Glamorous appearances, impressive advertising impact and products that you don't want to let out of your sight or out of your hands - all this is possible with print enhancements. But what options are there for enhancing print products? And for which purposes are cold foil finishing, flocking, cellophaning and co. suitable?

We would like to clear up any ambiguities! That's why we are starting our new series "Print finishing at a glance" with this article. In it, we give you an overview of the different print finishing options, present the advantages and disadvantages and help you decide which technique is right for you.

Let's go! In this article we will introduce you to the possibility of finishing printed products with foil. In this process, prints are partially enhanced with different foils. This creates absolutely impressive effects - not only visually, i.e. visible to the eye, but also haptically, i.e. tangible. There are basically two different processes for foil finishing, namely hot foil stamping and cold foil finishing.

How print finishing with hot foil stamping works

Classic hot foil stamping uses embossing dies or embossing rollers. These are heated on an embossing machine. In addition, an embossing foil is used that consists of several layers. Under the pressure and heat of the embossing tool, the foil melts and releases the transfer layers, which are then transferred to the substrate.

What is hot foil stamping suitable for?

With classic hot foil stamping, glossy and high-quality metallic effects are possible that not only look great but also have a tactile effect due to their light embossing. However, hot foil stamping requires special embossing dies, which entails high set-up costs and little flexibility. It can therefore quickly become expensive, especially for short runs. A better and more cost-effective option with almost the same results for many print products is therefore the combination of cold foil finishing and varnishing.

This is how cold foil finishing works

However, foil finishing also works without heat. Cold foil finishing, a newer printing process, produces similar results to hot foil stamping. However, the process does not require heat or pressure. Accordingly, the printed material is not deformed. In cold foil stamping, a special adhesive is applied to the substrate according to the motif. A film is then transferred that adheres to the areas coated with adhesive. Cold foil transfer can be carried out via an offline cold foil transfer system or via the particularly efficient inline process. With the latter, cold foil transfer and overprinting take place directly in one pass.

What is cold foil finishing suitable for?

By combining different foils (for example gold, silver or copper foil) and colours, amazing new shades can be created - for example a warm gold tone or a deep, metallic black. In addition, compared to hot foil stamping, the process convinces with high edge definition and the feasibility of very filigree elements. As the technology does not require hot stamping dies or rollers, cold foil finishing is also particularly fast, flexible and cost-effective - even for smaller print runs. However, while classic cold foil finishing produces visually impressive print finishes, it does not produce any haptic effects.

The advantages of both processes: Cold foil finishing with lacquering

Both film finishing processes have advantages and disadvantages. However, this does not necessarily mean that you have to choose one process and accept its limitations.

At printsmarter we have the possibility to combine cold foil finishing with varnishing. With our Scodix Ultra Pro™ you can use all the advantages of cold foil finishing for your print product and achieve great optical effects. At the same time, we work with partial varnishing to create unique haptic effects. This way we offer you individual possibilities to combine the advantages of both processes and to print high-quality finished books, flyers, posters or business cards at a reasonable price!