Die-cutting is used to partially or completely separate shapes. Most of the time, it’s done after printing and before imposition.

Technical background

Clearly defined parts are being punched by a cutting die from paper and cardboard. The paper grain gets neatly separated by a sharp cutting die which is pressed down. After that the parts need to be broken apart. It’s possible to die-cut single sheets or a whole book or brochure. The cutting die is usually made of a moulded partially ground steel stripe or a photomechanically made, etched form.


With creative design one can obtain unusual effects by die-cutting, e.g. a glimpse through a window on a following page, a logo gets a coloured background, more information behind a door(three-sided punch with fold), a vacant formed bookmark can be made, fabricate three dimensional objects for Pop-Up-books or a book block can be provided with a register.

Application possibilities

Application possibilities are huge. By die-cutting you can make single cuts for e.g. plug-in cards, contoured vision panels, font, logos or difficult three dimensional constructions for Pop-Up-books. The register punching takes place at the whole front trim of a book or brochure block. It improves the handling of dictionaries, pocket calendars, etc. It’s possible to inline punch, but mostly it’s done offline. You can punch paper, cardboard, nonbender and corrugated cardboard.


If you punch big areas there is a big impact on stability. Avoid distant corners and edges which could be easily torn. If you punch fonts pay attention to stabilize the inner spaces of each individual letter through margins. Coated paper should be checked if it breaks or splits at the cutting edges.


The preparation period for die-cutting takes quite some time. You also have to think about extra time for building a test object. Expenses are incurred by inline and offline process, as well as the production of a cutting die. If only a small edition is planned, it’s not recommended to die-cut, because it’s too expensive to make the cutting die.

Sources and additional literature

[1] Hille,

Frauke Helene: Veredlungsmöglichkeiten und Spezialeffekte für Bücher und

Broschuren; Diplomarbeit, Hochschule für Technik, Wirtschaft und Kultur Leipzig

(FH), Fachbereich Medien, Studiengang Verlagsherstellung, 2008

[2] Beckmann,

Till; Morlok, Franziska: Extra: Enzyklopädie der experimentellen

Druckveredelung; Birkhäuser Verlag, 2009

[3] Fishel,

Catherine: Die kreative Druckproduktion.

Außergewöhnliche Materialien, Bindetechniken und Veredelungen. Stiebner

Verlag GmbH, 2008. Seite 103ff.

[4] Webseite KAMA