Every printed piece is unique, calling for different specifications and finishes.

And coatings can literally “seal the deal” on your project.

These details are what can make a piece stand out or fall flat depending on the creative choices of the designer and printer.  The final coatings can make a world of difference to the end recipient, plus provide a protective layer to maintain the piece over time.

Apart from highlighting a photo with gloss, oftentimes little thought is given to the use of protective coatings or laminates, typically due to lack of knowledge on the various available options. When it comes to coating, the primary choices are typically liquid coating like varnishes, aqueous coatings, and UV coatings.

Flood of soft touch varnish with gloss UV

Varnish Coating

Think of a varnish like a low-cost clear ink that comes in gloss, satin, or matte/dull that can be applied to certain areas or the whole page (also known as a flood varnish). Spot varnish allows you to highlight specific elements of a printed piece, like photos, logos or other details that you want to “pop.” Varnishes do tend to yellow over time, but some printers will apply a small amount of opaque optical whitener to offset the issue.

Aqueous Coating

Aqueous coating is a commonly used, fast-drying, water-based, protective coating that helps to cut back on fingerprints and dirt. For any printed piece that involves handling, like magazines or business cards, aqueous coating is a must-have. Other benefits of aqueous coating include less yellowing over time and they are safer for the environment than varnishes. Heavier paper stocks are recommended for this coating method to avoid curling of paper.

Strikethru varnish with gloss UV

UV Coating

UV coating is offered in high gloss, matte or satin, offering more protection than other coatings. UV coatings can be applied in-line or off-line by printers, converters or finishers. UV coatings are applied to a full page or specific spots with a roller, screen or blanket, then exposed to ultraviolet light to set and harden the coating. The coatings can either be applied across the entire page or, while lacking the precision of a varnish, on a spot basis. You can even opt for glitter or scented finishes with this technique. Coated paper is typically selected with UV coating to avoid the finish sinking into the sheet.

With a myriad of coating choices to consider, it can be overwhelming to know what will really make your piece stand out from the rest. If you’re looking for help or recommendations on what type of coating will work best for your project, contact the pros at Kingston Printing!