Foiling Guide: How to Set Up Foiling Artwork for Print

Foiling Guide: How to Set Up Foiling Artwork for Print

Read Time: 2 Minutes


18 Mar 2020

What is Foiling?

Foiling is an additional finish that allows you to add a shiny metallic foil to your design in specific areas. This is great for making logos and text stand out, or adding a unique texture to your artwork. 

After we’ve printed your artwork, we’ll apply a layer of spot gloss to the area of your design you want the foiling to be. A foil sheet is then applied to this area and cured under UV light.

Foiling is available on matt laminated stocks because this gives the best contrast in textures.

You can choose either gold foiling or silver foiling for a classic look, or opt for copper, red, green, blue or holographic for something totally unique to your brand.


Creating Your Foiling Design

Creating a foiling design requires a little more work than normal artwork because you’ll need to create multiple files. Here’s the simplest way to do this.

Create your artwork as normal and save it as a PDF. Then, delete any elements you don’t want to have foiling on. You’ll need to delete the background or set it to transparent so your entire design isn’t covered in foil.

You can also add any other foiling elements that aren’t part of your original artwork, like repeating a pattern to create a textured background. 

Change all elements to a bright colour, like orange, so our team knows which areas on your design need setting up for foiling. 

Save with the same name as your original file, but with _Foiling at the end, e.g. Business-Card_Foiling.

This file should only have the elements of your design that you want foiling applied to.


Download our free foiling artwork guide here for more help:


Free foiling artwork set up instructions for print download button


Foiling Artwork Checklist

•    Keep foiling at least 3mm away from the edge of your design and don’t place it over a fold
•    Delete elements that you don’t want foiling to appear on top of from your original artwork file – foiling can be marginally off, so text and shapes underneath can show 
•    The smallest font size we recommend for foiling is 8pt
•    It’s best to have either a solid area, a detailed pattern, or text rather than mix them on the same design


Submitting Your Artwork

We’ll need you to send both your original artwork file and your foiling artwork file to us so we can set it up for you. 

Depending on the product you choose, you can either upload these through the website or send your artwork to us via email at after you’ve placed your order (please use your web order number as your subject line). 

If your file is over 20MB, you’ll need to use WeTransfer to email across your file. Once we’ve received your artwork, we’ll get back to you ASAP with a proof for you to approve before print.


Checking Your Proof

Your proof will be generated with 3 pages. One will be your original artwork, one will be just the foiling layer with foiling elements, and finally one to show the foiling layered over the original artwork to make sure this will be placed correctly. On both proofs, your foiling elements will appear in your chosen foil colour.



About the Author

Hi, I'm Jess and I head up the studio team at instantprint. I help customers understand how to supply their artwork for print.