Don't just make an impression. Make a lasting impression.

Embossing vs Debossing vs Letterpress

Know your print finishing and how to design the perfect business card.

So, you want to make a beautiful business card to make an impression? Great!
There is nothing worse than a cheap, tacky card. They are unsustainable as they are more than likely thrown in the bin not long after your new contact gets home.
Having a quality, specialised business card shows your potential customer a lot about you and your business. It shows your attention to detail, that you respect your business and gives a sense of trust you will provide a better service than ‘the next guy’... They are also more likely to be kept, or even better, passed on to an associate after they have dealt with you.


Print finishing comes in many forms: Embossing, Debossing, Letterpress, Foil Stamping, Raised UV, 3D UV, Spot UV Die Cutting and more!


The Difference:

Discussing Embossing and Debossing is a common conversation we have with clients. Both terms are often confused and choosing the wrong finishing will result in very different outcome.

Embossing is made by two metal plates. The plates are placed on either side of the card and pressed together. Artwork from the back is pushed into the card (leaving an indentation) and extrudes through to the front of the card.

embossed business card
Classic Embossing on our 550 gsm premium Cotton

embossed plates
Front and back Embossing plates

Debossing is made by a single metal plate. The plate is placed on the side of the artwork and pressed in leaving an indentation. The back of the card is not affected (in some cases a slight ‘pressure mark’ may be visible under certain light). Note debossing can only be done on certain thicker stocks and is subject to artwork approval. In some instances, large coverage with debossing does not work well as more pressure is required which can result in the back of the card having heavier pressure marks.

debossed business card
Classic Debossing on our 550 gsm premium Cotton

Blind Embossing and debossing. This is essentially not using a different print colour in the area that will be embossed / debossed. Generally, we recommend this as contrast can hide the embellishing effect. Creating a card that is ‘not blind’ means the card is printed, then the embossing or debossing is applied. In some cases there can be slight misalignment between the processes.

what is blind embossing
Shows comparison of Blind embossing with embossing with print.

Letterpress is an old-fashioned process of debossing with ink on the plate. Essentially the card is printed and debossed at the same time. This is a more expensive process which is more limited in its application. Letterpress is more commonly used in simplistic designs - eg text based wedding invitations.

debossed business card
Letterpress on our 550 gsm White Cotton Letterpress

Additional Finishing Options:
Some designs really benefit from adding additional finishing processes, other designs are best left at one. It really comes down to the individual design.

Spot UV is a clear transparent gloss that is placed over the matt laminate. The result is beautify contrast of gloss artwork against the matt background. If done right, light reflects off the shiny components to draw attention. Some designs benefit by adding SPOT UV on top of the embossing. embossing with spot UV business card
Embossing + Spot UV on our 350gsm artboard (matt laminated).
See more examples of spot UV business cards here.

Foil Stamping. Some designs benefit by using Foil stamping on top of the embossing. Foil Stamping is not print, it is added after the card is printed. Essentially, it is a thin metallic foil (think something like aluminium foil) that is pressed on to the card. It has a metallic – high reflective chrome look and is available in many colours. embossing with foil stamping business card
Embossing + Gold Foil on our 350gsm artboard (matt laminated).
embossing with foil stamping uncoated business card
Embossing + Copper Foil on our 550 gsm premium cotton.
See more examples of Foil Stamped business cards here.



So what if you want artwork ‘sticking out’ without an impression on the back?

Standard embossing requires a two-sided block. one side sticks out, the other side is pressed in. As mentioned above, this is embossing. When designing a business card, the reverse impression of the emboss limits design. So can you have embossed business cards without having an indent in the back?
Simple answer is YES! This can be achieved by two methods:

Duplexing: The front and back of the card are in fact two separate cards. These quality business cards are made by sticking two separate 350gsm cards together. This means the front card can be embossed... and the back card hides the reverse impression.
duplex embossing business card
Embossed Duplex on out 700 gsm bond.

3D UV: 3D UV is a high gloss transparent film that sits on top of the velvet laminate. Similar to SPOT UV, the fundamental difference of 3D UV is the height. Spot UV sits flat on top of matt laminate. 3D UV has the height of 0.05 mm and is noticeable to the touch.
duplex embossing business card
3D UV on 450 gsm matt velvet.



Laminated business cards
Laminating is a process of adding a thin transparent plastic to the card after it has been printed. This process is also known as Cello glazing. Laminate is added to cards for both aesthetic and protective purposes. Lamination is commonly done on a more budget stock that is not fibrous – such as 350 or 450 gsm artboard. There is no point laminating a textured or fibrous stock as you cannot see / feel the stock – only the laminate. Laminate is offered in the following.

  • Gloss: a high shine gloss. This was more popular in the 90s.
    See gloss business cards examples.
    Finishing options: Please note we only offer die cutting on gloss laminated cards as foil stamping does not stick as well, and UV is basically seen.
    Embossing blemishes the gloss – so that’s out too.

  • Matt: a matt finish. This is more contemporary.

  • Matt Velvet: This looks the same as matt but feels like velvet / swede to the touch. A more premium product.
    Finishing on matt or matt velvet includes: Foil stamping, Embossing, 3D UV and Spot UV. Debossing is not available as the process causes blemishes.
    See Matt laminate business cards examples.


Uncoated business cards.
Uncoated basically means the stock is matt / raw stock and does not have additional varnishes added. At Print Promotion, we categorise all of our unlaminated cards in this class. From budget to high end, we have a leading range of quality stocks to suit most budgets.

Print promotion has been specialising in business cards since 2004. We have helped thousands of businesses reach their potential, not just by the printing, but by our consultation process that provides options for consideration.


Check out our LAMINATED card range and our UNCOATED card range

If you want to make the most of your next print project,
give us a bell on 1300 669 211 to see what sets us apart.


Next Level Business Cards.
Transparent PVC
"Spot UV + Foil"
RFID Metal
550gsm Cotton
"Embossed + Foil"
Stainless Steel
Transparent PVC
"Foil"
550gsm Cotton
"Foil + Emboss + Edge Print"
350gsm Laminated
"Foil + Spot UV"
Stainless Steel
450sgm Velvet Laminate
"Spot UV + Diecut"
550gsm Cotton
"Embossed + Foil + Foil Edges"
Stainless Steel
"Plated + Deep Etching"
550gsm Cotton
"Foil + Edge Foil"
350gsm Laminate
"Foil + Spot UV"
Transparent PVC
350gsm Laminate
"Foil + Spot UV"
Transparent PVC
450gsm Matt Velvet
"Gold foil"
Transparent PVC
550gsm Cotton
"Deboss + Foil"
550gsm Cotton
"Foil + Emboss + Foil Edges"
550gsm Cotton
"Foil + Foil Edges"

Who are we?
Print Promotion is a division of Arcane Media based in Brisbane, Queensland. We are a premium design and printing consultancy. We specialise in creating or enhancing your visual corporate image. Our experienced team of graphic designers know how to best present your brand. We provide marketing insight to offer the best product for your business. With 15 years of experience, you can be sure your image will relate to your target demographic. We have an Australia-wide client base, servicing all business sectors. Contact us today to discuss your next design or print project.
Call 1300 669 211

PRINT pro motion
We design. We print. We deliver.