Gold Foil v.s. Gold Print

Posted by | 18-10-2019

Many want gold on their invitations, gold on their business cards, gold on their tickets, gold on their greeting cards... gold on almost anything - and for good reason! Gold is impressive. The metallic shine of gold adds elegance & value to print products. While plenty are now familiar with the gold stamping or foiling process, most still don't understand the difference between gold foil and gold ink. If you, too, need clarifications on the pros and cons of gold foil and gold ink, their differences, as well as their costs, read on.

what's the difference between gold foil or gold print

Gold Foil

Adding gold foil to your custom print items is a multi-step process that uses heat and pressure as well as dye or toner to adhere a foil layer to the stock.  It is more labor intensive.  As such, custom print projects with gold foil takes longer to produce and is more expensive. However, because of this process and separate foil layer, when adhered to the stock, the gold foil doesn't lose any of the metallic shine, plus you get a different texture that pops. Gold stamped print products are also durable.

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Gold Print

Gold ink is now available! Metallic ink has - as the name suggests - metal particles in the liquid that set on the surface of your stock when printed. This adds a sheen to the finished product. While gold (and silver) metallic ink is more expensive than regular ink, it still uses the same print process. This means that there is more room for variations in tone, transparency, gradients and overall creativity with the printed product.  However, the amount of sheen will depend on the set opacity, stock used (absorbency) and so on, which may require some testing on the printer's part. The cost will depend on your artwork and how much ink will be required.

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So which one is right for you and your print projects ?

Gold foil truly shines, adds texture and is more durable but will cost more and take longer to produce.

Gold print is more subtle, leaves more room for creativity, will typically cost less than gold foil.

Both will require an added layer to your artwork and possibly some testing. It's important to consider what finish you'd like to achieve, your timeline and your budget.

Whether you're printing wedding invitations, prom tickets, raffle tickets, or postcards, using one of these 2 techniques will surely enhance your print project and create an impression!

Have more questions or have an idea for a custom print project? E-mail us at