Top 10 Tips for Preparing a Design for Minted Foiling

Written by Emily Heaton, Olivia Goree, and Jocelyn Mock

Foil-pressing has been a specialty printing method for years, but is gaining in popularity. The traditional techniques haven’t changed much since the development of this printing method in the late 1800s. Heat, pressure, metal dies, and foil film are used to stamp an impression on paper after the digital elements are printed. Though the stamping process is slightly more automated than it used to be, operators still make manual adjustments to the press to create an even impression for every design. Depending on the size of the foil area, the pressure and temperature of the metal dies may vary across designs; however, a single pressure and temperature need to be applied to each individual design.

This foil-pressed Holiday Card, “Wonderfully Merry” by Annie Mertlich of Wildfield Paper Co. is a great example of a foil-pressed design that prints well. The lettering provides a solid area for foil adhesion while maintaining a hand-drawn feel.

In order to optimize your design for the unique process of foiling, here are the top 10 insider tips to keep in mind while designing foil-pressed designs for Minted:

1. Keep in mind that foil elements may shift up to 1/32’’ (or 0.03125”) in any direction due to the nature of the foil-pressing process.

2. Thin / small foil elements should have a stroke of at least 0.25 pt stroke to ensure proper foil adhesion to the paper.

3. Foiled text should be at least 2 pts above Minted’s minimum font size (as stated in the Minted Font List) and 0.3 pt above the minimum font stroke recommendations for legibility.

4. Avoid large foil coverage areas so that foil elements can adhere to the paper properly and will not flake off. We suggest the overall coverage not exceed 25-30% of the design.

5. Keep foil weight consistent when possible, as fine foil elements require less heat and pressure than larger foil elements and, therefore, may be difficult to achieve consistent foil quality.

The image on the left shows a design that uses both fine and heavy foil elements. The image on the right shows an adjusted version where finer details are increased in weight to more closely match the heavier foil elements.

6. Fine knockout details should either be removed or emphasized so they do not fill in or become “muddled” during the foil-pressing process.

The image on the left shows the font as-is with the texture included. The image on the right shows the text outlined and the inner texture removed.

The image on the left shows a design element with very fine knockout details. The image on the right shows an adjusted version where fine details are emphasized to avoid being lost in the foiling process.

7. Foil elements should be at least 0.3” from the edges of the artboard if they are not intended to bleed off when trimmed. If you’re trying to achieve a consistent border in the design, this allowance will prevent any visual border differences. This tip also applies to digital elements.

8. Foil borders around a photo or path should be 4.5 pt in thickness, and the digital elements should extend halfway under the border thickness. This will accommodate any shift in registration of the digital and foil-pressing elements.

9. Ensure that foil and digital elements interact organically as it is difficult to align these elements precisely due to the separate printing processes.

The image on the left shows a design where digital and foil elements are precisely aligned. The image on the right shows the adjusted design where foil elements overlap more organically in order to accommodate potential shifting during foil-pressing.

10. When placing the Minted foil texture in your design, consider the range from light to dark. Showcasing foil artwork areas with the true metallic color of Minted’s pressed foil is the intention. Each foil texture file has a white spotlight focus area, so be aware of the positioning of white area to ensure that key design elements have a true metallic tone.

Keep in mind that these are general rules to live by when designing with foil. Depending on the design, there may be exceptions to these guidelines.


About the authors: Emily Heaton, Olivia Goree, and Jocelyn Mock work for Minted’s Artist Relations and Merchandising Operations teams.

View the Minted Artist Education page for more tips for succeeding as a Minted artist, including “Top 10 File Prep Tips for Minted Artists

Published April 18, 2018

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