Thermographic printing, or ‘thermo’ printing as it’s also known in the trade, is a useful technique to embellish your printing and make it stand out – figuratively as well as literally speaking to some degree. Here we’ll take a look at the process and how it can be used here at Southside Print in London SE1.
The thermo process
Thermography is, to some extent, more of ‘finishing’ process as it’s completed after the coloured inks have already been printed on the paper or card. While the inks are still wet, a thermographic powder is applied to the paper and it sticks to the wet ink. Any excess is quickly removed and then the dusted sheets are passed through a heating process. This melts the themographic powder into its final form. Once melted, set and cooled, it forms an attractive coating to just the printed parts of the sheet.
The new thermo coating is like a spot printed glossy varnish that actually has a thickness to it. This is why thermographically printed elements on the paper feel raised if you run your finger over them. While it’s not as crisp as embossing or UV varnishing, it is an interesting and slightly organic effect and one that is quite different to embossing in reality. As well as being raised, it makes the printed areas glossy, allowing the them to catch the light at certain angles. It’s also useful to note that thermo printing is a significantly cheaper alternative to spot UV varnishing.
Thermo printing is a significantly cheaper alternative to spot UV varnishing
Thermo printing is quite a well-established, traditional process but, when used well by talented graphic designers, can look incredibly attractive and contemporary. The thermographic powder/seal is transparent, so it lets the colour of the underlying printing ink show through. Because of that, it actually looks like the thermographically printing itself is coloured. So, for example, if your logo on a letterhead consists of black type for the company name and a big red square for the logo symbol, it’ll look like those two coloured elements are thermographically ‘printed’ and each of them will be glossy and slightly raised. Thermo printing also has a slightly organic feel about it as mentioned above, by which we mean that it has a slightly mottled, in-exact outer edge and the glossy ‘seal’ feels hard and glassy — almost jewel-like. This can really contrast well against the matt paper it is printed onto. Thermographic printing works well on anything from business cards, letterheads and invitations to Read more