Choosing The Right Print Coating For Your Printing

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When it comes to all the details of your print job, it can be easy to overlook coating and finishing options. Do you want your project to have a glossy appearance or more of a refined sheen? Although coating and finishing may sound the same, they are two different processes and can have different effects on the appearance of your project. Knowing your coating and finishing options can help bring out the best in your print job and help your printer fully bring your project vision to fruition. 


Varnishes are applied on press like any other ink and can be tinted to create a special effect. Although gloss and matte varnishes are typically used as spot or overall coatings, they can also be incorporated in the process or spot color inks in order to provide a unique look to the presswork. They can be wet trapped (i.e. printed at the same time as the other inks) or dry trapped (i.e. printed as a second pass through the press after the other inks have dried). Dry trapping provides a superior result but is a more expensive process. Varnishes may yellow with age, however, this is usually not noticeable when the varnish is used over process colors, but it is noticeable when the varnish is applied over unprinted paper. They also require the use of offset spray powder on press to keep the printed sheets from sticking together before the varnish is completely cured. The powder left behind can adversely affect the look and feel of the finished piece.

UV Coating

UV coatings are liquid-based coatings that come in a range of finishes, from matte to gloss and satin. Typically applied by rollers, blankets, or screens, UV coatings are then exposed to ultraviolet light to harden them. Like varnish coatings, UV coatings are applied either to full sheets of printed materials, or to certain spots for protection and highlighting.

UV coatings are both chemical and abrasion resistant and solvent free. However, the inks used on printed materials intended for UV coatings must be UV inks, wax-free, and equally resistant to heat and chemicals. Your commercial printing company partner will know the best way to prepare, print, and coat your document with UV coatings – just make sure you choose the right one!

heat transfer printing

Laminate Coating

Laminate coating is available in film and water-based forms in a variety of textures and colours. The films are classified according to thickness. Printers use the thinnest ones for those printed items that are to be rolled or folded. To make the printed material waterproof, laminate is applied to one or both sides of the paper. Film laminates are chosen over liquid coatings to provide more protection to your marketing materials. As film laminate coating is available in a variety of finishes, including matte, satin, and gloss, you can choose the one best suited to your needs.

Polypropylene is the cheapest and the most popular laminate coating used for printing. As it gives a softer finish, it works well for printed materials that will be folded. Although polypropylene is prone to scratching, it is a great choice if you want to save money. Polyester costs more than polypropylene and provides a strong coating to your printed materials. Nylon is the most expensive laminate coating because it lasts for a long time.

Aqueous Coating

If you couldn’t tell by the name, aqueous coating is a water based variety that is most common in today’s industry. When using aqueous coating it is usually applied for all-over coverage. This type of print coating has protective sealants preventing smudges and fingerprints from showing on your piece. Aqueous coating is shinier and smoother than varnish and is more resistant to abrasions. Aqueous coating dries faster than varnish coatings, giving you a quicker turn-around at the printer.

Are you looking for a printing company?

If you feel confused when selecting the paper coating for your printing job, consult a printing company in your area. Tell them about the kind of printing you want and the amount of protection you want within your budget. These printing experts can suggest the most appropriate paper coating option for your needs.

Shenzhen Harmony Print Pack Co., Ltd. focuses on the continuous exploitation of printing and packaging industries. Our production line ranges from heat transfer products, color printing products, paper packaging products, plastic packaging products and so on. If you have more questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.


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