Sunday, November 23

Die, Counter Die?

No, it's not German and it isn't what your carpenter yells when he's trying to hang the doors on your new kitchen cabinets. The "die" and "counter die" process makes up one of the fundamentals of creating texture on flat surfaces.

I didn't know anything about embossing before getting involved in stationery. I thought it had something to do with stamps. And notarized documents. And maybe waffles.
Stationers associate the die-counter die process with embossing, and a variety of techniques that go with embossing. Embossing (and its counterpart, de-bossing) involves a combination of extremely high pressure and heat. It IS a bit like making waffles, but the top iron and bottom iron mate together rather than separating.

So... what's good embossing look like? And what is de-bossing? How do I tell the difference? Why do I even care?

Good embossing makes the relief (the part that goes up or down in the design) look like it was sculpted out of marble. Would you buy a Prada tote if you could only read "rada"? No! Good embossing should make every part of the design look clean and finished.

De-bossing uses the same mechanics as embossing by mating a die and a counter-die. De-bossing and embossing are easy to tell apart. If the relief is lower than the corners of the card or paper, it is de-bossed. If the relief is higher than the corners of the paper, it is embossed!

Why should you care?

Well, if you want to make an impression (har har!) on those that see your stationery or cards, the easiest way to make something flat stand out from a lot of other flat stuff is to add texture.

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