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Embossing of Promotional Products & Corporate Gifts

Embossing of Promotional Products

Embossing as is generally known is the process of leaving a permanent, concave mark on a soft substrate like leather or paper. Essentially it is a mechanical process which involves the production of a "block" which carries a raised image representing the artwork to be applied. When this is placed against the product or substrate and struck or hammered it selectively compresses the structure of the material leaving a permanent indented mark.

Traditionally leather has been the material best suited to embossing in the promotional products industry though paper product have long also been marked with embossing to add texture and subtle styling to stationery and envelopes.


A related system of marking is called Leather Stamping. Stamps are traditionally used to create a repeated pattern using a similar theme. For instance in traditional leather working stamps are used to produce the pattern on a belt or handbag strap. This process does have some uses in the promotional world particularly when a specific item is being custom manufactured to include built-in branding. In this case an embossing stamp can be custom manufactured which includes the company logo, slogan or related imagery and which thereafter becomes a permanent feature of the finished product.

Another related term is Debossing, which is largely the same process as embossing but with the objective of having the featured image or design rise above the background surface of the product. The manufacturing and marking process is almost identical, as is the requirement to produce a block and the way in which it is applied to the surface of the substrate. The difference is in the "negative" manner in which the block is produced relative to traditional embossing so that the parts which would be concave in a standard embossing process are convex in debossing.


Another embossing variant is called Foil Stamping. In this process a textured die or block is produced which is stamped against a thing metallic foil layer, generally silver or gold coloured. The metallic foil takes the stamped design readily and holds its shape with a reduced likelihood of the impression "fading" or flattening over time. Once applied to the foil substrate the finished, branded result is then applied to the promotional product required so that the surface texture or features do not restrict the ability to accurately reproduce the required artwork.

Embossing is one of the most expensive means by which an item can be branded, however it is also one of the most attractive, subtle and stylish techniques. A large part of the cost or embossing is in the production of the metal stamping block. It is also an expensive exercise because it cannot be automated and requires the attention of skilled craftsman to ensure the finished product is not damaged and that the embossing is applied using the right pressure and at the right angle for maximum legibility and longevity.

Promotional Items Commonly Embossed Include: 

Compendiums, Notepads, Leather Keyrings & Tags, Wooden Products, Bags, Briefcases..... and lots more