Learn How to Setup Your Inline Foil Files for Print

We'll show you how to properly create inline foil files for your print project.

Inline foil is a very unique process and adds a great metallic shine to your artwork. Unlike stamped foil, you can literally apply Inline Foil to any solid color or gradient spectrum. You can apply Spot UV over the top for an extra pop of shine, you can cover an entire page with Inline Foil, and you can also integrate thin details into the foil, such as text and intricate lines.

How it works is that we lay down your foil first. This is a silver metallic material that goes in the areas you designate. Then, we apply your ink over the top. When the colored ink goes on top of the silver foil, the foil picks up the colors of the ink – thus creating the foil color of your choice.

So the question becomes, how do you set your files up for the best results?

For each printed side, you will need two files. The first file is your completed artwork. This is where you want ink to be applied. The second file is your Inline Foil mask file. This tells the printer where to lay the foil.

The below image is a screenshot of a postcard that shows an example of the two files. The image on the left is my original print file (done in Adobe Illustrator). I duplicated my art board and then removed all of the elements EXCEPT for the parts that I want to become Inline Foil. If actually removing them is too difficult, then just change them to white so they can’t be seen. Then, all of your Inline Foil elements should be turned to 100% black (c0, m0, y0, 100k). This same process also works if you are doing the design in InDesign.

This is an example of two files created in Adobe Illustrator for Inline Foil Postcards.

In photoshop, the process is slightly different. The easiest way is to put all of your layers into a folder. The below screenshot shows that I labeled the folder “Print File”.

This image shows you how to set up your Inline Foil file in Photoshop.

When you are 100% complete with your design, duplicate that folder. I named this one “Inline Foil mask.” Then, within this duplicated folder, go through and either turn off the layers that you do not want to be foiled or do a “color overlay” and turn them white. Next, you’ll do a color overlay for all of the items that should be Inline Foil. Make the overlay 100% black (c0, m0, y0, 100k). And last, save your file as a .jpg. (This is the preferred file type when saving from Photoshop only.) To save your print file, turn off the mask layer to reveal only the print file.

Learn how to create an Inline Foil file for printing.

It’s important, no matter which program you are using, that you do not move any elements when turning them black and white. The slightest shift in placement will make your foil not line up perfectly with your print.

A couple other things to keep in mind…A pure silver metallic foil can be achieved with placing your mask over a white background. To avoid scratching the foil, we recommend using 15% K (c0, m0, y0, 15k) on your print files. This build helps to avoid scratches on the foil and still yields a rich silver color.

For example, PhotoBuzz (below) wanted the entire front of their business card to be foiled. So the mask file is completely 100% black. And when printed, the white background becomes bright silver.

This card wanted the entire front to be foiled. The mask file is completely 100% black.

Also, lighter colors foil the best. Your color will be slightly darker when printed, so the lighter the ink, the more vibrant the foil.

If you have any questions, or if you need help creating your files, feel free to contact us. We are always here for you! If interested in design services, you can learn more here


Brooke

Brooke is the Design Team Director at Primoprint. She oversees the design department, assists with graphic design projects, and helps coordinate upcoming projects with customers/graphic designers. Outside of the office, Brooke enjoys being a Soccer Mom, a Gymnastics Mom, cooking, drinking wine, and is a firm believer in Sunday afternoon naps.