To assure the success of a project, the first guideline you should consider is communication. By showing your layouts to an experienced stamping supplier early on, you can avoid production pitfalls later. Because foil stamping and embossing use different techniques than conventional methods of fixing an image to a surface, here are some general considerations a designer should observe:
In general, larger text sizes work better than smaller. “Fill In” is a term used to describe bridging between two characters, which affects the legibility of the text and overall appearance. However, copy sizes that are too large present problems on textured stocks, with “air entrapment” that can cause the foil to not adhere to portions of the desired area. Finally, because typefaces generally appear bolder when foiled, don’t track or kern too tightly. It is a good rule of thumb to set type loosely and with more leading than you might ordinarily consider.
Solids and Fine Lines
If you are designing large solid areas of foil as well as fine detail in the same piece, expect to make two passes with the press. For a quality stamp of areas designed with intricate detail, be sure the space between the lines in the design is no less than half the thickness of the stock you are using.
Foils and Laser Printers
Although many foils have a wide temperature range, not all foil can be successfully run through a laser printer. Depending on both the operating temperature of the printer’s fuser roller and the foil’s temperature tolerances, consideration must be given when producing foil stamped materials intended for laser imprinting. As well, use caution if selecting dry, textured, parchment and recycled stocks because the low adherence properties of many of these stocks can cause the foil to release, crack, peel, or dull under the heat extremes of a laser printer. If in doubt, ask your foil stamper for a test sheer for you to run through the printer.
If the design calls for tight registration of foil to print, foil to foil, or UV coating and varnishes, consult with your stamping supplier for production specifications. Unlike offset printing, foils with tight registration are “kiss fit” or butted to the image(s), so do not use trapping techniques on artwork next to or inclusive of foils. Tight registration may also require additional production charges.
Stock and Foil Color
Because many pigment, pastel tint and pearl foils are translucent, their color can be altered dramatically by the color of the underlying stock.