Hot Stamping in Packaging Design: Add a Little Elegance

Aleksandra Owczarek
Aleksandra Owczarek | 5 min read

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Hot stamping is a printing technique that uses hot dies to press a metallic print and foil onto the surface of a material.

That material can be glossy, holographic, matte and a wide variety of other textures and almost any colour.

Here at Packhelp, we create custom packaging that can be hot-stamped with your unique design.

get a quote banner with special box

But hot stamping is used all over in the printing industry.

Aside from custom packaging, hot stamping is commonly found in event invites, leather goods and business cards.

hot stamp business cards

In this article, you'll see:

  • What is hot foil stamping
  • Unique foil stamping
  • Hot stamping packaging examples

Note: Foil stamping and hot stamping are the same things - it's the process of stamping a foil into a surface in the desired shape. Quite often heat is used to activate the glue to ensure the foil securely binds to the surface it's being stamped into.

Why hot stamping is an effective printing method

Hot stamping is great at creating a luxury, elegant feeling for a few reasons.

Firstly, because the foils often look like expensive, shiny metals, thus creating the subconscious association that whatever is inside the box is also expensive and valuable.

Dark cardboard boxes with hot stamping

See how Lightspeed Summit used Packhelp's Rigid Boxes to showcase their industry awards

Secondly, foil stamping creates a second texture to the surface and invokes the physical feeling of touch.

Hot stamping and packaging

Packaging is a powerful element of marketing.

It's the first part of creating an unboxing experience and is essential to create a consistent feeling of branding.

Long story short, packaging is your first chance to make an impression, both in retail and e-commerce, so it better be a good one!

Hot stamping is a great way to do catch the eye of potential customers walking by.


Take a look at the example below and pay attention to the contrasting colours.

The rainbow colour of the foil truly pops against the black background. This is the kind of design that draws eyes to it.

Not just because of the colours, but also because of the metallic-like textures.

This is a perfect example of packaging design that's built around the physical textures, as well as visual design.

The overall result is retail packaging that gets noticed or e-commerce packaging that leaves a great first impression.

Louis Vuitton Hot Stamping

Louis Vuitton is known for their in-store hot stamping service.

In any of their retail stores, any Loius Vuitton product can have 3 characters stamped into your product in one of hundreds of colours of foil.

LV uses hot-stamping to add both personalisation and opulence to the image of their products

In the picture below, you can see a great example of the Louis Vuitton hot stamping process:

louis vuitton

Here, the gold foil has been stamped into the leather tag in the shape of the characters 'L' and 'V'.

While this is the hot stamping process done on a small scale, industrial size hot foil stamping is almost the exact same process. 

Industrial hot stamping processes

The hot stamping process is easily scalable and achievable on an industrial scale.

This is an approximate example of hot stamping cardboard boxes on an industrial scale:

  • The cardboard is brought between a flat plate and a die that has the desired hot stamping shape.
  • This die is heated to activate the glue in the foil that's between the cardboard and the die.
  • All pieces come together and pressure is exerted into the cardboard.
  • The shaped is pressed into the cardboard as the foil is pressed into the shape and the glue sticks.
  • The hot die is removed, and the hot-stamped cardboard moves down the production line, as new cardboard and foil is brought in for the next hot stamp.

Hot stamping is done on the cardboard sheet after the digital or offset printing process has been done.

Hot stamping & packaging design

Different colour and textures of foils create different feels on different colour backgrounds.

Take a look at the example from BWM below:

Sliding Boxes

Here you can see how BMW used Packhelp Plus to create an elegant box to gift keys to motoring journalists.

The black background makes the golden foil print really pop, and it matches perfectly with the tag on their cardboard drawer box.

The contrast between the elegance of black and the raw, wild font creates a feeling that BMW wanted to be associated with their new car.

See more about how BMW used foil print to create a truly unique form of packaging


Concrete Jungle also uses gold hot stamping, but on the inside of their full-colour mailing box and product box.

luxury branded packaging concrete jungle

Extending the print onto the inside of your mailer boxes is great for consistent branding.

The deep greens of Concrete Jungle's branding matches perfectly with the shiny gold foil stamping. This highlights the most important part of the boxes' contents: the product.

Learn more about Concrete Jungle and their unique product packaging

A great source of inspiration for delicate packaging design with hot stamping is the Project Charisma by Ken Lo.


The delicate gold is a delicate finish for the mellow pink design. In the pattern below, hot stamping was used for a finish, combined with embossing.

hot stamping packhelp project charisma

Hot stamping: Over to you

Hot stamping is a simple way to add an extra element to any printed medium.

On product packaging, it can take your brand's image from 'good' to 'best'.

If you'd like to design and order custom packaging with Hot Stamping, check out Packhelp's range of custom packaging and request a quote!


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