FAQ Frequently Asked Questions about Inline Cold Foil

What is responsible for the maximum shine effect / mirror effect of the metal foil?

The most important factor is the paper on which the ‘inline cold foil’ technology is applied. Inline cold foil is always applied on a coated paper time. The shinier and/or more coated the paper type, the greater the shine effect of the foil and the greater the mirror or metal effect. The greatest shine is achieved with Satin MC or other satin-glossy paper types. The application on Mat MC provides a mat result. For cardboard, Ensocoat provides the best results. The dispersion varnish that is used also produces different results. There is a clear difference between a gloss dispersion varnish and a mat dispersion varnish. An additional finish with UV varnish or gloss laminate increases the general mirror effect even more. It is recommended to consult us about the paper types and to request print models to achieve an optimum result. Our sample brochures are printed on Satin MC with a gloss dispersion varnish finish.

How should I supply my files?

We have prepared a convenient document, “how to cold foil’, that you can request by e-mail. The basic delivery is a high resolution PDF in four colours + a 5th colour (for the foil) with the required bleed.

PDF: how_to_cold_foil_Eng

Can I obtain a proof for my design ?

We produce real ‘inline cold foil’ proofs at interesting rates on a 2weekly basis.

Contact us for the conditions.

Is this technology suitable for small print runs?

Inline cold foil is applied on a large format 70×100 printing press. On a fortnightly basis we offer shared print runs where we offer clients the opportunity to have their smaller print runs (500 copies and 500 more) printed collectively at competitive rates and on a fixed paper type. Contact us for a price overview of these options.

Is the price of the metal / foil print run determined by the percentage of foil in my design?

Yes and no. The price of the foil print work is largely determined by 2 factors. The first factor is the single or double-sided use of ‘inline cold foil’ in your print work. For double-sided foil applications we need to respect a drying time of 12 to 24 hours before the second impression and the foil consumption is higher. The second factor is the foil web required to provide your design with foil. We work with foil webs of 25, 50 or 100 cm. A foil roll with a width of 100 cm (which runs over a full 70×100 cm plano sheet) doubles the foil cost in relation to a 50 cm roll for example. For a bigger print run this can make a significant difference. It is important that your quotation request states clearly on which sides and/or which pages you wish to use foil in your design. That information enables us to determine the position on a plano sheet and to calculate the most efficient foil web. So, foil consumption widthways determines the price and not the consumption over the short side.


Please ask our advice to achieve an optimum foil result at an interesting price.

Can cold foil / metal be masked?

One of the main advantages of “inline cold foil’ is the option to locally mask foil, which means to leave it out. This can be used accurately and in great detail. Our sample brochure contains many examples. The basic principle is that the first print tower prints with ‘adhesive ink’ to which the foil adheres. As the adhesive ink can be printed very finely, thin lines, structures and small letter types are perfectly achievable in foil. In the places where there is no adhesive ink, the foil is automatically left out. After adhering the foil, CMYK printing and the varnish follow.

Can I work with PMS inks?

Yes, you can although it is less common. Printing PMS ink on foil does not make too much sense as the metallic end result will be totally different in terms of colour. However, it does make sense to print PMS ink on the masked parts, because the PMS colour choice remains in the end result. The printing press has 7 printing towers, where 4 are freely available (CMYK or 4 PMS shades) for printing in one impression with foil. The other 2 towers are for adhesive ink and the foil and the final tower is a dispersion varnish tower.

Is foil sensitive to scratching?

Foil is not particularly sensitive to scratching. However, scratching is more noticeable on foil as the light refracts on the metallic surface. If print work with ‘cold foil’ is used carelessly, scratches will be visible more quickly than on classic print work. Careless use refers to transporting or sending print work whereby the foil side constantly chafes against other print work, which causes visible scratches/damage. If you believe this may happen to your print work, please let us know so we may offer you additional protection. It is perfectly possible to provide print work with ‘inline cold foil’ with an additional protective layer, such as UV varnish, gloss laminate, mat laminate, textured laminate, … If laminate is applied, it is important to take account of the fact that the foil always needs to be printed first and will be found under the laminate.

Can I apply ‘inline cold foil’ / metal printing technology to uncoated paper types or envelopes?

No. It is not possible to use this technology on offset paper types or uncoated cardboard types. Printing envelopes is only possible to order. Plano sheets would be printed with inline cold foil and subsequently turned into envelopes. This is mainly interesting for bigger print runs and can only be achieved for envelopes made from coated paper types.

Are the foils available in different colours?

Yes. The basic foil is silver foil. As silver is a neutral colour, nearly all metallic effects, including gold shades, can be achieved with CMYK printing on this silver. White is achieved by locally masking the foil, i.e. by showing the white paper, deep black can also be achieved with masking and then printing black on the masked part. Our sample brochures have been made with silver foil. The colour effects are all achieved by using CMYK printing and the finish is with gloss dispersion varnish. It is also possible to apply gold foil in the same way. The cost price is identical. There are also different types of holographic foils, of which the ‘rainbow’ foil is the most commonly used. These specific foils do have a higher cost price.

Delivery periods and minimum amounts are always in consultation.

Leveringstermijnen en minimumhoeveelheden hiervoor zijn altijd in overleg.

Is it possible to apply ‘inline cold foil’ in halftones / percentages?

Yes, when it is unprinted foil. As the first printing tower prints with ‘adhesive ink’, this can also be applied as a percentage. That percentage of adhesive ink only takes part of the foil material from the roll, which creates a surface that consists of small glistering foil parts. Our brochure contains an example. It is not possible when that foil percentage/ foil halftone is printed with CMYK afterwards. When a foil halftone is printed with CMYK, the results are not stable enough for print runs of 300 sheets or more and a type of deposit accumulates on the plano sheets. That is why we are not in favour of using a foil halftone if it is printed on later. Some brochures or sample print work will show printed foil halftone. However, this is no longer applied in new orders in view of the complexity and instability on the printing press. If you wish to apply foil percentages, we recommend you send us the file for checking before we start with the printing order. We would be pleased to give you advice to obtain an optimum result.

Which ink limit should I use for printing on foil?

The foil is printed with CMYK inks (or PMS) that are modified especially to ensure a good adherence to plastic and foil surfaces. As printing is immediate and “inline”, it is also covered by a dispersion varnish that protects the printed foil part. After a drying time of +/- 12hours, the printed sheets can be finished further. The adherence and drying of the print also depends on the ink limit on the foil surface. For example, you can have a maximum 250 % CMYK ink limit on foil, aside from the 100% adhesive ink limit (i.e.100% foil).

Specific example:

100 % adhesive ink (5th colour) = a complete silver-foil surface. On this silver-foil surface, you have the following print: C 100 – M 15 – Y 85 – B 25 = 225 % -> ink limit OK
100 % adhesive ink (5th colour) = a complete silver-foil surface. On this silver-foil surface, you have the following print: C 100 – M 90 – Y 85 – B 50 = 325% -> ink limit not OK.

Inline cold foil/ Metal print work in other languages or descriptions

Inline Cold Foil is the correct term in the English language. Internationally, and in Dutch too, this technical term is used generally. Other terms that usually point to the same technology in Dutch include: cold foil, printing on foil, metal-effect print work, shiny print work, foil print. The English language sometimes refers to cold foil or metal effect. In French, it is known as impression metal, impression dorure à froid, effets métalliques. Generally speaking, the term metal print work is becoming increasingly popular.