Embossing and Debossing are two techniques used to either impress or depress an image into leather. Both of these terms stem from the printing industry. It is a plated print process which either leaves a raised portion on the surface, or creates an indent. Embossing Leather follows the same processes.
Debossing is when an image (logo, text, etc.) is imprinted into your leather piece, creating a depressed effect. Often a foil is used to further accentuate the debossed image; gold and silver coloured foils are the most readily available. All foils have a heat activated glue on the back helping the foil to adhere to the leather.
Normally a debossing plate is created by a platemaker, this is then mounted in a special machine as the 'top plate' and the 'base' plate is setup to help position the item perfectly for the deboss to occur.
Embossing Leather is often a deboss process, but is referred to as 'embossing'
An emboss is creating a raised image on the leather from artwork. This is a 'male/female' process normally with two moulding dies. An upper and lower die are used to press the leather in between, once released from the mould a raised image is left.