Intaglio printing presses create the printed image using an etched copper die to stamp the ink onto the paper. While these types of presses come in different sizes, the most common presses can fit a die up to 5” x 9”. This is an important consideration when designing for intaglio because if your design includes an image that is larger than can fit on one die, the production will have to be broken down into multiple dies, which could mean the artwork would have to be altered. Contact the experts at TAG print Shop to determine the best way to proceed with a design that is larger than 5” x 9”.
Intaglio presses print one color at a time. While multiple spot colors can be utilized with stunning outcomes, intaglio is not suited for CMYK, or process colors such as photographs. Line art, created with spot colors, is the best for intaglio printing. Intaglio inks can be matched to the Pantone color chart, however also come in a variety of custom metallics, pastels, and even fluorescents. Having a big sale, on-site celebrity, or other event? Be sure to announce it so everybody knows and gets excited about it.
With intaglio, the design is transferred to the paper using a copper die, which doesn’t allow half-tones. Therefore, transparencies cannot be used with any Intaglio element. The Intaglio spot color must be at 100% opacity.
Historically, Intaglio prints were produced with a hand-carved die. The image was etched into the metal die with hand engraving tools. Intaglio prints are traditionally line art, without large solid areas. Due to modern etching techniques, if a design includes a solid area, our diemaker has the ability to create a “screened die” to reproduce the solid image area on press. A “screened die” converts the solid area to a series of fine dots. This allows the ink to stamp evenly but does not reduce the opacity of the ink color, like a transparency would with offset or digital printing. If your design is going to require a screened die, you do not need to do anything – we will take care of it in the die making process.
When creating artwork to be produced with Intaglio, here are some technical guidelines for setting up your file:
Intaglio can be utilized solo or be combined with other printing and embellishing techniques. Some common examples of other processes that complement intaglio include:
A watercolor, patterned or full solid background produced with either offset or digital printing, with intaglio element stamped over top.
Intaglio print a featured graphic and add a full color, foil stamped or thermography printed border
Add edge tinting or foil gilding to the edges of your finished piece
Add a diecut shape to the finished piece
Add an emboss, or “bump” pass to the intaglio element to make it stand out even more.
And more… the possibilities are limitless. Request our sample pack to get your creative juices flowing!
When planning a design to be produced using artisanal elements such as intaglio, the paper cannot be overlooked. There are so many choices of paper available in various colors, finishes, thicknesses and material composition. The best paper for intaglio will serve as a complementary backdrop and let the intaglio image take center stage. Often times, that means the paper can have subtle texture but should not be heavily textured. Especially if your design has fine detail, then using paper with a smoother finish will allow those fine details to been seen best. The weight (thickness) of paper can be somewhat heavy, but using a paper that is more than 130# cover can cause difficulty holding the correct pressure to stamp your image evenly. The good news is that if you require a very thick finished product, we can always paste or mount the press sheet to a heavier sheet after it comes off press. Cotton-content papers will usually accept and showcase intaglio very well, and are commonly used for stationery. If you are producing an art print, you will want to choose a paper with archival properties.
Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule and we encourage all types of creative uses of paper. Collab with us to find the ultimate paper for your project!
We could talk about intaglio until we're blue in the face. But really, words and photos just don't cut it. You have to see it and feel it. Hit us up for your free samples of intaglio printing and let yourself fall in love!