Designing letterheads - embossing

I'm currently designing a letterhead for a client and he wants the illustrative part of the logo (a wolf's head) to be embossed.

Can a friendly printer give me some tips on how I would prepare the illustration for embossing?

For example, I think the negative/white areas are those which are embossed/raised, leaving the positive/black areas lower and more in line with the paper. Am I on the right lines?

Grateful for any help!

Thanks, Lee

Chris Lord

Senior Member
As far as my understanding is - any part of your design that you would like embossed (literally standing out of the paper) should be solid black. Bare in mind that it is difficult to emboss intricate detail and thin lines - they may be lost in the impression if too fine or complex.

We have a few companies around us that deal with embossing, so if you would like any quotes or advice, get in touch.

Thanks Chris. Is this a universal method of preparing for embossing?

My client wants to arrange the printing himself as he's well connected with a printer, just wanted to do a bit of background research before I talk to them.

I can imagine fine detail won't be easily embossed, and as it's a fundamental part of the whole image I'm really designing with that in mind.

Chris Lord

Senior Member
I'm pretty sure it is yes. They make the plates from solid black images - similar to how screens for screen printing are made.

Where abouts in Glasgow are you based? I am up in Prestwick at least once a month!

Chris Lord

Senior Member
Ah, my girlfriend used to live in the West End before she moved down. She praises that place like no other! I may very well one day be living there myself.

Thanks for the offer and I'll take you up on it when I'm around.

Good luck with the project though! I would like the chance to design something for embossing. It's hard to find the clients willing to spend the money on it though! Your client my very well be getting it embosses at 'Glasgow Press'!
Ah the very fine Glasgow Press - I called in the other day and picked up one of their cool little mailer sample boxes.

Thinking about getting my calling cards done by them. Exceedingly good quality!

My email is leepaulvickers at if you venture into the West End. And yes it really is that good!

Chris Lord

Senior Member
I want one!

Although I work for a Litho and Digital printers - nothing beats letterpress. Letterpress comes from the heart! haha

Thanks, I'll keep it in the archives. I've been there and it was ok... Nothing compared to where I'm from. Swindon has loads to offer...

Chris Lord

Senior Member
It's hard to portray sarcasm through the medium of type! haha I was joking... It doesn't really have much to offer!


Junior Member
Chris you said you had the names of good embossing companies. I'm looking for some at the moment as I want my logo embossed on my business cards, letterhead and with comps slips. Any advice would be appreciated.


Senior Member
Chris Lord said:
As far as my understanding is - any part of your design that you would like embossed (literally standing out of the paper) should be solid black.

Probably best not not make it solid black - unless you want it printed solid black.

Anything like this - embossing, die cuts etc should in an ideal world be done as a spot colour in InDesign / illy and have a name which says something like 'EMBOSS AREA'.

If i were doing it - id make the colour a spot Magenta called 'DO NOT PRINT: EMBOSS AREA'

Then when your printer sees this when he/she is preparing the job they will see not to print this area as there is a print effect due on that area.
Thanks Ross - I've done this in the past for spot varnishing, but was thinking of supplying a second file for the emboss area. But good thinking, will just make it another layer.

Chris Lord

Senior Member
I was thinking that you were sending a separate file, but Ross definitely has a valid point, especially if you're sending it with the rest of the artwork.

My point of the solid black is that I think the plates are made from solid black artwork. But yes, the printers do have to differentiate between the printed artwork and the embossed artwork!

Chris Lord

Senior Member
And Global, check out any local letterpress printers or print finishers near you. I'm not sure where you are located, so can't really help greatly. Just be prepared for the cost of your stationary to go up considerably in price with embossing!


"I'm in the [poor man's] West End, next to Kelvingrove Museum"

this made me laugh, i love the west ends mixture of posh n scum, being a scummy council boy i love it up there, ashton lane for a few then back to my mates flat in mary hill for some banter.

and solid black is your boy for embossing mate.