Different Printing Techniques

You may have heard of some common printing methods, but there are also some less well known technologies. Here we go through several printing methods so you can be better informed. Choosing the right type of print method will depend on what you are aiming to do, the type of paper you will be using and the effect that you are after.

 Foil printing

This involves heat and pressure, and while there are not as many colours as PMS as foil colours come in a set, there are more options than just gold or silver. The machine is heated and then the pressure from the machine along with the heat is how the foil gets printed. Foil printing is great for adding a touch of style.


Thermography printing usually refers to when the paper is coated so that is changes colour when printed, like in shop receipts or faxes. It can also refer to raised print where the paper is heated with embossing powder. Thermography is often used in braille, wedding stationery and greeting cards.


Paper embossing is a very craft driven printing technique. Often requiring special tools, embossing is a process of heat and pressure and the image is “clamped” on.

Embossing can be used for r marks or for engraving on things like napkins.

 UV Varnish

UV Varnish simply refers to Ultra violet varnish printing. Ink is applied and dried using ultra violet rays. This technique creates a glossy or shiny finish and is can look great on most papers. UV Varnish is quite a popular printing method for adding some fine finishes. This works best with matte laminated background.


This is a popular home printing technique but also used by the professionals. It involves a computer sending out a message to spray ink on paper in a particular way. The finish is quite a rich colour using CMYK colours and if quite affordable for home printing.


Digital printing is becoming very popular amongst professional printing because it can produce a great finish and unique printing. A very modern printing technique, digital printing can convey a digital image onto the paper. its good for short runs.

This overview offers a brief explanation of different printing techniques. For every project there may be more than one printing option and so you just need to work out which one will suit you the best, will suit the project and is cost effective for your budget.

Professional printers and graphic designers will be able to offer some advice over printing methods and which ones work best for each type of project.

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