of foil stamping options available including metallic, matte, holographic and clear.

I like to use foil stamping when I am looking to add something fun, bold and striking to the piece.

Foil Stamp
Image Credit:, and

Not only will your piece stand out by the way it looks visually, there’s also a lot of value in how your printed piece feels, and all of these processes create a tactile aspect along with the visual aspect.

Although some of these processes can get a little pricey, they can really make a difference by making your piece more impressive and effective to the prospective customer. Your printed piece can project a larger personality of you and your business, from the first impression, to the playing-with-it-in-your-pocket aspect of dimensionality that really resonates and gives a primary part of your brand identity (business card) a layer of impact that ink alone cannot accomplish.

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