Promo University

What is a Deboss?

Alyssa Mertes

Published: July 23rd, 2020

When I think of the word branding, the first thing that comes to mind is a nice steak. It's not because I'm hungry – that word just makes me think of a cowboy marking a cow's hide. That's because that kind of branding is similar to a printing technique known as debossing, which is used on items like coasters and padfolios.

So what exactly is debossing, anyway? And how is it used for your promotional products? We'll guide you through this fascinating printing process and also discuss the differences between embossing and debossing a promotional product.

cow branded

Moooove Over for the Facts

Debossing and old-fashioned cattle branding have a lot in common. Both involve the use of a customized metal plate to essentially make a stamp. And this stamp indicates that Bessie, or in this case your promotional item, is the property of your business.

Did you know that, like advertising, cattle branding goes back to the early days of civilization? It's true! There's evidence that the ancient Egyptians were branding their cattle as early as 2700 BC. Today, when ranchers mark their cattle, they're using a highly regulated system of registered brand designs... just the way you are when you put your trademarked logo on a promo item!

One: Metal Plate

When it comes to debossing your promotional items, the first step is to make a metal plate that features your design. This most often involves using a die-cutting process for a precise look. After the plates are created, the manufacturer determines how deeply the design will be stamped into the product.

Metal plate

Two: Awake the Machine

Once the plate has been engraved, it's fit into a machine that will stamp the items with your custom look. Why is a machine involved, you may ask? Well, for one thing machines increase the efficiency and accuracy of printing and produce customized products at lightning speed.

Debosser machine

Three: Feelin' the Pressure

Debossing machines are also able to create the extreme conditions that result in a logo becoming a permanent part of your promotional products. It goes way beyond a teacher tapping a rubber stamp that says "Good job!" on the top of a homework assignment. Debossing requires a lot of pressure, which presses the design down far enough into the material to allow it to permanently retain the artwork.

Pressure gauge

Four: It's Gettin' Hot in Here

Debossing also uses high temperatures to manipulate the material into the indented shape of your logo. Specifically, it operates at temperatures around 100 degrees Celsius (or 212 degrees Fahrenheit). The result is a custom imprint that looks elegant and subtle and won't fade or flake over time.

Hot surface
Bubba popcorn
deboss emboss

Embossing vs. Debossing

And just in case you were wondering, debossing and embossing are two different but closely related processes. The big difference? Debossing produces an image that's pressed into the material and indented, while embossing produces an image that's raised and slightly higher than the surface of the material.

Vince bottom line

Debossing an item has nothing to do with steak, but it is similar to branding a cow. The debossing process presses your logo down into an item's surface, creating an indented mark that's sure to last. It uses heat and metal to produce quality designs on your promotional products. Holy cow—isn't debossing great?!