The Art of Embossing & Debossing

If you’re new to embossing and debossing and want to use it in your design projects but don’t know where to start, this guide is for you. We’ll cover the basics of embossing and debossing so that you can use it like a pro.

Embossing and debossing are two printing techniques that can add a high-end look to any medium. These processes make an image stand out, adding an extra layer of depth – not just visually, but physically, too. This added element of class creates a more memorable touchpoint with your consumer.

Embossing is great for calling attention to a logo or name, and it’s regularly found on luxury packaging, wedding invitations, business cards and more. Embossing is commonly used with hot foil stamping.

Here at Pacdora, you can customize your box design first with a 3d real-time preview of your packaging design before it gets printed out.

In this article, we’ll explore:

  • The definition of embossing?
  • How Embossing is used in graphic design and packaging design
  • The solution of Embossed boxes and how it helps packaging industry

The definition of embossing How is embossing done?

Embossing is a printing technique that raises the surface of your design, giving it some depth. It’s the real-world equivalent of bevel effects, and likely derives from relief sculptures – resembling most closely the bas-relief, where the depth is perceived as a lot more than is actually there. The word itself is old French, coming from “em” (into) and “boce” (protuberance).

It is done by pressing the substrate (paper, cardboard, etc.) into a female die that has your design etched into it. Underneath the substrate is the male version of the same design. The two dies are mated under immense pressure and a little bit of heat, with the substrate being squished in between.The result of embossing is that the design is pushed into the substrate so that it is raised above the surface. For debossing, the substrate is turned upside down and pushed below the surface.

Embossing & Debossing: What is the difference and how they are used?

In embossing, an imprinted design is pushed into the surface, while in debossing, the design is raised from the surface.

Embossing can appear to be quite deep, but it is usually no more than 25 microns (or 25 thousandths of an inch). Most embosses are only 1/64th of an inch. You can see in the photo how the depth of the embossing die affects the final piece. As the depth of the die increases, there is a greater chance of the paper tearing (as can be seen in the “D” of “guide”).

Embossing & Debossing: What is the difference and how they are used?

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Whereas debossing is the technique of imprinting an image into your print piece to create a depressed effect. This is different from embossing, which raises the image instead. As with embossing, you can choose to leave the debossed area untouched or fill it in with ink or foil stamping.

One advantage of debossing over embossing is that it doesn’t interfere with the back of your print piece, so you have both sides to work with. Debossing can be used on its own or in conjunction with embossing to create a unique effect.

Embossing in packaging design

Embossing is a great way to add dimension and interest to your packaging. The subtle yet noticeable differences in surface texture create something that is pleasing to the touch. This sense of touch on a product’s packaging adds a feeling of elegance, class and luxury – just like how we associate a leather couch with being more ‘luxurious’ than a simple cotton couch. The beauty of embossing lies in its subtlety.

Embossing in packaging design

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The packaging for the hair care supplement brand Oase features a unique and luxurious custom rigid box with embossed branding. This design sets the brand apart from other supplement companies and communicates the high quality of the product.

Embossing in packaging design

You can design your ideal packaging here online: Pacdora

In the example above, you’ll see debossed letters that have been enriched with hot stamping and gold foil, designed by Deutsche Und Japaner.

This elegant yet simple packaging design uses a plain kraft mailer, pink custom tape and gold debossing to turn heads and add a sense of grandeur.

Embossing and debossing can be great ways to add dimension and interest to your logo design – especially if you have a circular logo.

An embossed logo can give a sense of authority and quality, as it resembles the wax seals that were once used to close letters. These seals were a sign of integrity and trustworthiness, indicating that the contents of the letter were untouched.

An embossed logo can give your customers the same sense of quality and assurance.

