Best Design Treatments For Binders

March 2, 2015

To set your binders and packaging materials apart from your competitors, consider the dramatic look of a foil stamp, appliqué, dome sticker, deboss or emboss. Each of these design options highlights artwork, text, or images with a dimensional application your customers can both see and feel.

Foil Stamping
Foil stamping adds a touch of elegance to any piece. Through the use of heat, pressure, and metal die, a foil image or text is transferred onto vinyl, paper, metal, or casemade binders. Color options abound, but the most traditional choice is gold or silver. The following foil stamping guidelines will ensure you get the best results.

  • Avoid bold type or artwork; small openings could become plugged. 
  • Reverse type must be open and bold; avoid roman typefaces. 
  • Avoid type smaller than 12 points. 
  • Avoid solid coverage over a large area; coverage may not be consistent. 

Debossing or Embossing
Debossed or embossed designs offer a subtle, professional look. Debossing uses a metal die to press text or an image into a material. The result is a design that is lower than the surrounding surface. Embossing uses a similar die with a female counter to press the text or image out from the reverse side, resulting in raised artwork. Add foil to either of these methods for an even more dramatic effect.

Materials tip: Embossing is not available on standard binders. Use this method of decorating on paperboard based binders and products only.

Appliqué is a method of decorating available for vinyl products only. A special die is made in the shape of supplied artwork that is a combination cutting and sealing die. Using this die, a piece of vinyl is heat-sealed onto a base vinyl. The die seals the shape of the artwork onto the base vinyl and then the excess surrounding vinyl is then removed leaving the shape of the artwork. An advantage to appliqué is that it can be used to create any shape, including letters, numbers, and logos.

Materials tip: To maximize the dramatic, three-dimensional effect that appliqué can offer, consider using a thicker vinyl for the decorative layer. Thick vinyl not only enhances the physical feel and visual appeal, it also creates a more durable decoration. For that reason, thicker vinyl appliqué is often recommended for logos or other images with intricate designs and short edges.

Dome Stickers
A dome sticker is created by layering a thick urethane coating directly atop your artwork or logo, to create a clear “dome” typically 1/16” to 3/32” thick. The urethane that creates the dome can include reflective material such as glitter, or one of many other effects to enhance your product's design.

Design tip: To give your dome stickers the effect of added depth, consider debossing an area slightly larger than the sticker area. This provides a precision placement location for the dome stickers. offers a complete range of decorating options for your binders, media kits, and more. Contact us today to customize your next packaging masterpiece!