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  • Gokhan Aktas

Stand out with embossed decorative tins

Every year we see more fancy tins being used in the market. If you pay attention, you will see that lately more of them are embossed in one way or another. Obviously “Can you do embossing on the tins?” is a question we get asked often too. The short answer is yes. However, there are more details to it than that.

Jack Daniel's tin's embossing

So what is embossing? It is actually distorting the flat tinplate in a controlled manner. To control the distortion, we use steel toolings with high precision. The embossing design is engraved onto two blocks of steel that go one inside another, male and female toolings as we call them. The tinplate is then placed in between these two toolings in a press. Once the press is activated, it puts tons of weight on the toolings to form the design on the tinplate, and voila! Your design just came to life.

Embossing is the common word for this process but actually, we have two different formats. When we say embossing, we mean that the embossed design is being raised from the tinplate. However, the opposite of this process is called debossing. That means the debossed design is being sunk into the tinplate. Even though we use the same tooling to perform either one, it is important to use the correct name to be on the same page. One might want embossing to accentuate certain design elements and the other might want debossing to place a sticker in.

Besides these two formats, there are two different styles of embossing. One of them is the standard emboss where certain parts of your design are raised at a uniform height. Sometimes one or two more levels can be added on top of the first level of embossing. However, all the extra levels will be at a uniform height as well. The second and newer style is the 3-D emboss where the embossing height varies. This usually means stretching the material even further making the design stand out more. To give an example, a standard emboss would show a cobblestone street as a flat street whereas a 3-D emboss would make each stone individually stand out.

Designer working on a design

Another important thing to consider is what to emboss. You can emboss anything from just a logo to every single element in the design but this doesn’t mean that one is better than the other. When you emboss everything, the contrast it creates might get lost in the crowd so sometimes less is more when it comes to embossing. This is a part of your design and you should give it careful consideration depending on the look you want to achieve.

After you are done with your part, it is our turn to do our best to achieve the look you want. Embossing is a technically challenging process. Tinplate is a natural material and its properties show slight differences from batch to batch. Combining that with a different design every time and matching it with the printing is everything but easy. However, the effort is very well worth it.

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