The history of metallic foiling

If you have gotten a wedding invitation, any kind of greeting card, or a luxury letterhead recently, you may have seen foil patterns. They are very popular at the moment because they provide such a stylish look. In fact, demand for foiling services is very high as more people want to ensure their print stands out.

Surprisingly, adding metallic touches to items is not a new practice. In fact there is a really interesting history here.


Although the process is different, modern foiling is quite similar to gilding. The idea is the same; add metallic elements to make an item stand out. In the past people would gild all kinds of things to give them a luxury look. For example you can find it on furniture, statues, picture frames, and more. Here the technique was brushing very thin layers of gold on to the items.


Foiling servicesPrinting presses became very popular in the 18th and 19th centuries. This is when adding foil really became popular. It was a favourite for people who were making valuable books. Many of them had leather covers. These could then be embossed to create a raised pattern or debossed so the design was sunk into the leather. Gold leaf could then be added to the designs to give them a luxury finish.

Today it is quite rare to use actual gold leaf this way, although some people do still use it. Instead, most opt for foils. They can be an array of colours rather than just golden. There are even foils with things like rainbow or pearlescent effects. Most importantly, because they are foil, this is now a more affordable and accessible option.

Explore our foiling services

Whatever you are thinking about in terms adding decorative touches to premium print, foiling is something you should look at. There is likely to be something that will help you get exactly the look you want.

Foiling Services is a top team when it comes to adding foils to different materials. If you want your print to stand out, we can help. Get in touch today to learn more about the options we have for you.