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Crisp custom packaging is the start of a crisp brand image. However, brand managers can quickly become overwhelmed after seeing all of the different options on the table for creating brand-defining packaging. Choosing packaging that stands out functions beautifully and creates an impression with customers doesn’t have to be challenging. In fact, there are two quick “hacks” for making elite packaging that all brands should know about. Those hacks are debossing and embossing.

Brands are really missing out on opportunities to boost brand clout and recognition when they overlook embossing and debossing. Of course, the first step is simply getting a clear read on what these two options are really all about. While the two techniques are similar, they certainly aren’t interchangeable. Both offer different perks based on things like intention and budget. Take a look at the differences between debossing and embossing to learn which option is better for making show-stopping packaging.

What’s the Difference Between Embossing and Debossing?

Embossing is a technique that raises your artwork from the rest of the surface of your packaging material. You’ll commonly see brands place embossed logos on packaging. Even brands that use ordinary printed words for the rest of the written content on packaging will still use embossed lettering specifically for the logo to enhance recognition.

A metal plate called a “die” is used for the embossing process. Your chosen logo or graphic is placed on the die in order to create custom embossed products. Next, the custom die is pressed into the underside of each product to create the three-dimensional logo. Embossing is not interchangeable with a popular technique called raised-ink printing. Raised-ink printing relies on a binding powder that sticks to paper when heated. As a result, you’re simply adding on a graphic instead of actually creating “embossed” packaging. Many people prefer embossing over an option like raised-ink printing because it creates an elite look. It’s simply impossible to recreate the quality and elegance of an embossed logo or graphic.

By contrast, debossing is a technique that creates a “sunken” look for your logo. However, this process uses the same die that is used in the embossing process. The difference is that the die is applied to the top of the product being debossed to create an indentation.

Both embossing and debossing can really be seen as opposite sides of the same coin. However, there are real-world applications where one might be better than the other. For instance, a brand may find that an embossed logo looks very attractive on napkins because it helps the lettering stand out against a white material. However, a brand handing out plastic or silicone wristbands may find that debossing the logo into items looks better.

The Costs of Embossing and Debossing: Which Option Is More Expensive?

Embossing is generally more expensive than debossing. Many people find this surprising when doing price comparisons due to the fact that both embossing and debossing use the same die process. The reason behind the extra cost associated with embossing is that embossing needs an extra metal element called a counter. Counters are used to press the die used for embossing into the material being customized. While this may seem like a minor detail, the truth is that setting up a counter increases setup costs for an embossing project. Most brands doing large batches of embossed packaging find that the increased setup price is reasonable enough to justify. However, using embossment becomes less financially feasible when talking about a very small batch because the increase per unit may simply be too much.

Reasons to Consider Embossing and Debossing for Your Brand Packaging

Embossing and debossing both elevate brand recognition. In fact, both represent some of the best methods for making product logos stand out. Here’s why so many brands use embossing and debossing on packaging:

  • They call attention to your logo for better brand recognition.
  • They make packaging exciting and attractive!
  • They add to the tactile experience of picking up your product.
  • They increase perceived value on a subconscious level. Both indicate high standards for production.
  • They increase the profile of simple, inexpensive packaging.

Embossing and debossing both create a satisfying tactile experience for the customer. Of course, most of what is being communicated when you give your packaging one of these special touches is being communicated on a subconscious level. This is important because marketing and behavioral experts calculate that 95% of each purchasing decision actually takes place in the subconscious mind.

When Packaging Becomes Brand Art: Some Best Practices to Keep in Mind When Using Embossing and Debossing

It’s helpful to know the best practices for extracting the most value from embossing and debossing if your brand decides to invest in these techniques. You can get big value from small touches if you know how to use embossing and debossing strategically. Here’s a look at some best practices:

  • Choose the Right Areas for Embossing and Debossing: Limit embossing and debossing to “key” details like a company logo, brand name, symbol or recognition-building text. You will make a thoughtful impression while spending less.
  • Consider Patterns: Repeating patterns can be attractive and memorable when embossed or debossed.
  • Upgrade to a Thicker Material: Heavier materials handle embossing and debossing better. Thicker materials also give you a deeper canvas for showing off detail.
  • Consider Using Multi-Level Embossing or Debossing When Creating Images: If you’d like to emboss or deboss an image, consider using a process called multi-level embossing/debossing that helps larger images to transfer pristinely.

The general rule with both embossing and debossing is that less is more. While you may want to add tons of flair using this custom touch, the truth is that sticking to one standout element is often enough to create a big impression. Consider putting extra costs in your budget toward sturdier, stronger packaging to ensure that your logo or image looks the best it possibly can on the finished product.

Should Your Brand Consider Embossing and Debossing for Product Prestige?

Embossing and debossing deserve spots in the conversation when brands talk about ways to enhance the visual appeal of their products. The truth is that customers are always looking for deeper ways to connect with products and brands. Packaging is often a “first point of contact” that truly dictates how the interaction between the customer and the product will go just based on a first glance.

Studies show that 72% of customers feel that packaging influences buying decisions. Choosing packaging that “speaks” to consumers really comes down to two key steps. The first is to choose the right packaging material to make a positive impression. Brands can do this by choosing packaging that comes across as being lightweight, easy to handle, and free of waste. However, this is just part of the equation.

The truth is that any brand can invest in eco-friendly, lightweight packaging materials that impress customers by emphasizing sustainability. The second half of successfully “wowing” customers comes down to putting your stamp on a package! This is where embossing and debossing really come in strong. In fact, one immediate benefit for brands that choose this route is that they do not have to deal with the costs or logistics involved with adding any external branding or logos to their boxes. Many brands that skip embossing and debossing end up paying the equivalent amount for seals or stickers that contain important information. What’s more, there is also the need to finance the time and labor needed to get those seals and stickers added to packages in a uniform, reliable way.

Do You Want to Discuss Embossing and Debossing With Packaging Experts?

Don’t continue to let your packaging miss the mark by skipping embossing and debossing! At Mid-Atlantic Packaging, we help brands take a turn for sophistication every day by introducing them to options for custom embossing and debossing. Our team can help you find packaging options that create the perfect terrain for your custom logo, text, or graphics. We offer a wide range of sustainable, durable packaging options available in different shapes, sizes, and durability levels. Reach out today to get your custom packaging quote from Mid-Atlantic Packaging to get started!