Raised Print Business Cards – How to Choose the Right Raised Printing Option

“Can you do raised print business cards?” We hear this question from our clients regularly. “Of course, we can, but what kind of raised print exactly are you looking for?”  That’s where customers are surprised to learn that there are different ways to achieve raised printing on business cards:

Types of Raised Printing

So, which one of these raised print business cards should you choose?
Each method has its benefits and limitations, and some raised print options can even be combined on the same business card. Let’s look at each option in detail to help you decide which type of raised print suits your needs.

The most common raised printing method Thermography - Raised Ink Business Cards

What is Thermography?

Thermography is a raised print process during which the ink is applied to a paper previously coated with thermographic powder (sometimes, a slow-drying ink is printed first, then the powder is applied on top of it). Once the ink and thermographic powder are applied and mixed, the excess powder is vacuumed off, and the paper goes into a high-temperature oven for 2-3 seconds. During that time, the ink-powder mixture expands resulting in a bubble-like, glossy raised texture.

Popular Raised Ink Products

Announcements, Business Cards, Envelopes, Invitations, Letterheads, Presentation Folders, Event Tickets, Sell Sheets, Memo Pads, Thank you notes.

Raised Print business cards

Raised Ink Benefits

Full-color raised printing
Full-color Raised Printed Business Cards

– The lowest cost to achieve raised print effect

– Ability to use PMS colors

– Although raised ink products are usually printed with spot colors, we also offer FULL-COLOR raised print. This means you can have any image, even a photograph, with a raised texture. Inquire about Full Color Raised Print

– Raised Ink can be applied to various uncoated textured stocks: flat, linen, laid – all in 24lb, 70lb, 80lb, or 110lb weight.

Raised Ink Drawbacks

Raised ink printing thickness
Light colors can’t be raised

– Light colors will not “hold” the thermographic powder and, as a result, the raised effect will not be visible. In this image, note how the area with 10% ink coverage is barely showing raised texture. 

– Large areas with heavy ink coverage will show that the texture is not perfectly consistent.

– Raised ink can only be applied to 1 side, the other side must remain either flat or blank.

Is Thermography / Raised Printing Right for you? Then get in touch with us to get a quote:

Versatile Raised Gloss Option Raised Spot UV Coated Business Cards

What is Raised Spot UV Coating?

Raised spot UV is a high-gloss ultraviolet (UV) clear coating applied to specific areas of printed material. It can be applied to either uncoated or previously laminated stock (silk or suede lamination are available). Once applied, the coating is then instantly dried with UV light. As opposed to blind (flat) spot UV, Raised Spot UV is very thick (50 microns) and can be easily felt if you run your fingers across it.

Sometimes Raised Spot UV printing is referred to as “Embossed Gloss” but it is inaccurate. We will review embossed business cards below.

Popular Raised Spot UV Products

Business Cards, Postcards, Mailers, Greeting Cards, Brochures, Sell Sheets, Presentation Folders, Announcements, Hang Tags, Packaging


Raised Spot UV Benefits

Raised spot UV business cards
Raised Spot UV on top of full-color offset printing

– Raised Spot UV is transparent so it can be applied to any print below it: solid color, gradients, photographs – anything can be visually “raised”

– If applied to a solid color (or white background), it will create a luxurious texture appearance.

– If applied to text or other elements, it will make them stand out from the background color.

– Raised Spot UV coating creates additional contrast and adds vibrancy to any color as light reflects differently from glossy texture.

– Raised Spot UV allows for very fine details within the design

– Raised Spot UV can be applied to 1 or 2 sides of the product

– Being somewhat new in the printing industry, Raised Spot UV immediately draws attention to the printed piece.

Raised Spot UV Drawbacks

Raised spot UV drawbacks
Raised Spot UV must cover less than 30% of the surface

– Coating must cover less than 30% of the surface to prevent drying issues (cards will stuck together during the process). Patterns or thin strokes/text can cover up to 70% of the surface.

– Raised Spot UV has some text size limitations. It is recommended to keep thin fonts at 8pt or higher, and bold fonts at 10pt or higher to avoid fill-ins.

– Raised Spot UV coating can only be used with the CMYK printing process. (Well, PMS colors are possible to print, but it will be quite a costly, custom project)

– Raised Spot UV can be applied only to a flat (non-textured) stock (currently, we offer 16PT stock)

– Raised Spot UV Cannot be written on. Ensure to leave an uncoated area for writing if you intend to do so.

– As an additional step to the manufacturing process, it increases the cost of the final product and requires an additional mask file.

Order Raised Spot UV Business Cards Online

Is Raised Spot UV Printing Right for you? Then get in touch with us to get a quote:

Great alternative to traditional embossed foil business cards Raised Foil Business Cards

What is Raised Foil printing?

Just like Raised Spot UV, Raised Foil is a thick UV coating with an addition of a foil on top of it. It creates a 3D texture with a realistic metal appearance. Foil accents are 50 microns thick and can easily be felt by hand. Unlike traditional foil embossing, Raised Foil does not affect the stock on the reverse side, which means you can utilize both sides of your business card.

Popular Raised Foil Products

Business Cards, Postcards, Mailers, Greeting Cards, Brochures, Sell Sheets, Presentation Folders, Announcements, Hang Tags, Packaging

Raised foil printing products

Raised Foil Benefits

Raised foil in 3 different colors
Raised foil printing is very precise

– Raised Foil is extremely effective in drawing attention to your business card or printed piece.

– Realistic metal appearance available in silver, gold, and holographic foil.

