3D embossing

Three-dimensional embossing effects on cardboard

Tactile and palpable prints are particularly appealing: Three-dimensional embossing of printed images can make them even more lifelike. For example, the bark of a tree or the knobs of a basketball suddenly become tangible and tactile.

Psychological added value through tactility

The haptic touch also activates the touch sense. And the more senses you appeal to, the greater the cross-linking and memory storage in the brain. For example, a mailing that is pleasant to the touch creates a longer attention span, a higher response rate and an improved recall of your advertising message.

Variations of embossing in print

  • If the image is raised, i.e. above paperlevel, it is referred to as embossing
  • If the image is recessed, i.e. below paperlevel, it is called debossing
  • single-level embossing has one raised level. A single-level debossing has one immersed level.
  • multi-level embossing has two or more levels parallel to the paper surface.
  • Sculptured 3D relief embossing, on the other hand, shows three-dimensional gradients and body shapes, such as a face or statue.
  • A more historical term for tactile embossing is "blind embossing". The word "blind" is intended to indicate that the embossing image is positioned on plain paper without printing ink involved in its area.

Light reflection enhances printed effect

Additional light reflection greatly enhances the visual effect of an embossing. There are two possibilities for this:

  1. Metallization of the embossing image with a very thin layer of reflective metal, a so-called foil relief embossing.
  2. High-gloss UV varnishing of the embossing image.

Paper and cardboard for embossing

Paper and cardboard can be embossed well up to around 500g/m². With thick cardboard and paperboard, the material is often too thick for embossing. Here, however, a well palpable indentation can usually be pressed in. Papers that are too thin usually have too little body to allow impressive deformation.

Important tips for your embossed printing type

Embossing sounds very simple at first glance. Nevertheless, a few points are crucial for success already in the conception phase:

  1. The embossed image is visible laterally reversed and inverted on the reverse side. A high embossing, for example, is present on the reverse side as a side-inverted debossing. The debossing on the reverse side is therefore often cleverly incorporated in graphic design as a "space divider".
  2. The human eye focuses more on distracting color contrasts than on height differences. The embossing of a high-contrast pre-printed image, such as a black headline on white paper, is therefore hardly noticeable. Remedy: Avoid high color contrasts or use spot UV-varnish to add light reflection to the embossing.
  3. The embossing height, that can be achieved, depends very much on the suitability of the paper for embossing. Both the paper manufacturer and we will be happy to advise you in more detail.
  4. "naked" embossingwithout light-reflecting additional effects such as gloss varnish or metallization, is a great plus for activating the sense of touch. However, it will never be the eye-catcher that attracts potential customers from a distance and invites them to look at it.

Below are some "impressive" examples in our photo gallery:

3D foil relief embossing in metallic gold look, light-reflecting, tactile 3D relief embossing with additional UV varnishing in high gloss of the embossing motif (3D varnish embossing) on paper Plastic deformation of cardboard by metallic foil relief embossing with rounded edges High embossing with gloss varnish effect, on real metallic paper simsa MetalPaper Gold Satin UV varnish and embossing with rounded, protruding letters Metallic 3D foil stamping on uncoated paper UV coating and embossing with 3D relief of a body sculpture UV coating and embossing with rounded, bulging letters 3D-relief foil stamping hologram effect silver on cardboard

Possible substrates

Possible printing methods

Possible further processing