Elevate your brand with luxury print finishes: a guide for discerning folks

Let's dive into some of the most popular luxury print finishes and when they should be used.

Detailed Embossing on light blue packaging

In the world of design and branding, the finishing touches can make all the difference. When it comes to luxury print finishes, you have a myriad of options to choose from, each presenting a different tone and vibe to your printed materials. Let's dive into some of the most popular luxury print finishes and when they should be used to make your projects truly shine bright like a diamond (I mean, if Rhianna taught us anything, amiright?).

Designed by Ting Cheng.

1. Foil Stamping: The Glint of Glamour

If you're looking to add a touch of ✨opulence✨ to your print materials, foil stamping is the way to go. This technique involves applying a thin layer of metallic or colored foil to specific areas of your design. Foil stamping doesn't always have to be used for ultra-luxury projects! Used moderately, it can add a lot to a simple, clean design.

PRO TIP: While there will always be a place for gold foil, we like to use alternate foil tones for a more fresh + modern approach (think copper or bright metallic blue - the sky is the limit).

Perfect little blind emboss detailing for Hopescotch by Thinking Room.

2. Embossing and Debossing: Texture That Speaks Volumes

Embossing and debossing are all about texture. Embossing creates raised areas on the paper, while debossing creates indentations. These techniques not only add a tactile quality to your design but also give it a three-dimensional appearance. They're ideal for branding materials, packaging, and business cards, where you want to leave a lasting impression (see what we did there?) through touch.

PRO TIP: Use this if you’re looking for something subtle and special without being flashy.

Spot-on spot uv detailing by HappyCentro.

3. Spot UV Coating: Subtle Yet Striking

Spot UV coating is a process that applies a clear, glossy coating to specific areas of your printed piece. It creates a beautiful contrast between the glossy and matte areas, making the coated areas pop. This technique is perfect for adding a touch of interest to business cards, product packaging, or any design that calls for a sleek and contemporary look. You'll notice that anyone who comes into contact with your printed materials can't help but touch the spot UV portion - it's stunning, modern, and at the very least, it'll be adorable to watch a grown adult pet your business card. 🙊

We did these simple, clean cards for Global Shades. Printed by Feast Studio.

4. Letterpress Printing: Classic Elegance Reimagined

Letterpress printing is a centuries-old technique that has seen a resurgence in modern design. It involves using a raised surface to transfer ink onto paper, resulting in a deep impression that adds a vintage and timeless quality to your work. Letterpress is often used for wedding invitations, stationery, and luxury packaging where a touch of classic elegance is desired.

PRO TIP: Budget a bit longer for letterpress jobs - your chosen printer will need to order a custom plate based on your design, which can take a couple of weeks before the print work is even started.

PRO PRO TIP: Reach out to your printer in advance to see what paper they have in stock RIGHT NOW if you’re in a hurry. I mean...paper doesn't just grow on trees, people! Wait...

5. Lamination: Durability with a Polished Finish

This is not your at-home laminating that we're referencing, or those hole-punched laminated insert covers you might have found in a small town bar menu circa 1994. Modern lamination involves adding a thin plastic film to your printed piece (most folks likely won't notice), protecting printed works from spills, scratches, or uv light. It not only protects the material but also adds a subtle sheen that enhances the colors and imagery (if done well). Lamination can be a smart choice for menus, business cards, and any materials that will be handled frequently.

PRO TIP: The only thing you should be laminating at home is your Alberta Health card – WHY are those still just paper!?

Die Cut by Rethink for Benton Brothers.

6. Die Cutting: Creating Unique Shapes

Sometimes, it's not just about the finish but also the shape. Die cutting allows you to create custom shapes and patterns, making your printed materials stand out in a crowd. Whether it's unique business cards, promotional materials, or packaging, die cutting can help your brand express its individuality. Especially if you want it too look like cheese ^ we wholeheartedly endorse this decision.

7. Glossy and Matte Finishes: The Versatile Classics

Glossy finishes offer a shiny, reflective surface that can make colors appear more vibrant, while matte finishes provide a non-reflective, soft look. These classic finishes are versatile and can be used in a wide range of projects, from brochures and flyers to posters and magazines. The choice between the two depends on the mood and message you want to convey. For us printing snobs, we tend to stay away from glossy finishes, but that’s a personal preference. We find that matte finishes give an authentic, non-salesy feeling to print projects, so we're almost always on the matte bus.

When selecting luxury print finishes, make sure to align them with your brand identity and the intended impact of your materials. Each finish brings its unique personality to your design, and choosing the right one can elevate your brand's image and leave a lasting impression on your audience. Remember, luxury print finishes are an investment in your brand's image, so choose wisely to ensure your message is received in the way it was intended – especially if that message is that you're selling cheese (still not over the swiss cheese business card...but I digress).

PRO TIP: Most larger printers (and some small ones) will send you a sample pack of different finishes, paper stocks, and options (sometimes free and sometimes not), so if you're not in a massive rush, it is a great way to familiarize yourself with these beforehand.

So, the next time you're working on a project, consider these luxury print finishes as your trusty sidekicks. They'll help you create materials that exude charm and thoughtful execution. Happy printing, my friends!