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A range of coatings to give your printing a wow! factor

Want to really make your printing grab your audience’s attention? Including varnishing can:

Create a great first impression about you
Instantly raise the interest level of the recipient
Add to the drama and punch of your message
Increases the perceived value of your product
Make your printing more likely to be read and kept!

What is Varnishing?

A varnish is a liquid coating applied to a printed surface (for example the outside of a presentation folder) to add a clear glossy, matte, satin, or neutral finish.

Varnishing, also referred to as Coating or Sealing, can be carried out ‘online’ (the varnish is applied directly (within seconds) after the ink is put on the paper), or ‘offline’ by a separate machine, some time after printing.

There are various kinds of varnish that can be applied to printing, but all share some common characteristics:

  • A varnish increases colour absorption and speeds up the drying process.
  • By 'locking in' in the ink under a protective coat, the varnish helps to prevebt the ink rubbing off when the paper is subjected to handling.
  • Varnishes are used most frequently, and succesfully on coated papers.

These are the major types of varnishing available:
Gloss Varnishing  

A gloss varnish is often used to enhance the appearance of printed photographs in brochures or flyers, as the coating reflects back the light and makes colours appear richer and more vivid. A gloss coating can add impact to your print, especially in sales or promotional material, where optimum presentation of images is paramount.

Matte Varnishing  

A matte (or matt - the spellings are interchangeable) varnish gives the printed surface a non-glossy, smooth look. This type of seal is sometimes considered to ‘soften’ the appearance of a printed image. Small text in a leaflet or booklet is easier to read on a surface coated with matt vanish as the coating scatters the light, reducing glare.

Silk / Satin Varnishing  

Naturally enough, this coating represents the ‘middle ground’ between the two above, being neither as glossy as a true gloss, nor as subtle as a matt.

Machine Sealing  

A machine seal is a basic, and virtually invisible coating applied to a printed item by the printer. It does not affect the appearance of the job, but as it ‘seals’ the ink under a protective coat, the printer need not wait so long for the job to be dry enough to handle. It is often used when producing fast turnaround printing such as leaflets on matt and satin (silk) papers, as inks dry more slowly on these materials.

UV Varnishing  

Ultra Violet (UV) Varnishing is a process for achieving an even more striking type of coating on your printed material. Requiring the use of special Ultraviolet drying machinery, a UV coating is like a deluxe version of the non-UV varnishes, with the varnish appearing noticeably richer and more luxurious.
A UV varnish can be applied as either an all-over coating, or as a spot varnish:

All-over UV varnish  

Simply put, this is a UV seal applied all over the printed surface. A gloss UV varnish seal is the most common type of all-over UV varnish, (perhaps because this finish really does give a very high gloss effect, more so than with a laminate in many cases) although silk and matt are also available.

Spot UV Varnish  

As the name suggests, a Spot Varnish is applied to chosen spots (areas), of a printed piece. This has the affect of highlighting and drawing attention to that part of the design, but it also provides the additional visual stimulus of having varied textures on a single printed surface. This adds a lot of interest, and can identify the printing as a premium piece of literature in the perception of the reader.

One very effective technique is to apply a UV gloss spot varnish on top of matt laminated printing. This achieves maximum contrast between the highly reflective shiny UV coating and the light-absorbing matt laminate, and can, for instance, create a striking first impression on presentation folders or a brochure cover.

Textured Spot UV Varnish  

In four finishes: Sandpaper, Leather, Crocodile Skin and Raised

A textured spot UV varnish allows the creative designer not only to surprise the recipient of the printing with a mix of textures on the same printed surface, but also to reinforce the tactile properties of the product he or she is depicting. For example, a manufacturer of ornamental glassware could use a raised effect gloss UV varnish to give a highly reflective, 3-dimensional portrayal of a featured piece of glass work, or an interior design company could use a combination of leather, sandpaper or crocodile skin varnishes to highlight some of the different textures the company works with.