What is a foil stamped card?

Foil stamped card is card stock which has had metallic or special effect foil applied to it using a combination of a heated metal die and pressure from a foil printing press. The metal die is etched from an artwork file and loaded into a foil press where it is heated to the required temperature. A roll of the chosen foil colour is then loaded on to the press between the die and the card stock. When the heated die makes contact with the card, the heat activates the adhesive on the back of the foil and it is applied to the card surface.

The term foil stamp refers to the process by which the foil is stamped into the card surface. It is very similar to letterpress which is known for its deep impression in the card stock. Foil stamping is not the only way to apply foil to card stock. Recently, digital toner foiling has become a popular alternative. This process involves printing black toner on to card stock and then using special foils and a heated roller on a laminator. The roller heats up the black toner and bonds the foil to it. Toner foiling has its benefits; however, it is generally considered an inferior cheaper process to foil stamping and is often referred to as ‘poor man’s foiling.' By using the term foil stamp, you can easily distinguish between the two processes, because toner foiling doesn’t involve any stamping. The next time someone asks you what foil stamped card is, you’ll be well versed on the topic!

So, what are foil stamped card benefits?

You have the ability to use textured card

One of the unique benefits of foil stamping card is that the card surface doesn’t need to be smooth, because the heated die is stamped into the card stock using force. This means textured stocks can be used, to add even more contrast with the foil. This is a huge limitation of digital toner foiling, as the card must be completely smooth to get a decent result. With foil stamping, you can get creative with card such as cotton, kraft, Colorplan and many more! Also, you can use foil stamping on creative card stocks such as, holographic and neon boards for some riveting effects!

You can use thick card stocks

In addition to being able to foil stamp textured card, thick stocks such as 700gsm+ can also be foil stamped. This is an extremely popular option when it comes to foil stamped business cards and invitations. Combining thick card stocks with foil stamping can create some nice deep impression foil work. In fact, some people simply choose to foil stamp card without any foil for the deboss impression, to create a unique subtle effect. This is known as a blind deboss and works particularly well on textured card stock. This is because the foil stamped area becomes smooth due to the heat and pressure used to stamp the card, which creates a striking contrast with the texture of the card stock around it.

There is a huge range of foil stamping colours

Another great benefit is the huge range of hot stamping foil colours available. There are hundreds and hundreds of different shades of metallic, matt, gloss and special effect foils you can use. Stamping foils are also opaque, which means you can use any colour of foil on any colour of card with excellent opacity. A great example is using a gloss white foil on black card. The white is truly opaque, so you get that gorgeous pop of bright white on a deep black card stock!

You can combine digital printing with foil stamping

Although foil stamping card on its own can create some striking work, it is often used to add the finishing touch to digital printing, to visually elevate the print to a premium level. Designers will often create a print file and a foil file, so the foil can be added after printing, to create a visually striking luxury finish.