Topeka, Kansas — The Foil & Specialty Effects Association (FSEA) and online graphics hub PaperSpecs have released the Foil Cheat Sheet, a metallic foil decorating reference for graphic designers.

The Foil Cheat Sheet contains a section detailing and illustrating each of the following techniques and materials: Hot Foil Stamping, Cold Foil Transfer, Toner Digital Foil, Varnish Digital Foil and Foil Substrates. FSEA and PaperSpecs worked closely together to outline the advantages and disadvantages of each type of metallic foil process, providing valuable information to print and packaging designers who may be unfamiliar with the variety of available foil decorating options.

For each process, the guide lists potential providers, available colors, run lengths, paper options (coated or uncoated), advantages and disadvantages. At the back of the piece is a foldout chart comparing all techniques side by side.

“It’s hard to make use of a finishing option if you don’t know what’s possible,” said FSEA Executive Director Jeff Peterson. “Designers want to use foil on their projects, but don’t always know what technology is available – or feasible, based on the project. There are a lot of questions about digital foil technologies and where they fit in with traditional hot foil stamping and cold foil options. The Foil Cheat Sheet helps to answer those questions.”

“This project was inspired by the countless times I’ve mentioned digital foiling in presentations or conversations at design conferences, only to discover that no one had any idea what I was talking about,” said Sabine Lenz, principal at design firm PaperSpecs, who spearheaded the project, along with FSEA. “To me it was vital that creatives have an overview of their foiling options – especially the short-run ones provided by digital; something that they could turn to as a reference time and time again.”

A free pdf download is available at and the printed Foil Cheat Sheet will be distributed at FSEA Booth #11834 during Printing United and FSEA Booth #2451 at PRINT 19. More information on ordering a print/foil version of the Foil Cheat Sheet is available at

The Foil & Specialty Effects Association (FSEA) provides a wide range of resources to help companies remain profitable today and into the future. From cost-saving programs and educational opportunities to green initiatives proving the sustainability of foil decorated paper/board, the FSEA strives to provide its members with ideas, resources and solutions to grow in today’s marketplace.