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    Yearbook Cover Terminology



    Embossing and debossing are the processes of creating either raised or recessed relief images and designs in the cover material. An embossed pattern is raised against the background, while a debossed pattern is sunken into the surface of the material.

    Embossing is an outstanding means of enhancing a cover design that has already been defined with silkscreen or lithographic ink. Embossed designs may also be complemented with brilliant metallay or colorful foil. Dies may emboss a design on a portion of the cover, a richly textured grain pattern over the entire surface or both


    Metallay is a metal material that can be applied to an embossed area on your cover design. This application is available in silver or gold. Metallay dies are generally more costly than embossing dies because a very sharp and strong cutting edge must be built into the die to cut through the metal material.


    Foil is a fine, durable metallic material that can be applied to smooth or lightly grained cover surfaces. Foil adds an excellent touch to any cover design. Herff Jones foils are available in a variety of solid color and sparkling patterned foils. A die that makes a slightly recessed impression is required for foil stamping. It is not as costly as metallay or embossing dies.


    Silkscreening is an economical means of reproducing line artwork or direct line photography in one or more colors. Silkscreening inks are generally opaque, but some are translucent and will change color when applied to a colored base material. Your Herff Jones Representative can show you swatches of silkscreen colors on acetate; examine them closely for opacity before making a final decision on color.


    Lithography allows use of full-color photography, multicolored artwork and photo mechanical special effects as cover designs. All Litho covers are gloss laminated for protection of the ink. Additional lamination options include Matte and Specialty Lamination. Lithographic inks are translucent, and authentic full-color reproduction can only be achieved on a white base material. Applying lithographic ink to colored cover material will alter the shade of the ink.


    • TOP-FOIL STAMPING involves the application of foil to a raised level of an embossed design. Like embossing, foil is applied with heat and pressure, necessitating a stamping die and a counter die under the cover to prevent the embossing area from being flattened when the foil is applied.
    • BLIND EMBOSSING is an embossed design that is not decorated with silkscreen color, metallay or top-foil stamping, leaving only the raised and recessed areas of the design.
    • OVERGRAINING involves the impression of a grain over a litho design or a silkscreen design that is not already embossed.
    • OVERTONE RUB requires a special lacquer applied by hand into the recessed areas of a grain pattern or embossed element, giving an antique appearance. The application of overtone rub is not recommended for silktouch base materials due to the porous texture of the finish. Overtone spot rub is the same process, but the rub is applied in a select area only.
    • QUARTERBINDING is the vertical division of the front cover into two sections, each with a different base material, or decorated with a different process.
    • PADDING involves the use of a special binder’s board that gives a cushiony feel to covers.
    • COVER TIP-ONS are images or graphics printed on a press and then applied (“tipped-on”) to a debossed area on the cover. Tip-ons require a debossed area to protect the edges/corners of the tip-on. This process requires either a standard or custom die.
    • PLASTIC JACKETS are totally transparent, and protect cover designs from wear and handling. They are available from Herff Jones in all book sizes, and are designed to fit a book with any number of pages.



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