– As a digital process, Raised Foil is much more precise than embossed foil

– Raised foil coating does not affect the reverse side of the stock.

– Raised foil can be combined with a full-color CMYK printing process or used solely on a white or any other solid color background.

– Raised Foil can be applied to silk or suede-laminated stocks for additional thickness and a luxurious tactile experience.

– Raised Foil comes in gold, silver, and holographic colors.

Raised Foil Drawbacks

Raised foil printing
Raised foil must cover less than 30% of the surface

– Raised foil should cover less than 30% of the surface to prevent drying issues (cards will stick together during the process). Foil patterns or thin strokes/text can cover up to 70% of the surface.

– Raised Foil has some text size limitations: thin fonts should be 8pt or higher, and bold fonts should be 10pt or higher to avoid fill-ins.

– Raised Foil coating can only be used with the CMYK printing process. 

– Raised Foil can be applied only to a flat (non-textured) stock (currently, we offer 16PT stock).

– As an additional step to the manufacturing process, it increases the cost of the final product and requires an additional mask file.

Order Raised Foil Business Cards Online

Is Raised Foil Printing Right for you? Then get in touch with us to get a quote:

Classic cards for sophisticated and chic look Embossed Business Cards

What is Embossing/Debossing?

Embossing is a method used to either impress (emboss) or depress (deboss) an image/text into paper. To emboss, for example, a business card, two things are required: a custom metal die in the shape of elements you want to emboss, and a stock (paper). The die consists of 2 parts (male and female) that allow to “sandwich” the paper and emboss it.  During the embossing process, heat and pressure are applied, and the die is pressed into the stock. As a result, the embossed images/text are slightly raised off (during the debossing, the image or text is lowered/pushed into the stock). The result of this process is called “blind embossing” or “blind debossing” as there is no color or foil applied to it to differentiate it from the original stock, only the relief is visible. 

Most commonly, people emboss or deboss company logos, initials, or a pattern.

Popular Embossed Products

Business cards, Letterheads, Envelopes, Invitations, Custom stationery, Certificates, Announcements, Note Cards

debossed business cards

Embossing/Debossing Benefits

Embossed Business Cards
Embossing can be combined with foil for that extra special touch

– Embossing creates a three-dimensional effect and gives a touch of elegance to a printed piece. 

– Embossing can be combined with ink printing or foil stamping to create a truly memorable experience for the customer (gold and silver foils are most common, but many solid colors are also available).

– Embossing can be done on a variety of stocks, including stocks that are already textured (linen, for example).

– For multi-dimensional shapes or images with unique details, multi-level embossing is available. It changes the surface of the paper at multiple levels.

Embossing Drawbacks

Embossed business cards

– Not all images emboss well. You will need vector art to create a perfect, smooth die for embossing. Don’t have a vector file? We offer vector conversion services.

– Simple designs work best, while complex elements might look distorted.

– Embossing requires a thicker stock to work well.

– The cost of embossing is considerably higher than other methods of raised printing due to the cost of dies and labor involved in its process.

– Embossing is visible on the back side in reverse (see example).

Contact us for embossed business cards.

Is Embossing right for you? Then get in touch with us to get a quote. Keep in mind, that embossing requires the manufacturing of a custom die (est. cost $300 and higher). Production turnaround for every order is a minimum of 10 days. Rush is not available. 

Raised Printing with Extreme Precision Engraving

What is Engraving?

There’s no finer quality than stationery with laser engraving. It is the most precise yet most labor-intensive raised printing method. It starts with making films with the image that will be later engraved. Then, the film is used to burn the image onto a copper plate. All imperfections are manually removed from the plate with special hand tools. The next step is to expose the plate to acid, after which the design becomes deeply etched into the plate, followed by another quality checkpoint to remove every minor imperfection. Then, the plate is installed into a press where it gets first covered with ink and then swiped clean to only have ink left in the etched design. To transfer print to paper, each sheet is individually positioned by hand in the press, after which the press closes to apply several tons of pressure to the paper. The result – raised design covered with ink.

Popular Engraved Products

Business cards, Letterhead, Envelopes, Invitations, Thank you Cards

Engraved business cards

Engraving Benefits

– As mentioned above, engraving is the most divine method to achieve raised printing. 

– Engraving allows having the finest details, which could not be achieved with other types of raised printing. Government Entities mostly use engraved stationery due to the very detailed elements of state or federal seals, which need to be included on all stationery pieces. 

– With engraving, it is possible to print white ink on black stock

– Unlike foil, engraved gold elements are not shiny. They shimmer under the light like no other printing method allows; engraved gold ink perfectly resembles gold dust.

Laser Engraving Drawbacks

– Laser engraving is the most time and labor-consuming process, resulting in the highest cost per each printed piece

– There is a much more limited choice of inks for laser engraving. The most popular, of course, are Gold, Silver, Black, Rose Gold.

– Laser engraving is a craft. It requires the most skilled and trained operators along with old, special equipment, which means not that many facilities are able to offer it. Even fewer specialize in engraving only.

Contact us for engraved stationery

Is Laser engraving right for you? Then get in touch with us to get a quote. Keep in mind, that engraving is a semi-manual process thus production turnaround for every order is a minimum of 14 days. Rush is not available. 

So, there you have it! We’ve covered all raised print methods, and it’s up to you to choose which one suits your needs best. Just remember, while technologies have made it extremely convenient to share one’s contact information in a matter of seconds, still, there’s no better way to make the best first impression about your company than hand someone your luxurious business card with raised printing.