What is Cold Foil And Its Added Value To Your Print Projects

Production, Technology Published by: Arnaud BuffetMon, Jan 30, 2017

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The world of printing, much like everything digital, evolves without ever taking a break. Machines are being improved all the time, increasing the possibilities and greatly reducing the production time. Cold foil is one of those examples of an evolution that shifts the borders of our creativity. A print with metal Pantone doesn’t produce the result you were hoping for? The effect isn’t shiny enough? This is unfortunately nothing but normal when you use traditional printing processes. Luckily cold foil does make this possible and can add a whole new dimension to your designs.

But what is cold foil exactly? Illustrating something with a concrete example is always much easier than some dry theoretical explanation, so let’s take a look at this hard-cover with magnetic closure we made for Gymna. They are one of the market leaders when it comes to physiotherapy and rehabilitation products. For the launch of their latest premium treatment table, the gymna.ONE, they wanted a design that put the aluminium foot of the table in the spotlight. The cold foil technique was the perfect way to imitate this metal effect. We used glossy, coated paper to take advantage of the shine of the cold foil. The real power of this technique comes to light when you take the object in your hands. Depending on the angle you hold it under, you’ll see that the ink reflects and shines in different ways.


Another example where we used cold foil is a brochure we made for our client European Aluminium, who, as their name suggests, is active in the aluminium sector. By applying cold foil to the graphic element AL, we added a playful link to their industry. In both cases, we used cold foil in a subtle way, but nothing withholds you to unleash your creativity to the fullest. The possibilities are virtually endless!


The metal ink is, technically speaking, considered to be a fifth color, next to the 4 basic colors. First a fine layer of glue is applied on the spot that’s provided for the cold foil. Afterwards the metal ink and the 4 other colors are added. To finish off the process, they add a layer of varnish for extra protection. A great advantage of cold foil is that it can be mixed with other colors, which can have interesting results. It’s even possible to “beat” the metal!


It’s self-evident that the price is more expensive than with traditional printing processes and it, of course, depends on the quantity of metal ink you want to use. If you want to print on both sides of the paper, this will have an effect on the price as well.

If the subject is suitable for it and the technique is used in a clever way, cold foil can offer a wide arrange of creative possibilities that surely adds an extra layer to your projects.
Do you want to know more about how to use cold foil in your projects? Then don’t hesitate to contact us, we can answer all your questions.

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