Designing Your Packaging with embossing and debossing technique

Here are a few things to keep in mind when designing with embossing and debossing:

Not all images and designs emboss well

When it comes to embossing, not all images and designs work well. This is because the raised effect of the embossing can cause some details to be lost or obscured. So, if you’re planning on embossing an image or design, it’s important to choose one that will work well with the embossing process. Otherwise, you may be disappointed with the results.

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Designs with small details or thin lines may not show up well when embossed

When choosing a design for an embossed piece, it is important to keep in mind that small details or thin lines may not show up well when the piece is finished. A design with large, bold shapes and lines is more likely to result in a successful embossed piece. If you are unsure whether your design will work, it is always a good idea to ask a professional for advice.

Keep the design simple for the best results

When it comes to design, simplicity is often the best policy. Overly complicated designs can be confusing and off-putting to your audience, whereas a clean and simple design will be much more effective in getting your message across. Keep your designs clean, uncluttered, and easy to understand, and you’ll see the best results.

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Avoid using overly-complicated or busy embossing designs as they often overshadow the embossing itself and end up subtracting more than they add. Instead, try using colours next to embossing as a design method to add complexity.

Thicker is better for embossing

Heavier gauge paper stock works best for embossed pieces because the thicker (heavier) the paper stock is, the more details will show up from the die press.

Don’t make it complex with Multi-level embossing

Embossed designs with multiple levels look amazing but can be difficult to design and produce. Too much depth in a small area increases the likelihood of tearing – which is not ideal. Use multi-level embossing designs for larger areas instead.

Embossed gift boxes packaging

Embossed gift boxes

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Who doesn’t know about Tiffany’s gift boxes? They’re famous for their beautiful packaging. But what sets a Tiffany gift box apart from a regular green gift box with a bow? Answer: The embossed name!

Embossing on gift boxes can really give them that extra special touch. It’s small and subtle, but it’s the last thing someone reads as they open up a two-piece box.

On a gift box, embossing is best used in small doses. A logo, a slogan, part of a simple design, and so on. By keeping the design simple, the embossing really stands out and adds that luxurious feel to the gift.

Ideas and inspirations for Embossing & debossing design

Embossing can add a lot of dimension and interest to your papercraft projects. If you’re looking for some inspiration for your next embossing project, check out these examples below:

Embossed wine labels

Wine is a luxurious product that we often enjoy during social occasions, or when we want to treat ourselves. Many wineries use embossing on their wine labels and packaging to give their brand an elevated and classy feel. The reason for this is because these wineries want their product to be associated with people who will truly appreciate its quality. The embossing on the packaging makes the wine appear more special and high-end.

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The Soreq wine label features both foil printing and embossing, giving it a luxurious look and feel. The foil printing really makes the colors pop, and the embossing adds a nice texture. This is a high-end label that would look great on any wine bottle.

You can design your ideal packaging here online: Pacdora

The Coolhurt Estate winery uses a combination of custom shape labels, color digital printing, and embossing to create a wine label that you want to touch and feel. The custom shape labels are die-cut to the Coolhurt Estate’s unique specifications. The colors are printed using a special digital printing process, and the embossing adds a tactile element to the label, making it even more enjoyable to touch and feel.


Embossing or debossing can make your printed pieces really stand out from the competition. They’re the business cards that people can’t help but run their fingers over, or the wedding invitations that perfectly capture the elegance of the day. While the cost is a bit higher than your standard print job, it’s worth it when your print pieces make the kind of memorable impressions that get you noticed.

Embossing and debossing are two printing techniques that are versatile, effective, and relatively easy to execute. Embossing involves creating a raised design on a surface, while debossing involves creating a depressed design. These techniques can be used on a variety of materials, including paper, plastic, and metal.

Both embossing and debossing require a die, which is a metal plate with the desired design cut into it. The die is placed on the material, and then the material is run through a press, which applies pressure to the die and creates the embossed or debossed design.

Embossing and debossing are two printing techniques that offer a lot of possibilities for creativity and customization. With a little bit of planning, these techniques can be used to create stunning results.

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