Bring Bling With Foils
While conventional foil stamping is the most common way to add incredible metallic shine to your work, there are several cool alternatives on the market today. Use them to run foil inline with your colour printing, or even for short run, personalised and variable data projects.
While the paper runs through the foil stamping press (clamshell for letterpress for small to medium-size runs), a heated metal die presses your design on top of the foil, which frees it from its backing. The pressing of the die into the paper's surface leaves a slight impression in the paper, an extra tactile element.
Most versatile foil process, as it can foil and emboss in the same press run. It also has the ability to press refractive (micro-etched) patterns into the surface of the foil.
Special dies or plates are needed, which adds to the turnaround time and is more costly for smaller jobs.
COLD FOIL TRANSFER
Ideal for folding cartons, labels, magazine covers and point of sale displays, Cold Foil Transfer is mostly applied in-line during an offset printing process.
On a 6- (or more) colour press, the first 2 units are used to apply an adhesive and then foil to the sheet, respectively. The foil only sticks to the adhesive areas.
The CMYK stations of the press allow you to print on top of the foil in-line, thus creating any colour in the rainbow. Software from companies like Color Logic http://www.color-logic.com/ provides the ability to proof metallic overprinted colours before the final production is run.
Many PSPs specialising in labels and packaging
Metallic Gold, Silver and Holographic, which allow for unlimited metallic hues when overprinted with CMYK.
Medium to large
Most systems will run with coated papers (uncoated ones tend to absorb the adhesive). Coated papers will provide the best foil shine. However, new technologies are now available that provide the option to print cold foil on uncoated papers, which will allow us more flexibility in the future.
Ability to run in-line on the printing press and create unlimited metallic colours by overprinting CMYK. Excellent choice for projects that include significant foil coverage.
Mostly limited to applications on coated stocks. More feasible for larger-size runs.
Digital foiling encompasses offline processes that can enhance your offset and/or digitally printed piece with that extra-super shine. As these processes are digital, this means:
- No die, plate or film is required
- There is no pressure used, thus no deep impression on the paper
- They are ideal for short to medium print runs
- They offer the opportunity to use variable-data foiling.
Digital foiling is done in one of two ways: using either toner or varnish (polymer) as the base adhesive to ensure the foil adheres to the paper.
TONER BASED DIGITAL FOILING
This is a simple 2- to 3-step process. The artwork you want to be foiled is first printed in a rich black on a toner or ElectroInk digital press (depending on the foiling system your printer uses).
The sheet is then run through the sleeker and, with the help of a touch of heat, the foil is adhered to the black ink.
The sheet can now be run through the digital colour press again to add CMYK alongside your foil or in most cases even on top of it, allowing you to keep your foil look classic (Gold or Silver), or to go for unlimited metallic effects.
Many PSPs. This is still considered a new technology and the number of providers is growing.
All toner based digital foiling systems offer basic Metallic Gold and Silver. Some including our company Digitalpress can utilise many readily available foils, and most allow you to overprint the foil, thus providing unlimited colour options.
Short to medium
These systems work best with coated papers. Uncoated does work, however not as effective.
No dies, plates or film required so feasible option for shorter runs or prototypes; ability to use foil for personalisation. Being able to overprint the basic foil allows for thousands of metallic hues and can enhance images as well.
Multiple passes needed to apply toner, foil, and CMYK overprinting. Limited to short to medium runs.
VARNISH BASED DIGITAL FOILING
Print your project offset or digital first and then, in a separate pass, run them through a digital enhancement press to add super-shiny foil. The press lays down a clear polymer adhesive of your artwork first, which the foil will then adhere to.
Adding a thicker layer of adhesive allows for the foil to be raised above paper level providing an embossed look to the foiled image.
For certain applications, the printed and foiled sheet can be run back through the digital enhancement press where a clear spot coating can be applied on top of the foil (and printing for that matter), giving it an extra textured feel.
Several PSPs. This is still considered a new technology and the number of providers is growing.
Gold, Silver, Holographic and dozens more
Short to medium
Mostly coated uncoated with extra care
No dies, plates or film required so a good option for shorter runs; and the ability to use foil for personalisation. Adding clear polymer on top of the foil gives that extra tactile (embossed like) feel.
Not as feasible for larger-size foil areas, and limitations on paper stocks and foil colours. Polymer based foiling is not commonly overprinted the foil colour you choose is the colour you get.
For large foil areas, foiled substrates (aka "metalized laminates") are a wonderful option. Using paper or board as the basis, the foil is laminated to the substrate giving you one shiny and one white side for your creative outlet. (Or just one shiny side if you are printing labels or folding cartons.) Beyond offset printing, many foil substrates are now also available for digital presses.
While the foil colours available might seem limited (mostly Silver and Gold), remember you are printing on top of the foil, so your metallic shine options are unlimited. Yes, you can even recreate Gold on a Silver sheet. And if you want to keep some areas of your artwork true to colour, underprint White before adding CMYK.FOIL SUBSTRATES
Classic Gold, Silver, and Holographic, in some cases brushed options are available as well
Short to Large
Achieve metallic effects without a secondary process meaning only one pass on press is needed. A great option for large runs with full metallic coverage.
High cost for metallic paper/board stock, limited variety. White ink needs to be under printed where true colours are desired.