Carapace, the story of the development of an embossing

11 Feb

Posted in Graphic Specialities

Paper can evoke and convey emotions by imprinting particular designs on its surface: embossing. The ability of paper substrates to be transformed into a different material from a perception level and to take on new textures that are able to convey an emotion both visually and to the touch, is what makes an embossed paper amongst the preferred materials to use for luxury packaging and printing.

The embossed surface embellishes and adds new meaning to materials not only in the paper sector, but also when used as clothing accessories.

Military buttons are an example of how a material can be modified in a three-dimensional way in its surface with graphic elements and contrasting elements: Thanks to texture, design, shiny and opaque surfaces, a new communication code is generated.

Similarly, this happens with embossed papers which are modified both in the substrate and to the surface taking on new connotations to transmit new sensations.

What is embossing? Read the news Technique and multi-sensory effects with Embossed paper where we told the origin of the embossing and reviewed Favini’s embossed papers.

There are many types of embossing in Favini’s Embossed offer: from Classic linen and striped, to leather and hammer effect, as well as textures inspired by nature and geometric designs. We added these finishes to some of our brands, while some embossings have been developed and created specifically for a range. One such case is Carapace, the embossing for the ecological paper range Remake.

Continue reading the article to find out about the design and development of the Carapace emboss.

The origin and development of Carapace emboss: material beyond design

Remake, the Favini paper from creative reuse of leather, additional to its smooth version, has available an embossed Carapace version.

How is a design developed that is to be imprinted on the surface of a paper?


Carapace emboss adds a luxurious feel to the ecological paper Remake.

We interviewed Emanuele Ricci, the designer who created the Carapace texture.

To design a new embossed surface for Remake, the designer started by analysing the paper, coming to the conclusion that a “traditional” texture would have limited the perception of Remake’s intrinsic beauty: its materiality.

Emanuele tells us “To emphasize the material peculiarities of Remake I had to go beyond the classic concept of texture. I wanted the eye, without distraction, to reach the matter […] by studying a non-design! “

A concept, that of non-design, very difficult to implement. Emanuele let himself be inspired by a particular image of the past: the old television when contacts missed, the screen with many moving grey dots accompanied by a white noise – a set of many sounds without modulation.

Some texture prototypes made by Emanuele Ricci during the creative process of Remake’s Carapace embossing.

After making the first texture prototypes for Carapace, the engineering phase began.

A phase full of challenges occurred when the designer realized that the design he had made by hand, point by point, on a surface of small dimension, became very complicated when it was transferred to an industrial level 2-metre embossing cylinder. Months of study, research and many tests followed to be able to obtain the same aesthetic quality of the handmade prototype with an embossing cylinder.

So Carapace was born, the non-design applied to the surface of the Remake paper.


The non-design of Remake’s Carapace embossing: the features

The designer Ricci explained to us that “technically the Carapace embossing is made up of a sequence of micro-shadow areas of different shades, aggregated with different intensities. Its aesthetic is given by a modulation of light, with no relation to a graphic or representative design.”

Detail of the non-design of the Carapace texture of the Remake ecological paper by Favini.

The lack of homogeneity in the texture of Carapace, which does not have a linear texture or any design pattern that the eye can recognize, is the strength of this embossing: The texture recedes from the scanning of the eye, making the print or objects “float” on it. This feature makes the Remake Carapace paper a versatile communication and display tool.


Carapace: a strategic embossing explained by its creator

The designer Emanuele Ricci explains that, thanks to its distinctive texture, Carapace is an embossing that acts as a “right-hand man” to the subject that is imprinted or placed on top of the paper. Between the two elements – embossing and subject – a resonance is created that amplifies the message, a powerful communicative synergy towards the outside.

Like the double-act of Totò and Peppino – a couple of famous Italian comedians – it would be an understatement to consider the latter as marginal or minor, the straight man is a well-defined role, which requires the ability to attract the observer’s attention and convey it to the other subject.

Carapace has been designed as a strategic element of an advanced communication system, capable of operating in different areas: from graphics, to packaging as well as the exhibition area.

Remake Carapace was used in the “Fashioned from Nature” exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London to create the descriptive labels of the exhibits and as a covering pasted on the mannequins in the exhibition. For further information read the article Soil, Roots & Plants: The Exhibition Design of Fashioned from Nature.

The Carabus, the insects that Emanuele Ricci collects, displayed on Remake Carapace.

In addition to the museum and exhibition area, Remake Carapace can be appreciated to create the covers of catalogues and editorial projects, such as “Island Passports” of Sirene Journal or the Albino Pozzi catalogue.

The cover of the “Passports of the Islands” by Sirene Journal, using Remake Carapace Sky.

The cover of the Albino Pozzi catalogue uses Remake Carapace Oyster.


We thank Emanuele Ricci for the insight and useful explanations regarding the embossing of materials.

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