We mill our own Arzberger watermarked paper in white and ecru. It is a cotton composite, and decidedly thicker than standard social cards and envelopes in the marketplace. We also use Crane 100% cotton papers, as well as European mould-made papers such as Arturo and Crown Mill.
Arzberger is focused on being good stewards of our resources. We recycle all the waste papers in our production facility, as well as recycle the metal from our engraving plates. Our inks are water based. The mill that makes our paper is FSC certified. Our own paper uses a recycled cotton rag component and we regularly use 100% cotton rag papers.
The quality of our product Arzberger was founded on the beauty and intricacy of engraving. Over the years, as the company grew and our customers had additional needs, we began to offer the other processes of printing, thermography, foil stamping and die cutting.
The processes are described here.
Engraving is an art which has endured for centuries because of its singular appearance and lasting impression. An engraved piece requires a metal plate that has been etched with copy or other artwork. The plate is carefully positioned in the engraving press, and the fountain is filled with ink. Before each stamping, ink is spread over the die and quickly wiped off, leaving only the etched portion filled with ink. Each piece of paper is hand-fed into the press, where it is stamped with at least 4,000 pounds of pressure from above into the plate below. The resulting image is raised and highly detailed, with a visible impression (bruise) on the back of the paper. This is considered a mark of quality, and differentiates engraving from other processes. When multiple colors are used in the artwork, the same paper must make additional passes through the press requiring exact registration at each stamping.
Engraving ink, in comparison to printing ink, is dense and opaque, enabling crispness in even the tiniest details. These opaque inks work well on dark papers, giving exceptionally dramatic and distinctive results. When running your fingers across an engraved piece,
the raised ink will have a matte feel.
Embossing is engraving without ink. A metal plate is etched and positioned in the engraving press, each piece of paper is hand-fed and stamped with pressure, but no ink is applied. The resulting piece features raised artwork with crisp detail. Embossed plates can be multi-level creating a true 3-D effect, such as in family crests. Or they can be one level and have an even depth
throughout the artwork.
Offset / Flat Printing
Arzberger employs traditional offset presses for flat printing. Copy and artwork are transferred onto a disposable, polyester “plate”. This plate is then attached to a cylinder on the press. The fountain, filled with the appropriate ink, dispenses color to the “plate”. Machine-fed paper passes through the rolling cylinders, where inked copy and artwork offset onto the stock.
Thermography simulates the appearance of engraving (raised letters) without the use of metal engraving plates. A thermographed piece is initially flat printed as described above. While the ink is still wet, a fine powder is distributed over it. The piece then passes under a heating element, where the ink dries and hardens. This heating process creates a raised, shiny effect, and with no visible bruising on the paper. In larger printed areas, a characteristic dimpling,
or orange peel effect can be seen.
Printing/thermography inks are translucent, and are greatly affected by the color of the stock on which it is used. Therefore pale inks are not suited for thermography, and the best result is achieved when using a darker ink on lighter stock.
Foil stamping uses a heated metal plate pressed against a colored film, transferring the design of the plate onto paper. Unlike engraving or thermography when the ink sits on top of the paper, foil stamping creates a depression into the paper. Foil is most commonly used when high mirror shine is desired, such as in metallics. It is also available in shiny, matte, and pearlescent colors.
Die cutting is used to cut paper into special shapes, such as circles and custom edges that can not be created with straight edge cutters. Thin metal blades are bent into a custom shape and mounted to a sturdy base. The resulting die is then placed onto a press, and with force the blades are pressed onto the paper, cutting the shape, similar to a cookie cutter.