Whether you're making employee nameplates or business cards, chances are you'll be looking for engraving and embossing services. If you find you're consistently seeking out such services, it may be a good idea to familiarize yourself with engraving and embossing services key terms. From engraving styles such as traditional, thermography and laser, to the styles of embossing, which include foil stamping, blind and debossing, you may find it beneficial to know the meaning of several engraving and embossing services key terms.
Plate, or die
The art of engraving, which has been around for centuries, involves etching letters or an image into a metal plate, which is also called a die, applying ink to the plate, and then forcing paper onto the plate. This process transfers the image or letters to the paper. Engraving plates can be made of steel, brass or copper.
Thermography, or raised ink
Rather than using etched plates, or dies, thermography takes the opposite approach. Raised letters or images on the plate are transferred to paper with ink, giving a raised or 3-D look. Thermography is often a cheaper alternative to traditional engraving while still providing an engraved appearance.
Foil, or hot, stamping
You can add colored designs and graphics to whatever you are embossing by utilizing foil or hot stamping. In this process, colored foils are placed on a die, or plate, and extreme heat is used to transfer the color. No ink is used in foil stamping, which is why it is sometimes also referred to as dry stamping.
A blind emboss refers to the transfer of letters or images without the use of ink, foil or any other substance. The blind emboss process is mostly used for a subtle look.
Combination foil embossing
This process combines both foil stamping and embossing. Used in packaging, as well as for greeting cards and book publishers, this embossing style requires two passes in the embossing process, one using foil stamps and the other embossing to add color or letters to images.
Some materials, such as wood, metal or plastic, can be engraved using a laser. This method burns letters or images into whatever material is being used. Many laser-engraving machines are computer-guided, and this process is quick and produces a clean engraving.