Embellishment Printing Definition and Uses | Duplo


Print Embellishment: What is It and How is It Utilised?


Print Embellishment  Defined

How It Works

Kinds of Embellishments

What Is Print Embellishment  Used For?

Visual and Tactile Impact

Shelf Appeal

Is It Worth It?

Tell Us About Your Project


Embellishment has been part of print production since the beginning of printing itself. It can even be traced back to religious texts before the first century when silver and gold were added to printed products to enhance their beauty and value.

The introduction of digital embellishment technology today has opened more design possibilities for businesses and brands that want to make their printed materials stand out. In this article, we’ll talk about the definition, uses, and types of Print Embellishment .

Print Embellishment Defined

Print Embellishment  is a type of printing used to add texture and pattern to the surface of an object. An embellished print is a digital print that has been digitally printed and then usually planarised, giving it a raised feel so that it's tactile. This helps you achieve a very tantalising and memorable product.

There are two main types of Print Embellishment: relief (raised) and intaglio (embossed). Relief prints are printed with an ink run through a template that creates raised images on top of the item's surface; intaglio prints have more complex shapes built into them through engraving or embossing techniques.

How It Works

Digital embellishments can be applied in-line or offline, after printing, depending on the equipment. Some digital embellishment machines can execute effects all in one pass. The embellishments can also be applied in selected areas, meaning printers can control where the coating, cutting, or foil will be placed.

When it comes to digital embellishments, quality and register are everything. Nobody wants to spend hours coming up with an attractive and ingenious design only to end up with results that have not rendered properly on the page. Most printers are equipped with software that lets users tweak the parameters to turn the design from imagined to real with minimal errors.

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Kinds of Embellishments


Foiling is adding reflective highlights in gold, silver, and metallic finishes to two-dimensional print. It’s usually offline, but some digital presses can deposit metallic colours within the print run. Some colours to choose from include classic gold, silver, or rose gold, as well as shades like blue, green, and red.

Traditional foiling involves hot or cold stamping. As the name implies, hot stamping uses heat to apply the foil. On the other hand, cold stamping uses glue. Foiling can typically be found on wine labels and other luxurious items that need a touch of glamour and sophistication.



In die-cutting, shapes are cut out of pieces of paper and other light substrates. Conventional die-cutting uses die plates that are pressed into the substrate to cut out the desired design. Meanwhile, digital die-cutting creates more precise shapes and patterns using a laser beam. It eliminates the need for dies and plates, which helps lower costs and speeds up the process.


Embossing and Debossing

Embossing is often confused with die cutting. The difference lies in the extent of the impression created by the dies or rotary plates. Embossing involves pressing a pattern or design onto a surface rather than cutting it out. The process is usually done on business cards and invitations for that added intrigue and dramatic effect.

Debossing is the opposite technique of embossing, wherein a concave impression is made by depressing the design into a substrate.

Recently, some digital presses are equipped with an inline embossing feature, so users don’t have to depend on a third-party supplier.



Varnishes add texture and contrast, protecting the printing under the coating. They come in gloss, matte, and soft touch. You can use varnishes to draw attention to certain packaging or print material parts, like your logo or brand name.



Coating, like varnish, is applied to protect printed pieces from smudges, scratches, and fingerprints. You can choose from gloss, satin, or matte finishes, which can be applied to selected page areas. This process is called spot application. 


Spot UV Coating

Spot UV coating adds dimension to images printed on a flat sheet. The textures and patterns produced by spot UV coating bring a page to life and elicit a response from the audience or consumer. In other words, UV embellishment makes print more profitable.


Glitter Coating

Glitter coating is the process of adding glitter particles to glossy UV coating. Combining a solid base and a standout glitter colour creates a stark contrast that piques consumer curiosity and engagement.


Metallic and Pearlescent Coating

Metallic and pearlescent coating produces a reflective, shimmering surface. These two coatings are more subtle than glitter but pack just as much punch in terms of visual appeal and effect.


Aqueous Coating

This finish is a water-based clear coat that creates an extra layer of protection to keep the ink and paper from staining, creasing, and tearing. Its texture is velvety and luxurious.

With evidence showing that consumers connect with products via touch, businesses should not overlook the importance of digital embellishments in product marketing.

What Is Print Embellishment  Used For?

Embellishments such as die-cutting, embossing, coating, and foil stamping aren’t new; packaging printers and commercial lithographers have been doing them for years. However, advancements in print technology have made these embellishments available to digital printing for more customised, intricate, and aesthetically pleasing applications.

The pandemic has mostly shifted our transactions and tasks online. Although the demand for print material like invitations, physical magazines and brochures, and flyers has decreased due to this shift, the food delivery and e-commerce industries have drastically boomed during this time. It has increased the need for top-notch packaging. Embellishment gives the impression that your product is of high quality, status, and reliability.

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Visual and Tactile Impact

Our bodies are designed to respond to touch. It can influence emotion and is embedded in the social structure of our lives as humans. The sense of touch also creates the strongest sensory recall.

When you touch an embossed invitation, read a brochure with a distinct scent, or unwrap a box with gold foil lettering, your senses are engaged at a deeper level. You are more likely to remember the entire experience and the item you were holding and cherishing at that moment in time.


Consumers Connect with Products Through Touch

Many businesses realise the value of incorporating not just visual but also tactile elements into their packaging and labels to heighten brand connection and the overall consumer experience. Brands are moving away from simple “informational” print to more impactful and impressionable print. With evidence showing that consumers connect with products via touch, businesses should not overlook the importance of digital embellishments in product marketing.

Shelf Appeal

In such a highly competitive and saturated market, capturing consumer attention is crucial. Purchase decisions are being made in the store or supermarket, right when the consumer stands at the aisle and faces the shelves. Premium packaging helps your product stand out from the rest and increases the likelihood of your product being bought by a relatively disengaged customer.

Is It Worth It?

Although digital embellishment sounds promising, businesses tend to hesitate due to perceived production costs. A study by the Sonoco Institute of Packaging Design and Graphics at Clemson University shows that shoppers purchased an unknown coffee brand just as often or more frequently than the more popular name brands.

What variable came into play? The cartons of the unknown coffee brand were stamped with gold foil. Mintel’s Global Packaging Trends 2017 paper states that 52% of food shoppers were more drawn to packaging with unusual or eye-catching designs.


Don’t Get Left Behind

In 2020, a study found that print buyers and packaging manufacturers are willing to pay 24% to 89% more for a printed piece with embellishments. Your competitors are willing to accept this premium because embellishments have been proven to help boost sales. You should too!


It’s Not as Pricey as You Think

New technologies like toners and inkjet heads make printing faster, more cost-effective, and more streamlined. State-of-the-art printers can register decorative elements at the pixel level for high definition and precision. With the technology available, print runs have become more efficient—this means you get more value out of every batch!

Undoubtedly, digital embellishment produces results, and the ROI surpasses additional expenses one might incur from Print Embellishment . Investing in the right printing equipment is definitely a worthwhile investment that will benefit your business in the long run.


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We can help you with your next project

Duplo specialise in Spot UV print embellishment. Our products also include slitters, cutters, and creasers, booklet makers and shape cutters. We have dynamic and multi-function finishing systems that can meet production demand for both short-run and long-run batches.

To see samples of our work, click here.


We hope this article has given you a greater understanding of Print Embellishment  and how it can help you in your design process. For more information about us and the products we provide, don’t hesitate to visit our website or fill out the contact form.