Embossing VS Engraving: Which Is Better?

Embossing VS Engraving: Which Is Better

To create a unique gift, make promotional materials, create a bespoke reminder of a special person or event, or when you want to take up a new hobby both embossing and hand or laser engraving are excellent options. 

But which is better? 

This article will explain how each of these techniques can be used to create bespoke gifts and other personalised items, add decorations, text and/or other details to new things or upcycle older items giving them a new lease of life. 


Embossing is the creation of 3D designs, patterns or lettering on materials such as paper, card, leather or other suitable fabrics and sheet metal. 

The embossing process begins with a design from which a die is made. This die is what will push or impress the design on your chosen material. 

It is especially good for creating large numbers of the same item such as promotional company laptop bags and diaries, or greetings cards and wedding invites as the same die can be used over and over again.


Engraving is when a pattern, design or some lettering is scratched or lasered onto a material. The engraving iis different depending on whether you are laser engraving or engraving by hand. 

For laser engraving the design is input into a computer programme attached to the laser which then creates by vapourisation a perfect, however detailed, copy of your design onto your material. 

Hand engraving involves a lot of skill and a steady hand as well as sharp tools. The design is scratched into the material to remove it which creates the pattern or lettering. 

Main Differences Between Engraving and Embossing


Both engraving and embossing can create quality items and quality designs or text on your items. However, depending on the material and whether you are looking for something that will be longlasting are key considerations as to whether engraving or embossing is better for your project. 

Engraving will last longer due to the fact that your design is scratched or lasered into your item. 

Embossing on some materials such as fabric can fade or be more easily damaged due to the nature of the technique. A raised pattern will be affected by damage to the item and so is not always the best option for something intended to be kept for a long time unless your material is metal in which case it will be very durable and long lasting. 

Also, the quality of the engraving or embossing will depend upon the material you are using. Some materials are better suited to one more than the other.  

For softer materials such as paper or card invitations or leather embossing is the better choice. Whereas for harder materials a celebratory set of wine glasses or a trophy or medal engraving is the only option. 


To create the individual patterns, details and/or lettering on items embossing and engraving use very different techniques both can be done at home or by professionals such as us Furnells.  

Engraving is the removal of some of the material by scratching or burning with a laser to create your design. Whereas embossing is the pushing out of a design with a die to create a raised or sunken 3D design in a material.

Which Is Better: Embossing or Engraving?

This actually depends entirely on what you want to achieve, the material you are using and how detailed your design is. 

First of all the material is the most important consideration. For metal, either can work. For paper embossing is the only realistic option and for glass you would need to engrave. 

Then how complicated your design is for very complicated and delicate patterns or lettering then laser engraving will be a better option. If you would like to discuss your needs with us at Furnells to help you to decide which is going to be the better option for your unique embossing or engraving requirements or project then get in touch with us and we’ll be happy to help.

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