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Embossing vs. Debossing

Confused about what it means to emboss vs. deboss an element of your project? We can help clarify.

PrintNinja is the premier offset printer for independent creators and small businesses. With hundreds of custom printing options to choose from, we’re here to make sure your project comes out exactly how you envisioned.

Embossing and debossing create unique visual and textural impacts on your project’s cover. These options are ideal for designers seeking ways to make elements of their cover art pop off the page. With both approaches, covers take on more of a three-dimensional appearance compared to traditional paperbacks and hardcovers.

Embossing vs Debossing Raised Paper Book Cover Example


Embossing raises certain parts of the paper, bringing them forward so the eye is directed towards these areas first. You may have seen paperbacks with embossed covers, with the title and author’s name embossed for a striking appearance, for example.

How is embossing done?

The process of embossing involves the use of a special custom die. The die is carved to align seamlessly with the image (or text) to be embossed. Then, the sheet of paper or cover is inserted into the die machine with the die facing the back of the sheet. The raised area of the die then pushes the paper or cover away, creating the raised effect. If you’re curious about how it works, take a moment to watch the process in action here.
Embossing vs Debossing Raised Paper Book Cover Example


Debossing, on the other hand, lowers certain parts of a sheet to achieve a “sunken in” look. This also attracts the eye by recessing a specific area. While not as popular as embossing, debossing can be used to support a particular aesthetic or theme.

How is debossing done?

The process of debossing is very similar to embossing and again involves the use of a custom die. However, when the sheet of paper or cover is inserted into the die machine, the front of the sheet faces the die. The debossed area of the die then pushes the paper or cover away, creating the sunken effect.

You can emboss or deboss an area of your project up to a 4″ x 4″ square. If you have a more complex embossing or debossing project in mind, feel free to reach out to our experts. With large, multi-level, beveled, and sculptural embossing options available, we can accomplish just about anything you’re envisioning! Our team will be happy to provide you with a custom quote for any options you have in mind.


If you think embossing or debossing would be a good fit for your project, find out more about pricing using our quoting calculator. Simply check the appropriate box for this add-on, or request specialty options for customized embossing or debossing features while requesting a custom quote. Please note: Emboss/Deboss is currently only available with our international print service, we hope to offer this option domestically in the future.

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We’ve created a custom pricing calculator so that you can explore all the different printing choices, shipping methods, and get an instant price for your project. You can also customize just about anything, from size and paperweight to specialty options like embossing/debossing and so much more.

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File Setup Guide

For instructions on setting up embossing and debossing, please see here.

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