Dies are the critical tool for achieving the desired results. There are a number of die materials available, including magnesium, copper and brass. The decision to use one over the other is determined by the complexity of the design, the length of the run and the desired longevity of the die.
Magnesium Dies are economical and good for short runs: 1,000 to 5,000 impressions on good smooth stock. For embossing, there will be a slight round appearance. Bevels on copper or magnesium cannot be controlled as well as when using a die made from brass.
Copper Dies provide reasonably good quality for 50,000 to 100,000 impressions. They are recommended over magnesium dies especially for designs with fine lines or detail. Copper is also good for embossing with a shallow, somewhat rounded appearance.
Brass Dies provide the optimum in quality, versatility and endurance. Although they are the most expensive dies, they are capable of running over one million impressions. Brass dies provide sharp, clean bevels, and since they are hand etched, sculpturing is possible and a number of different edges are available. (Sculptured dies have smooth transition between various depths, while multi-level dies have any number of distinct levels separated by bevels).
Unlike printing, proofing the die is usually very easy. Once the die has been created, ask your stamping supplier to obtain a small sample roll of the foil you intend to use, and use it to make a proof with a sample sheet of your intended paper stock. This way, you can see the results and anticipate problems before the actual run. It’s also important to allow enough time in your schedule to accommodate proofing.
Also, before the die is produced, it’s a good idea to look into who retains the property rights to the die. Like some freelance artwork, sometimes the rights to the die itself remain with the stamping company. Most often, the finished die is your property once produced – although most foil stamping suppliers will keep your dies on file. This assures that the die does not become lost or damaged in storage.