Latest News and Event

Tips on choosing the correct printing method

Posted on

There are multiple methods of printing, including four colour printing, digital printing, spot colour printing, foil stamping and embossing/debossing.

Each of these methods are great for printing on their respective materials, however, it is important to know which method fits your specific printing needs.

Digital printing has probably the quickest turnaround time out of all the printing methods listed above. It also has a very reasonable cost, and because of this it is generally used as a home printing method. The most popular way of digital printing is via inkjet or laser printing. Digital printing creates a thin layer of ink on the surface of the paper, which causes it to lose fine-image detail, which isn’t that much of a disadvantage for home printers.

The Process

For the four colour printing, cyan, magenta, yellow and black ink is mixed together to create colours. This is typically for prints with more than three colours and is good for detailed prints but not very good for texture printing.

Spot colour printing is also great for detailed posts as it uses the Pantone Matching System which is a collection of pre-mixed inks that can be used for specific colours. This is commonly used for prints which one to three colours but can create an unlimited amount of hues.

With foil stamping, it uses a method which applies film to the paper in the desired area for print using heat and pressure. It is mainly used for its metallic options and combinations with embossing. This is great for creating texture but not great with detailed prints.

Embossing and debossing is also great for texture but lacks detail. Embossing is when the image is raised out of the paper and debossing imprints the image into the paper. This is often used to highlight a logo or combinations with other methods. This is great for creating unique business cards.


With four colour printing method you can make literally millions of colours, the spot colour printing method is the second best printing method for a variety of colours, with over 1,500 colours to choose from.

The foil stamping method is determined by the type of foil used, which is typically a small selection of metallic and non-metallic colours.

Embossing and debossing uses the colour of the paper.

The colour consistency for the four colour printing process is very varied, as different printers will produce different results, this is why it is poor for brand colours as it can give a close alternative but isn’t always spot on.

Whereas the spot colour printing method allows you to create a specific colour, for example, the Coca Cola logo is Pantone 484C, which can be inputted to the printer. The colour consistency of this process is also very good. Foil stamping and embossing/debossing is poor for brand colours. However, the printing will not change the colour consistency in either.

Spot colour printing is the only method for creating neon colours. It can also create monotone or duotone gradients and metallic style prints.

Whereas the four colour printing cannot produce neon colours or metallic colours, it can create nearly every colour for great full colour photos and gradients. Embossing and debossing does not offer any of these features and foil stamping only offers metallic colours.

Type of Paper

All of the methods mentioned in this blog are able to print onto coated stock paper, uncoated stock paper, textured stock paper and visually textured paper.

However, four colour printing can not print onto dark or coloured stock paper. Spot colour also has an issue printing on dark/coloured stock paper. The only printing method that is applicable to all papers is foil stamping, as embossing/debossing is not great for thick stock paper printing as the thicker the paper, the harder it is to emboss.

Which type of printing method do you think you require?