I will be closed June 28-July 7th!

Luxury Printing 101 - Digital Metallic vs. Foil Printing

luxury printing 101: digital metallic vs. foil

Printing can be overwhelming when you aren't in the biz. Before I started this I knew there were laser printers and ink jet printers and that's about where it ended. 

 Thankfully over the years I have worked with some really amazing printers that have helped guide this newbie through different options. Most of the time you just want to print, but sometimes you want something a bit more. Something special, unique, luxury or high end.

 The two luxury print styles  that I want to talk about today are digital metallic and foil stamping.

digital printing

Before we even get there, let's start with digital printing. Digital printing is what you think of most of the time when you think of anything printed.

Think of the printer you have in your home or office - if it's color, you have cyan, magenta, yellow and black toner or ink wells. The colors on your printed page are formulated by combining various amounts of Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black toners - this is known also known as CMYK.

When you're printing your invites, it's important to think about the colors you are using AND the paper. Digital printing layers your colors on top of the paper, so the ink takes on characteristics of the color it is printed on. For example, if you print bright pink on white, it's bright pink, but on kraft paper, it will be much more muted.

Most colors won't even show up on darker papers. The lighter the paper, the more true the color. This type of printing is perfect for watercolor graphics, photos and beautiful typography.


luxury printing - foil stamping

OK, let me swoon a bit over foil printing. Just .... mmmm. yeah ... it's just ... so luxurious.

I'm sure you've seen it in Christmas cards or on other invitations - it's shiny (aka foil) and has a texture that feels like it was pressed into the paper.

Ever wonder how they do that?

Foil stamping is the application of of foil  that is pressed into paper - simple as that.

To do this, fist a custom die is made of your design. This is often made of either resin or metal. The die is heated up, foil is placed on the die and it is pressed and stamped into your paper, so it leaves the design pressed in foil. You can feel the difference here - that area actually indents into the paper.

Foil comes in just about every color under the sun - gold, copper, rose gold, silver, holographic, white, red, or even matte foil too! You can do your entire design in foil, or have just foil accents, and have the rest printed digitally.

These invitations are often run by hand through vintage, early 1900's printing presses and the setup is extensive. There are also smaller, table top machines, but each sheet is placed one by one - aka, this is a very hands on and more expensive printing process than digital.

If this is something you are thinking of using for your wedding invitations, expect to pay a premium.  Orders anywhere from $1,500 up to $5,000 are not uncommon. Your specific price will depend on:
- how many pieces you are using foil on
- what size those pieces are
- how many you are ordering (PRO TIP! The more you order, the lower your per invite cost is!)
- if you use single or double ply paper

Pro tip - ASK FOR OPTIONS! let's work together!

What I love most about what I do is giving people options. If you want to have foil stamped invitations, RSVP cards and info cards, with vellum folders and wax seals, but the quote you receive is giving you sticker shock, don't just walk away sad and dejected, dreams dashed.

We can make this work for you!

We'll talk and figure out what is most important to you. Maybe we can go with foil stamping just on the invite in order to keep the wax seal in there. Or maybe we can swap the vellum folder and wax seal to a vellum envelope. 

There are always options, and if you let me know, 'Hey Laura, I really love that idea, but I can't afford it' - I would love to help you find something that WILL work for your wish list and your budget.


digital metallic prnting

Now, remember how we just talked about the cost associated with foil stamping? 

One option I love to suggest if foil is way beyond your budget, is digital metallic printing. 

Digital metallic printing uses a laser printer that has toner with little glittery flecks in it. This style has enabled metallic gold  or silver ink printing on card stocks and papers at a lower cost and quicker turnaround as there are no plates required or expensive set up fees to accomplish this type of printing.

It is a flat style of printing, so you don't get the texture that you do with foil stamping and it's not as shiny as foil, but it's glimmery and really pretty.  It is one of the few ways that you can get ink to show up well on dark paper. It is so amazing for fall and winter weddings - navy with gold??? Yes please!

I love to use this option for couples that want something special, but don't have luxury printing in the budget.

Check out the photos below for a comparison! The RSVP card is foil stamping. You can see the reflection of the foil and the indentations of the stamping. The menu is digital metallic gold. You an see there the smooth texture and the glimmer as opposed to the shine of the foil

Metallic digital gold (menu) vs. gold foil stamping (RSVP)

Up close view of digital metallic gold printing.

see it in action!

Watch the video below to see both of these printing styles in action!

are you ready??

Yes, I used an ice cream icon - I love ice cream.

If you are ready to add foil stamping or digital metallic printing to YOUR wedding invitations

1. Start shopping for your favorite design, then 

2. Fill out the form at the bottom of the listing page and let me know what you are dreaming up!

Tagged: paper tips


Leave a comment

All blog comments are checked prior to publishing