Imprinting on packaging can be done by four color process based on a CMYK design, hot stamping, screen printing, embossing, and debossing. These are some of the branding options available for your packaging needs. There are also other imprinting options available depending on the substrates being printed on and the needs of the client.

4 Colour Process, CMYK Design

While monitors use RGB (Red Green Blue) to preview full-colour images (so type of colour is not an issue), traditional printing uses CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black) also known as Four Colour Process printing (or simply Four Colour). In this method of printing, the design is set up so that it uses percentages of the 4 base inks listed. These percentages are created using varying sizes and densities of dots. When these varying amounts of the 4 base inks are printed one over the other, the resulting variations will print as new colors. Rather than having the color tones premixed like that with spot colours, we are basically having the inks mixed ‘on the fly’ on the press instead. Four colour reproduction is generally more expensive than Spot Colors and colour accuracy is largely dependent on the skill and professionalism of the pressman. It should be noted that the colour created by 4 Colour Process printing are not solid colors at all, but rather a series of dots (see insert above). This is most noticeable in the photographs reproduced in your project. Four Colour reproduction can utilize either vector or pixel versions of your logo (as long as the image has adequate resolution).

Hot Stamping

Hot stamping is a simple process that is done in the following order:

1. A die is mounted and heated,
2. Foil is positioned above the material to be imprinted,
3. A combination of heat, dwell time, pressure and stripping time control the quality of the stamp.

Foil stamping is environmentally friendly because it is a dry process. It does not use solvents or inks and does not create any harmful vapors.

A successful hot stamping job is directly related to the quality of the original artwork. In order to insure the highest quality reproduction of an imprint, the original artwork should be “camera-ready”. The better the artwork at the beginning, the better the imprint reproduction result. The key to a successful hot stamping job is threefold; the first is creating a fixture to support the part firmly under the decorating area. Second, the fixture must also position the part for repeatability of the graphic location. And third, the fixture must allow the operator to easily load and unload the part from the fixture

Screen Printing

Screen printing is a printing technique that uses woven mesh to support an ink-blocking stencil. The attached stencil forms open areas of mesh that transfer ink or other printable materials which can be pressed through the mesh as a sharp-edged image onto a substrate.A roller or squeegee is moved across the screen stencil, forcing or pumping ink past the threads of the woven mesh in the open areas.

Screen printing is also a stencil method of print making in which a design is imposed on a screen of silk or other fine mesh, with blank areas coated with an impermeable substance, and ink is forced through the mesh onto the printing surface. It is also known as silkscreen and serigraph.

To efficiently print multiple copies of the screen design on garments, amateur and professional printers usually use a screen printing press. Many companies offer simple to sophisticated printing presses. Most of these presses are manual. Many of the industrial-grade-automatic printers require minimal manual labor andincrease production significantly.


Embossing requires the creating of male and female dies which consist of a magnesium metal plate (with the artwork etched in) and a counter. The material being imprinted is pressed in between the male and female dies. Two dies are required for most paper printing however embossing on certain packaging only requires one die which is pressed onto the substrate. This process creates raised artwork that is based on the impression of the dies, by leaving a pattern or design while raising the level of the image higher than the surface of the substrate. Depending on the dies used, different patterns can be produced on the material. It is important to keep space between the characters within the text since this imprinting process tends to move characters closer together and can merge them into one element.


Debossing is often confused with Embossing. However it is the precise opposite of embossing. Where embossing causes the imprinted material to have a raised affect, debossing causes the same imprinted material to have an indented imprint. This is the prime difference between the two processes and the main reason they are both confused.

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