A Little Shine and Sparkle: Add Foil To Your Packaging

by Megan Arnold March 10, 2021

We all want our packaging to stand out from the crowd, but that’s often easier said than done. The market is saturated with brands all trying to do the same exact thing. So, what makes a consumer reach for one brand over the other? One key factor is a product’s packaging.

But good copy and fun colors might not be enough to catch a shopper’s eye. You need to add details that will really make someone stop and look, details like foil.

What Is Foil Stamping?

Box with clear plastic sleeve depicting gold foil stampingHave you ever picked up a box and noticed how the words had a metallic finish? It grabbed your attention, didn’t it? That’s foil stamping! Foil stamping is a process through which metallic or pigment foils are applied to your product packaging. You can use foil to emphasize artistic details for just a splash of dimension or you can go all out to really give your packaging that elevated, luxurious feel.

But how exactly is this process done? Well, that depends on the type of foil stamping you’re looking for – Hot Foil Stamping or Cold Foil Stamping.

Hot foil stamp machine in the middle of stamping product

Hot foil stamping is considered the more traditional way to apply foil and first requires your artwork to be converted into a die. A die is a metal stamp which allows the foil to get transferred to your packaging. That die gets loaded into the machine and, combined with some heat and pressure, helps the foil bond with your packaging to leave behind that nice, metallic finish. It’s the preferred method if you’re stamping a smaller area and can be used on both uncoated and coated materials.

The alternative process is called cold foil stamping. Unlike hot foil which uses heat and a die, cold foil involves foil being applied to an adhesive image using a standard printing plate. That foil can then be over-printed with process inks to create a wide variety of metallic colors. It’s the perfect option for adding foil to larger areas, but can only be used on smooth, coated materials.

What Does It Add?

Small pink box depicting gold foil stamping on the sideNow, you might be saying to yourself “Sure, it’s nice to know how it works, but what does it actually do for me?” The answer is simple – it adds value. Imagine you have two boxes sitting in front of you. They are the same exact box in every way, expect one. One box has standard graphics, while the other has those same graphics with added foil embellishments. Which box does your eye gravitate towards? Which box grabs your attention? If you answered the one with foil, you’d be right.

But maybe you need some more facts to convince you of the value of foil. In a study done by the Foil & Specialty Effects Association, it was found that a package with foil stamping captured attention faster AND kept it longer than just run-of-the-mill packaging. In fact, the gold foil on disposable single-serve coffee packaging captured consumer attention 2.5 times faster than other packaging. Before a consumer’s eye even has a chance to wander to other options, they’ve already narrowed in on your product.

It’s Not All Custom

We’ve talked a lot about custom packaging, but foil stamping doesn’t have to be exclusive to custom. Even those buying stock packaging can take advantage! Did you know that most of our stock confection packaging offers the option to personalize it with Hot Foil Stamping? You can choose to add your logo or add up to two lines of personalized text. Whether you’re just starting out or have your own store, imagine the difference it would make to put your confections in a box with your logo beautifully stamped for everyone to see.


You spend a lot of time and money creating the perfect packaging for your product. Don’t let it get overlooked on the shelves. Capture attention and build up your loyal following by adding the embellishments you need to be seen.

Close-up of Rec Rays logo foil stamping on front of box




Megan Arnold
Megan Arnold