You don’t need to be a foil expert to have a baseline understanding of the most popular foiling methods. Foil is a common specialty design feature for a variety of printed materials. Dependent upon one’s desires or needs, foil as a design feature may be applied via a temperature-related process—either cold printing or hot stamping.
A few major differences separate the two techniques; most importantly the application process and the type of materials that the foil can be applied to. The variation in appearance is fairly minor. To best compare cold foil printing vs. hot foil stamping, let’s take a closer look at these differing intricate processes in the world of foil design.
Cold foil originated from a simple idea. As a temperature-related in-line process, this method utilizes a printing press to press an image onto a base layer with a UV-curable cold foil adhesive. A UV lamp or dryer activates this adhesive—no direct heating equipment is necessary. The foil bonds to the adhesive and the substrate layer to create an image until the process is finished by removing the foil from the adhesive. The process may sound a bit complicated but is relatively straightforward and inexpensive.
To compare cold foil printing vs. hot foil stamping, hot foil stamping direct uses a heating process. A heated die, aka stamp, of the foil design is prepared and mounted to the top of the stamping machine. This die is then stamped onto the foil, which runs between the stamp on top and the substrate layer on the bottom. When pressure is put from the die onto the foil, the pattern is mixed onto the surface material. This combination of heat and pressure beautifully transfers the design onto paper with true dimension.
The Pros and Cons
Each of the above foiling methods has its own pros and cons, depending on one’s budget, aesthetic desires, and type of printing material the foil is applied to. Cold foiling is significantly faster and cheaper in comparison to hot foiling, but when high quality is concerned, hot foiling is the way to go for a real finish. Either way, a wide array of colored hot and cold foils are available for reflectivity on your product labels, cards, invitations, or marketing materials.
The decision is entirely up to you. Many commercial print companies offer either of the above foil stamping services to enhance your printing projects. Here at House of Printing, we provide innovative foil stamping methods to add style and dimension to your printed materials. Contact us today to learn more about our digital print sleeking or traditional foiling methods. Our wide range of printing services is sure to fit your specific project’s needs.