Silver Ink/Foil


I wonder if someone would be able to quickly check through the options I have in adding silver to a four colour job. Its been a very long time since I’ve done it and my mind has gone blank. The job it’s for is a very small swing tag (74.25x52.5mm finished size, 297x52.5mm full size with three gatefolds) to be attached to clothing for sale. This would be printed on something like 150/200gsm gloss stock.

This is what I can remember, but I think I’m missing a couple of processes:

  1. Pantone Inks: Not reflective, tend to look more like ever-so-slightly metallic grey.
  2. Foil Blocking: Reflective, setup exactly like Spot UV, prints on top of the paper.
  3. Foil Embossing: Is this raised or lowered from the surface of the paper, and is there a minimum weight of paper it can be done on? This is what my client has seen I think, it’s reflective silver which is embedded slightly into the surface - it’s actually on a book cover which makes me wonder about there being a minimum weight of paper to do this.

If someone could confirm I’ve got all this right, or put me straight I’d be very grateful. It would also be nice if any of these processes is massively expensive it could be pointed out!
Hi. Embossing is a process that is generally used to raise the surface of the paper and does look extremely effective when used in conjunction with foil blocking. Two separate dies will be required but, depending on the image size, you shouldn't find them too expensive. And, of course, once you've had them made, they last for a long time. Many, many, impressions. Even on 100gsm bond stock, embossing is effective. We use this process on a number of letterheads. Pantone silver (877) is also effective when printing on a gloss or silk stock, not on uncoated stocks though. It certainly doesn't stand out as much as a foil though. Hope this helps.

Jane Caunce
Ellison Printing
You could potentially print onto a Metpol or mirrored board (Celloglas) instead of printing onto white and then adding a 5th colour or additional process.

This material is more expensive, but it may work out better than the cost of the tool for the foil, plus the foiling.

Thanks for your answers, its certainly got me thinking now. I may post an image up here tomorrow as the only problem I foresee with foil blocking (which is probably the direction we’re going) is the level of detail you can achieve with it. This may send us down the pantone route possibly. I think the mirrored board would be overkill as it’s only a couple of things which are going to be silver but I like the idea of that, I like it a lot. I just need to find a suitable job for it!
Glad to help.

I wouldn't dismiss the mirriboard option.

Here's a label I designed which is printed completely onto a silver pp material. It only has minimal amount of the silver exposed, but it was more economical than foil blocking. You also then have all of the control/finesse of printing rather than the bulkiness of foiling. Worth considering.

Amplex | Roll-on deodorant label graphics | Paul Cartwright Branding

Keep me posted as packaging graphics are my thing!


I’m definitely looking into it Paul, just ordered a sample pack from Mirri. Out of interest, the labels you’ve done, are they litho?