Foil Blocking

Foil blocking is perhaps the most cost-effective luxurious effect you can apply to your printed materials.

The reflective nature of foil makes it an attractive option not only by catching the light, but by its very nature, people always react to ‘shiny things’.

At Baddeley Brothers, it is frequently used as a highlighter, to define edges (gilding), provide catchlights and draw the eye to a main body of work.
It’s often an additional process yet can have dazzling effects. (Making a Thing of Beauty: ilody Skincare)

What is foil blocking?

Foil blocking uses a letterpress-style block, to imprint a design onto paper, however, instead of ink, a ultra-thin film carrying a foil pigment is fed into a press. The block is heated and when pressed onto the paper a bond is formed and the foil is released.

This leaves the stock printed with a debossed, metallic imprint.

A design can be further enhanced by embossing and debossing creating a subtle extra dimension, similar to
die-stamping.

The difference between die-stamping and foil blocking being that the latter can provide a much higher gloss or sheen due to the use of foil rather than ink.

Foil is flexible

Foil blocking has grown to become so popular that there are a wide range of options when it comes to the choice of colour and finish.

Gold and silver are, by their metallic nature, popular choices, yet as the technique gathers more appeal, the palette of colours is becoming as vast as that of inks.Metallics are popular because of reflective nature, however, there is no limit to the creativity you can exercise with foil:

• Metallic finishes
• Matt or gloss finishes
• Holographic/pearl/opalescent finishes
• Flat colours
• Marbled
• Woodgrain
• Other textures
• Can be printed on laminated paper or card

Foil is also opaque, meaning there’s no show-through of paper colour, it can be embossed or debossed. You can run it though a laser printer without ruining it.

Foil is perfect for creative projects, and our annual collaboration with Ravensbourne University is a testament to this. Design students are challenged with creating three-dimensional paper products, where foil plays a key role.

Size doesn’t matter

Although foiling is often associated with lettering or highlights, it prints well at large sizes, and at Baddeley Brothers, we can print up to B2.

Getting the best out of foil blocking

Offering a metallic finish over fine or larger areas up to B2 size, foil blocking creates something special. You can select matt or gloss foils in gold, silver or other colours and, optionally, make the foiled area stand out with embossing.

Our foil blocking is normally laser compatible and suitable for laminated and coated surfaces as well as uncoated.

Its mechanical precision gives you an uncannily accurate portrayal of the subject. An extensive range of colours and finishes are available from pastels to metallics, VOID or VALID hologram or holographic foils.

For opaque coverage and brilliant colour, foil blocking is unparalleled. With its contrasting surface textures and shimmering highlights, foiling can bring excitement to a business communication and lift a static design to life.

Getting the best results with foil blocking

Foil blocking needs crisp, black and white line art. Designs with intricate patterns or tight letter spacing can achieve crisp results on coated or smooth paper stocks.

However, since foils can bridge across small spaces, fine detail may not reproduce clearly on heavily textured paper stocks, though we will advise you what works.

Depending on paper colour and finish, foils may appear darker or lighter when applied. To be sure of colour appearance, ask for a proof of the desired foil on the specified paper before the job is run.

Foils to be blocked over previously printed surfaces demand special consideration. Most modern inks and coatings will accept foil blocking, however some can present challenges. It is wise to test materials for compatibility prior to commission. If in doubt contact Baddeley Brothers for advice.

Envelopes – our point of difference

Baddeley Brothers are the only foil blockers in the UK who also manufacture envelopes on site. This means your envelopes can be foil blocked before the envelope is ‘converted’ or folded and glued.

Although envelopes can also be foiled after being converted, it is worth noting that the back of the envelope may show some signs of stressing caused by the blocking process. Therefore, it is usually better to foil the flat sheet and we’ll make up the envelopes for you.

Distortion and duplexing

This distortion can also manifest itself on other stationery items, particularly where combination of processes is applied, for example debossing. To avoid this distortion when specifying combination designs, specify flat blocking and position the design well away from the paper edge.

Also think about duplexing, the process where a second sheet is glued to the back of the printed one. This additional layer can also be printed, foiled and embossed or debossed, and duplexing has the bonus not only of hiding the distortions mentioned above, but can created a vivid ‘sandwich’ of two or more colours.

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