Digital Foiling vs. Block Foiling: What's the difference?

When you print with foil at, we use a process known as Digital Foiling. But what exactly is it, and how is it different from traditional Foil Blocking?

In short, both methods will leave you with shiny, metallic accents, printed onto your design. What’s different is the way that they’re printed, and the finished effect you’ll get from both.

Get to know traditional Block Foiling

Traditional Foil Blocking (or hot foil stamping) involves applying metallic foil to paper or card, using heated plates (or die). This leaves your foiled elements slightly debossed and textured – as the foil is hot pressed onto your card or paper stock. This process works best on uncoated, thicker paper stocks, but if you choose this method, you won’t be able to laminate your print.

Foil blocking design, created by

What designs can you print with traditional Foiling?

With traditional hot press foiling, simple solid shapes work best. Smaller, intricate designs that feature fine details and serif style fonts aren’t ideal for traditional methods, so consider this before you choose the type of Foiling you’re after.

So what about Digital Foiling?

Unlike traditional Foil Blocking, Digital Foiling doesn’t require the use of plates – it’s printed directly from a file on the computer. This means that there are no set up costs, making it ideal for short runs and smaller orders. Plus, as your design is printed without plates, you’ve got more freedom when it comes to printed colours and designs.

What designs can you print with Digital Foiling?

Digitally Printed Foil results in a flat print product, without any texture or debossing. Once printed, we finish all of our Foiled Print with Velvet Lamination (you can choose either one sided or double sided, but whichever side you choose to add foiling to must be Velvet Laminated). This protects your foil from slipping or scratching, giving you a durable, hardwearing finished product which stays looking as shiny as the day it was printed.

Digital foiling is available at in six colours, silver, gold, copper, red, blue and green – on Silk, Uncoated and Trucard paper stocks.

If you want to use a luxury paper stock, you'll need to use traditional Block Foiling. You can't choose this on site just yet, so fill in our quick and easy Bespoke form. We’ll get back to you within 24 hours with a quote.

Getting set up…

Setting up your artwork for Foiling is as easy as creating just two seperate print files! Our handy video tutorial will walk you through the entire process, or take a look at our quick reference PDF guide on getting your print ready for the presses.

Got a question about Foiling? Our Customer Service Team are here hand to help. Call them directly on 0800 840 1430. They’re here every weekday from 8.30am ‘til 6.30pm. Or, drop them a line to or chat live on site.

Feeling inspired? Don’t forget, ‘til midnight 8 February, you can save 15% on all Foiled print at – and as there’s no minimum spend, why not give it a try? To save, just shop our range of Business CardsGreeting CardsInvitations, or Wedding Stationery (including RSVPsSave the Dates and Invites) before 8 February and use code FOIL15 at checkout. (For all the Ts&Cs, head to our Foiling page).

Which Foiling method will you be using for your next print job? Let us know in the comments, or share your foiled creations with us on social. Tweet @printed_com, check us out on Instagram printedcom, and visit our Facebook page to give us a like.




David Brookes-Lennon
25 Jan 2018 14:36
Your foiling guide PDF is great and makes the instructions very easy to follow
Flourish & Luxe
25 Jan 2018 16:24
I actually had no idea that you could create foiled products digitally, very interesting read
27 Jan 2018 18:09
That’s really interesting. I only found out the other day that you did the block printing. You should advertise it more x
09 Feb 2018 09:45
great blog, very useful - thanks
Bryony Bishop
09 Feb 2018 12:10
Very informative and lovely read!
Jacqueline Brosnahan
14 Mar 2018 22:41
I used digital gold foil on my order of wedding invitations. It came out really nicely and would recommend!
Jacqueline Brosnahan
14 Mar 2018 22:41
I used digital gold foil on my order of wedding invitations. It came out really nicely and would recommend!

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