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Printing on Ribbon

Some ribbon printing methods are more suitable for some applications/products than others so we've created this table below to help explain what they are, how many colours can be printed, what technique is most suitable to what applications and the benefits to each technique.

If you have any questions at all please contact Customer Services.

Rotary Ink Printing

Photopolymer plates are used to transfer ink from reservoirs to the ribbon's surface.
  • Best for small, intricate designs.
  • For best results use a darker colour on a lighter colour ribbon.
Colours: 4
Rotary Ink
Click image for photo gallery.

Foil Printing / Blocking

Uses a metal plate to heat transfer the print design from a foil film to the ribbon.
  • Best for achieving very defined colours and also gives excellent results with metallics and prismatics.
  • For best results use ribbons with an even surface.
Colours: 3
Foil Print
Click image for photo gallery.

French Raised Print

A specialist ink is used in conjunction with a laser engraved print roller to produce this unique style of print.
  • Best for customers requiring the highest quality print with excellent image definition.
  • Suitable for small repeated designs in metallic or normal colours and designs with continuous images.
Colours: 1
French Raised PrintClick image for photo gallery.

Puff Screen Ink / Metallic Printing

Expandable ink is pressed through a mesh screen containing the required image on to the ribbon which is then expanded through a heat process to create the raised effect.
  • Best for achieving a 3D effect on the print design.
  • Suitable for use when your packaging solution is being assembled and finished in the Far East.
Colours: 5
Puff Screen Ink Printing
Click image for photo gallery.

Thermal Transfer / Sublimation Print

A design is pre-printed on to a special type of paper which then is printed on to ribbon using a special printing machine.
  • Best for complex designs.
  • It is possible to use half tones and tints.
Colours: Unlimited
Thermal / Transfer Print
Click image for photo gallery.

Flat Screen Ink / Metallic Printing

Ink is pressed through a mesh screen containing the required imaged on to the ribbon.
  • Best for colourful designs.
  • Good definition when printing light colour inks on to darker ribbon colours, for example white ink on to black ribbon.
  • Suitable for designs with longer repeats.
Colours: 7
Flat Screen Ink Print
Click image for photo gallery.


Metal plates are used to press a design in to the ribbon.
  • "Tone on Tone" effect using only the ribbon, i.e. no foil/ink etc.
  • High end premium effect.
  • Suitable for velvet ribbons.
Colours: n/a
Deboss Printed Ribbon
Click image for photo gallery.

Minimum Order Quanitities

The minium order quantity for a 1 colour foil or rotary print on a standard ribbon is 500 metres. This varies for other printing methods, please contact customer services for more information.


Any artwork supplied is subject to the guidelines below:

  • Artwork should be supplied as an editable illustrator file (.eps .ai), or editable .pdf. 
  • Information should be supplied on any custom font required.
  • Origination costs vary dependent on number of printing plates required for the design. 
  • Plates remain the property of the client, and are held by Cole Fabrics Plc unless otherwise agreed.