Paper etching technique in graphic design
Etching has been around since the Prehistoric Age. Techniques include carving stone, creating moulds for seals and filigree engraving of hunting rifles, which were all executed with mechanical tools. By the time the 20th century had arrived and with it, the discovery of the laser in the 1960s, it became possible to remove material from an object’s surface without any contact, using a concentrated beam of light.
The concept behind paper etching is thereby based on the desire to flexibly and aesthetically refine the surface of paper — without having to rely on embossing dies, printing plates, or ink. The refinement is created solely by “burning” the paper, and the resulting discolouration of the material. The refinement process was intended to work without an intermediate stage, like using an embossing die – directly from the computer to the material. The method thereby enables a flexible and permanent personalisation of a printed item.
With our Paperlux paper etching process, it is therefore possible to translate logos, images, and fonts into crisp, three-dimensional etchings on the finest papers, without damaging the reverse side of the paper. The special concentration of light only removes the top layer of the selected material in varying and exactly calculated depths, and in doing so successfully creates a filigree relief formation of previously unknown precision. The effect is a three-dimensional experience – in a visual and haptic senses alike. The process has been developed and patented by Paperlux. With our years of experience we can safely say that our know-how in this area positions us as leaders.
The method of paper etching is the ideal solution for a creative design: precise, flexible, and individual. It offers an extremely effective complement for letterpress, screen, digital, or offset printing techniques. With paper etching for example, the accentuation of important design elements in the logo is enabled, lending texture to the printed matter. A rough rule of thumb is: The larger the motif area, the longer the production time. Depending on the size of the motif, print runs can take anywhere from seconds to hours.
Paperlux paper etching is currently the “greenest” type of processing. During the development of this process, the use of solvents, colours, and production-intensive materials (magnesium, brass, etc.) was deliberately avoided. The only resources used are light and electrical power.
Ever since early 2009, Paperlux has cooperated exclusively with the paper mill Büttenpapierfabrik Gmund, established in 1829. We etch exclusively on papers made by GMUND or LAKEPAPER.