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Looking to really jazz up your next print project? Beautiful print can be achieved with the right paper stock and a great design. But if you want to really catch prospects’ attention, check out these impressive special print finishes that can really set your printed piece apart!

special print Finishes

Foil stamp

printing services melbourne sticker foil stamp special print finishes

There’s nothing more eye catching than a bit of sparkle from a metallic foil, whether your design is cute and whimsical, or classy and elegant. Choose from a wide range of colours, including golds, silvers, all the colours of the rainbow, and even shatter and laser foil effects. Pair that with a bit of a heavy impression, and you’ll have something that’s fun to look at and to hold!

Digital Foil

digital foil formecut special print finishes

Foil stamp’s cool, young, hip cousin! Also known as sleeking or reactive foil, digital foil can be applied to soft touch laminate or (some) uncoated papers, and sits smoothly on top of the paper’s surface. The best part is, no custom metal die needs to be made, so it’s more economical and super fast. Digital foil is a great special print option for short runs, and even variable data! Find out more about digital foil here.


printing services melbourne emboss swing tag digital foil special print finishes

THE embellishment to level up your print for a stand-out look! An embossing die actually takes two pieces – a top die and bottom – and presses the paper between them, creating beautiful raised logos, lettering, or patterns. Embossing creates a tactile print finish for packaging that is handled a lot.


deboss emboss wedding invitation special print finishes

Much like embossing but the other way around, debossing presses your design into the paper. For those who really want to stand out (or in). Keep in mind, what goes in one side, comes out the other…and it will be backwards!


printing services melbourne letterpress wedding invitation special print finishes

This is a similar concept to debossing, but without a bottom piece, so the design is pressed into the paper but not through to the other side. It works best with soft, thick, cotton papers, for a classic, traditional look, and a beautiful tactile finish, very common for wedding invitations.

Spot UV

special print finishes spot gloss uv
Spot gloss UV over a black background, on cards for Gateway Family Church

Spot gloss UV is a layer that can be applied over a specific part of your artwork, leaving it glossy! Works best blind on matt laminate over a black or dark colour, for the perfect amount of surface contrast. High build spot gloss UV creates a raised area on the surface of your printed piece, creating a high-end, glamorous look.


Formecutting is used to cut a custom shape for packaging, signage, stickers, swing tags, presentation folders and much more, on a wide range of paper stocks. Once a forme is made, you can use it over and over again – we may even have the exact shape you need!


printing services melbourne unique business cards diecut

Like letterpress, diecutting presses a metal plate into the paper to cut letters and shapes that are too small or detailed for a forme. It is perfect for intricate designs that require a high level of precision, with no nicks.


With no need for a forme or die and minimal set up, lasercutting can quickly and intricately cut and/or etch a design or pattern into paper, wood, or acrylic/perspex. Lasers burn of course, so when using paper it’s most effective on a black or dark coloured stock. Mix laser cut with another special print finish, such as foil, for a creative and eye catching design.

special print in Metallic ink

Metallic ink is opaque, making it a great option for printing onto black or darker colour stocks. Gold 871 and silver 877 are the OGs, but there’s an entire range of Pantone metallic colours available! Quick tip – ink absorbs into paper, so the metallic look is most effective on a coated gloss or silk paper stock.

Duplex & Edge Painting

Duplexing is the practice of adhering two card stocks together to make one ultimate thick card. Gilding or painting the edges can create a unique look for those with a bit of extra money to spend.

verko or thermo SPECIAL PRINT

This is actually super similar to high build spot UV in finish, and in fact is often referred to as ‘raised printing’. Unlike Spot UV (which is clear), verko or thermo can be done in black or Pantone colours.
Once a common special print finish to add a touch of class to professional stationery, it’s a little more rare to see these days.

How to set up your artwork file for special print finishes

There are two ways – the best practice is to create a separate layer in your InDesign or Illustrator file and keep the elements to have foil, emboss, or other special print finish within that layer only. It’s common practice to set these up in a spot colour not used in the rest of the file, to ensure they are kept completely separate from your print area. This goes for things like dielines for forme or laser cutting as well – but don’t forget bleed!

The other way (mainly for foil, digital foil, or embossing) is to send a separate file with the special print area in black. Keep in mind it should be completely solid (no gradients or transparencies). If you need help or aren’t sure, it’s best to just let us know – we are always happy to help.

Which special print FINISHES ARE right for you?

A special print finish used in just the right way can elevate your design with minimal effort. They certainly range in price – with digital foil and lasercutting at one end, and embossing and edge painting at the other. You can also combine special print finishes, such as emboss and foil, to create a truly stunning piece that people won’t want to part with!

Take full use of our knowledge and expertise and involve us at the design stage, to give you the best advice and tips to use special print finishes to the fullest potential. Get in touch!