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    Call us at 1400 389

Cold Foil Printing. Inline and In-House.

What is cold foil printing and what is the process? 

Cold foil is a silver metallic film with a removable polyester liner that is applied to the press sheet inline on press. The cold foil unit is attached above the second printing unit on the press and the roll of foil runs from an unwind roller, through the printing unit between the blanket and impression cylinder and back out the press to a take-up roller. An adhesive is printed in the first unit using the traditional litho method, much like a varnish. The adhesive pulls the metallic foil off the polyester liner in the second unit adhering it to the press sheet. The foil can be overprinted in the subsequent printing units to achieve a full spectrum of metallic colors. As complicated as it may seem, the end result is astonishing, impressive and we do it all right here at DVC.

How does it compare to hot foil stamping?

Hot foil has a limited color palette and most foils are solid colors. Hot foil stamping is typically done on top of printing to produce a solid opaque metallic or pigment color. Hot foil is also done offline in a second pass adding to the turnaround time.

Cold foil is applied before printing and can be immediately overprinted inline. This allows you to alter the color using the entire CMYK color gamut.

Cold foil is applied to the press sheet using adhesive while hot foil uses heat and pressure to bond the foil material to the paper. Cold foil also uses a printing plate for the adhesive, while hot foil uses metal dies to create the foil area. How do we know all this? Because cold foil is a DVC hallmark.

How does it compare to foil board?

Cold foil is similar to foil board in that you are printing on top of the silver with both processes. The foil material used to create foil board is also similar to the cold foil. Where foil board and cold foil differ is in coverage. The foil of the foil board is across the entire sheet. This means all of your artwork will have a metallic look and if you don’t want a metallic look you have to print opaque white, often in two hits, to mask the metallic. Cold foil allows you to place your foil exactly where you want it and leave the rest of the sheet white and ready for your 4cp or PMS inks. Using cold foil instead of foil board allows your non-metallic areas to print sharp and clean and your metallic areas to print metallic.

Can you mix different coatings with the cold foil?

Of course. Cold foil is very flexible in terms of varnishes and coatings that can be applied to the cold foil and press sheet. Because cold foil is printed inline, you can print your 4cp and PMS colors, and still apply varnishes and coatings. And as with any project DGC can produce, you can do various combinations, types and treatments of varnish and coating such as spot matte varnish with spot gloss UV coating. Like DVC, cold foil is flexible when its comes to your project.

What does it mean to my timeline?

Where cold foil really shines is time to market. Adding cold foil to your project doesn’t add any additional time to the turnaround of your project. This cannot be said for hot foil and foil board which is often shipped in from outside Southern California. And cold foil comes off press dry and ready to finish so there are no delays before heading to post press. Boom! On time, every time. Again.

What paper stocks can I use it on?

Cold foil works best on papers with smooth finishes. This primarily applies to gloss and dull coated papers. Some super smooth uncoated papers will accept cold foil with proper planning and preparation on press. Cold foil will also work on many synthetic and plastic stocks. It’s recommended you work closely with us during the design process if you’d like to use cold foil on uncoated or plastic stock. Then again, working in tandem with our clients is how we roll anyway, right?

What about holographic images?

The standard cold foil product uses a silver base, but as the market for cold foil grows, so do the materials. Silver holographic is currently one of the offerings along with gold foil. Keep in mind that gold can be achieved by printing 4cp on top of silver, but if you prefer to start with gold, it’s possible. If you have a unique idea for your project such as patterned holographics, please get in touch as new products are being developed and released all the time.

Can it be recycled?

Cold foil is an environmentally friendly product. The press sheets with foil and finished product can all be recycled using standard paper recycling streams. Even the polyester liner left behind after the foil is applied to the sheet can be recycled. The UV inks typically used to overprint the cold foil are also more environmentally friendly than conventional inks, emitting little to no VOC’s. So sustainability and respect for your project and planet Earth are never compromised.
Want to take your printed piece to the next level?
Our team of print experts would be happy to find out more about your cold foil project.