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Ink on Paper > Die Cutting > Choosing the best printing effect

Choosing the best printing effect


There is a wide range of fresh and exciting special printing effects to experiment with that can really enable your advertising and marketing materials to appear unique and attract attention – from foil stamping and die cutting to embossing and debossing.

Special printing effects are attractive to the eye, and they also prompt people to use their sense of touch. Scientists have proven that tactile stimuli have a deeper connection to the memory than comparable visual or auditory stimuli. By investing in special printing features, you make a longer lasting impression on your potential customers.

  • Die cutting
  • Embossing and debossing
  • Foiling (Foil stamping)
  • Metallic inks
  • Spot UV
  • Varnish
  • Laminate


Die cutting is a special printing effect that uses steel cutting dies to cut specific designs and shapes into your printed materials. Die cuts refers to the areas of the material that are sheared away by the dies blade in a fashion that is similar to a cookie cutter.

Patterns and Shapes
Die cutting creates patterns from the decorative shapes that get cut out. Many times, the cut piece will be incorporated with a larger piece to provide a window-like or frame effect, allowing part of an interior image to peek through. Other times, the main shape of an object is formed by die cutting the paper in a specifically designed manner.
A die cut can be as simple as a slit created to hold a business card to a folder by its corners, round corners on a business card or as intricate as a complex design for a greeting card. With a tantalizing combination of tactile and visual appeal, these special printing effects can get quite creative. They tend to enhance images and text by allowing them to stand out from the background.

Popular Designs
Some of the more common uses for die cutting are door hanger slits, holes, flaps, rounded corners, and pop-ups. We at Ink on Paper have a large variety of dies in stock, but also specially order metal dies for custom orders.


Embossing and debossing are related special printing effects that use metal dies, pressure, and heat to transform a paper’s surface. They’re usually used to texturise business cards and to design beautiful invitations, such as those used for weddings.

Embossing uses male and female dies to raise graphics and lettering from paper to create a visually enticing three-dimensional effect. Many business owners use this cool printing technique on business cards and brochures, allowing them to stand out from their competitors.

Debossing is a similar process, though the male and female dies lower the surface of the paper to create lettering or an image. The lettering is pressed inward through the same basic technique as embossing, with two metal dies meeting on the paper.


Foiling or foil stamping is a specialty printing process that uses heat, pressure, metal dies and foil film. The foil comes in rolls in a wide assortment of colours, finishes, and optical effects. Metallic foil is most commonly seen today – particularly gold foil, silver foil, copper foil, and holographic metallic foils – but foil rolls are also available in solid colors in both glossy and matte finishes.

This process can highlight your logo or text on your printed material such as your business card. Popular choices are gold, silver or rose gold amongst other choices.


Metallic inks are a less expensive alternative to foiling, but still create special printing effects that catch the eye. While the results may appear similar, metallic ink is an actual toner used by printers to acquire the same shiny effect.

Metallic ink contains gold or silver flakes, which allow text and graphics to pop, especially when contrasted with dark-colored paper. This printing technique should use the metallic inks sparingly to focus the eye on a special offer or feature, since overuse can overwhelm your potential customers.


Spot UV coating is applied to matte coating to cure particular areas of flat paper into a slightly glossed section designed to capture visual interest. This area of focus usually contains text, graphics, or images that can be tilted back and forth to create a holographic effect, resulting from reflected light.


Varnish is a liquid shellac that is added to a printed piece of paper to provide it with either a satin, glossy, or dull finish. Similar to a clear top coat of paint, varnish is applied as a final layer of ink over a printed item. It protects the final product from smudges, scratches, and other types of damage, such fingerprint marks. Its crisp effect can enhance readability of an item by reducing glare. It is also applied to photos printed on matte paper in order to make them “pop” and to strengthen them so they last longer.


Great for protecting the ink coverage from scratching while also giving a thicker feel. Often times, this coating eliminates scratches, scuffs, and tears. It provides either a glossy or a matte finish and provides a unique look that stands.


Our new soft touch laminate is practically a matte finish laminate with a velvety soft feel to it, absorbing all the light rather than reflecting it.

If you have any questions or would like to see samples from our large portfolio of special effect prints, call us @ INK ON PAPER on 8326 3889.