Debossing vs Embossing


Yellow BorderAudio version for this article: "Debossing vs Embossing" (for people with visual disabilities or impairments). Yellow Border
Both of these terms are letterpress terms that describe the pushing of paper to a level not equal to the original surface. These are done with dies and counter dies and the paper is squeezed between the two of them. Embossing represents pushing the image up above the paper. Debossing is pushing the image below the level of the paper.

Think of it this way. You are walking along and fall in a hole. That is debossing. If you're walking along and all the sudden come to a hill that is embossing. Both are neat effects that you can use in your printed projects to accent the piece. Both can be done blind(no ink) or color register(with ink). Embossing is used much more than debossing. When used in conjunction with heat and pressure it will iron the fibers of the paper to a smooth surface.

See also:
- What is a Letterpress?
- Diecutting in Printing
- Kisscutting in Printing
- Embossing from Wikipedia
- Embossing machines and suppliers from the ODP

Written by Buzz Tatom
buzz@odeecompany.com
The Odee Company, Dallas, Texas