Who doesn’t like a little bling?! Ok, sometimes your brand doesn’t want the bling but foil definitely has its place in design production. Foil adds that extra emphasis you need to stand out on shelf and feel a little more luxury. You have options in foil now – not just foil “stamping”. Very basically, there is cold foil application and hot foil stamping. Then you search for the right foil material – that’s when your options really open up! Holographic foil, silver foil, shiny foil, satin, pigment foils are all available to try to help your brand convey the right image. Holographics and silver foils are standard materials for cold foil -traditional hot foil has the huge variety of colors and finishes. You can even do a combination of foil and embossing to really make a statement!.
One of my favorite informational sites is for ITW Foil – here’s the link to their Cold Foil section: ITW Cold Foil. Some great stuff here including the chance to order their Design Guidelines book
I like cold foil when the customer wants an artistic look with the benefits of foil shimmer. Cold foil is applied inline on the printing press with a glue and then printed on top of the foil. Cold foil is usually a silver or holographic base. Since offset inks are transparent for this application, whatever color you print over the foil becomes foil like. If your art calls for multiple colors of foil or a gradation with foil support, this is the way to go. Plates are used on press for the foil so there is no separate tooling for cold foil.
There is still plenty of use for hot foil stamping! It’s produced with a combination of heat and pressure to transfer the foil material to your substrate including paper, plastic, and even corrugated. Here are some photos of the tooling needed for the most common foil application known as foil stamping. Most equipment uses a platen (flat application) base, but there are also rotary stamping machines. Rotary machines have cylindrical stamping tools – platen tools are flat. The rotary tools are more costly but both last a reaalllly long time! My rotary experience is with the Steuer, made by Bobst. If you want to see more info, you can check out their page all about stamping here: Bobst Foil. Kurz is a supplier of foil around the world and has been our go to vendor. They always have over the top production samples to show the amazing possibilities of foil stamping. Here’s the link to their Parrot Poster from Drupa 2016.
TOOLING AND PRODUCTION EYE CANDY
This second image is a rotary foil stamping die.
And here they are in storage waiting for their next job to be used.
Both types of tooling are made in the same manner. The rotary stamping machinery is used for very intricate images. For more about stamping tooling, there are beautiful photographs at the H+M website. The two photos below show the tools mounted to the honeycomb on the stamping presses. Flat left, rotary right.
Photos of Foil Stamping Usage