Embossing vs debossing: What’s the difference?

PAP 21 recycling symbol debossed on packaging cardboard

The prefix em- is a word-forming element that means to ‘put into’, and de-, inherited from Latin, means ‘down from or off’.

This context should give you an idea about the difference between embossing and debossing in custom branding and which would work best for you.

3D illustration of an embossed stamp with the text trusted partner


Embossing is the process of stamping or carving something into a material. This could be paper, leather, binders, A5 notebooks or folders in a custom branding environment.

The material (or substrate in our custom branding world) on which you’re printing is wedged between male and female die plates. The female plate houses the design, and the male plate matches the design but is sunken into the plate. The male and female plates are pressed together, and the design is pushed up to appear raised on the material.

Vegan certified food stamp debossed over brown natural background


The debossing process is almost identical to embossing, but the design result is pushed into the substrate to appear recessed rather than raised. This type of printing is trendy on leather and PVC binder products and tends to exude a certain quality and esteem.

Types of embossing and debossing

Various types of embossing and debossing techniques are used depending on the requirements and substrate.

Debossed Logo on linen paper

Debossing techniques

Three types of techniques exist for debossing: blind, registered and combination. Blind is a simple deboss using no colour or foil. Registered debossing uses ink or foil, and a combination uses a mix of registered and embossing techniques.

Jack Daniels whiskey logo burned at the bottom of old wooden barrel

Embossing techniques

Blind embossing is the simplest type to emboss or deboss without any colour. Single and multi-level embossing is the process where the raised emboss looks 3D, with single-level being the most basic, and multi-level including varying techniques to make the design look 3D.

Specialist embossing is the process of using pastelling, scorching or glazing techniques to enhance a design. Pastelling uses a combination of dyes to give a design an antique look. Glazing makes the top layer of an emboss shine – often used to make the same colour design stand out. Scorching, as the name suggests, means the die plates are heated to ‘burn’ the design into the substrate.

Embossing and debossing products

White book in genuine white leather on a dark embossed background
old leather notebook and fountain pen on old wooden boards
Box with debossed lettering on white wooden table
Legal contract with gavel and Attorney name plate on a desk
Business notebook for notes with pen

Here at Acme Preston, we can print almost anything. From binders to branded folders, satchels to stationery, leather to luggage labels and tabletop signs to travel accessories. Contact us about your custom branding project and whether to emboss, or deboss… for your boss, or as the boss.

Read more articles about custom branded products.

Our Products

We can customise all types of binders with different sizes, features and materials.


Give your documents a polished, professional look with our range of custom folders.


We promise exceptional print quality on a wide variety of custom satchels and pockets.

Satchels & Pockets

We turn one design into matching stationery like envelopes and clipboards.


Bespoke custom presentation boxes built for purpose – durable and highly impactful.

Presentation Boxes

Our signage and display solutions are fully customisable and designed to be fully weatherproof.

Signs & Display

Create positive association with your brand through custom branded promotional merchandise.

Promotional Merchandise

Send your brand on a trip around the world with custom branded travel accessories.

Travel Accessories

We promise exceptional print quality on a wide variety of custom satchels and pockets.

Satchels & Pockets

Give your documents a polished, professional look with our range of custom folders.