specialist finishes

For the perfect finishing touches, Alpha offers a wide range of specialist processes. From die-cutting and foiling, to embossing and varnishing, all our finishing services are carried out in-house to meet our strict quality standards.

Fluted foiling
Tipping In
UV varnish

Square back books
Loop stapling
Cello Bagging
Flow wrapping
Bulk and individual packing


A glossary of the processes that add sparkle and texture

Acetate: A clear or frosted vinyl sheet that can be used to cover the top of card fronts. The acetate may include design and/or editorial.
Aperture: A die cut ‘hole’ or ‘window’ in the cards.
Blind embossing die: An engraved plate, normally made from a soft metal such as magnesium, that can be behind or machine cut and used to raise the image on the cards.
Caption: A sending situation within a product line eg mother’s day, birthday, anniversary, etc.
Christmas: This winter celebration also refers to name of flake, colour 731, occasionally used in thermographic finishing.
Counter force: Male version of an embossing die. It is made by contact moulding and is used to force the image of the material of the card.
Crystalina: Trade term used by the Faust Corporation of America in relation to flake products used in thermography. Multi-coloured, iridescent Crystalina is the full title for what is often referred to as flitter.
De-bossing: Sinking an image on a card.
Die-cutting: Cutting unique shapes into a greeting card. The die is the term for a metal card cutter.
Disco: A term interchangeable with ‘flitter’. Equally imprecise.
Embossing: A metal die is used to create a raised impression on a blank piece of paper or a picture.
Fine detail embossing: The die is hand-engraved to various depths and curvatures.
Flitter: A production process that involves the cards being affixed with glitter to produce a sparkling effect. Imprecise term usually used in relation to glitter – like the flake-based finishes created using thermography. Often refers specifically to the multi-coloured, iridescent flakes widely used in the greeting card industry.
Foiling/hot foiling: Hot foil is stamped onto a card to create a shiny effect. The die is heated in the press and the foil is stamped into the card. Can be used for wording or highlighting part of the cards design.
Glitter: Imprecise term. Can refer to shiny flakes of any colour. Most commonly used to create iridescent sparkly finishes using thermography.
Glue spots: Can be used for attaching ribbons, sequins, and other small ornamentations or for closing cellobags. Chose either: Vertical hold, 3-D high density, double-sided foam pads – for attaching ornamentation. Circular disks – for sealing cellobags.
Holographic foiling: Foil featuring a holographic pattern or image.
Pearlescent: Finish with a ‘pearl like’ appearance. Can be created using thermography. Can also have a slightly metallic appearance. Available in many colours.
Puff: Soft, puff-like finish (very textured) created using thermography.
Thermography: Raised finish which looks similar to embossing. It is used for a variety of effects including neutral pearlescent and flake finishes. Available in many colours.
UV Varnishing: Very shiny finish to the cards. Can be used on the whole card or as a ‘spot’ to highlight a particular area.
Virko: From the Virkotype Corporation, manufacturers of thermographic equipment. It is the name given to the texture and colour attached to greeting cards by thermography. Once in the press, a special powdered compound is dusted onto the paper and fused by ink to the fresh ink. Raised lettering or designs are made with this process.

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