Understanding Coating and Printing

Pulled from https://sinalite.com/printersuccess/your-handy-guide-to-explaining-coatings-to-your-customers-with-diagrams/

Your Handy Guide to Explaining Coatings to Your Customers [with Diagrams]

What does matte finish mean? Is spot varnish the same as spot UV? Can you write on laminated paper?

These are common questions asked by customers buying print. Print sellers know the answers, but sometimes it can be a challenge to explain coatings to customers who know nothing about print. Showing samples is a great way to help them understand, but having all samples with you at all times may not be possible. Besides, your customers may want to get an idea of the bigger picture before they make their decision.

To help you explain popular types of coatings in the clearest manner possible, we’ve provided a helpful guide with diagrams. Use this to clarify terms with your clients and win more sales.

Types of Coating

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AQ (Aqueous) Coating

  • Water-based

  • More environmentally friendly than most other coatings

  • Offers a little protection against wear and tear

  • Has a little sheen

  • Dries relatively fast

  • Can sometimes be written on

  • Can be used to achieve matte or gloss effects

  • Not likely to yellow over time
     

Varnish

  • Clear ink

  • Offers a little protection against wear and tear

  • Has a little sheen

  • Takes longer to dry

  • Can sometimes be written on

  • Can be used to achieve matte, gloss, and spot varnish effects

  • More likely to yellow over time

A word of warning: Coating a product may increase the likelihood of cracking when it’s scored or folded.

UV (Ultraviolet) Coating

  • Chemical substance that cures under ultraviolet lighting

  • Offers stronger protection than AQ and varnish

  • Has a high sheen

  • Cures instantly but requires special equipment

  • Cannot be written on

  • Can be used to achieve matte, gloss, and spot UV effects

  • More likely to yellow over time
     

Other

  • Other blends that produce unique textures and effects

  • Combining other substances with one of the three popular coatings (e.g. adding glitter to UV)

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Lamination

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Gloss Lamination

  • Plastic film enclosing printed stock

  • Has a high sheen

  • Offers stronger protection than AQ, varnish and UV coatings

  • Increases the thickness of the product

  • Cannot be written on
     

Matte Lamination

  • Plastic film enclosing printed stock

  • Removes sheen

  • Offers strong protection but but more apt to marks than gloss lamination

  • Increases the thickness of the product

  • Can be written on by some writing tools

Other

  • Less common types include dry erase, holographic, eco-friendly film, and more

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matte lamination with die cut.

Terms with Nonstandard Usage

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The terms below are used differently by each printer to describe their products. For example, “matte finish” could refer to no coating for one printer and matte lamination for another.

Make sure your customers know what to expect if you use these terms to describe your products. Likewise, if you print with an outsource supplier, make sure you understand what they mean when they use these terms.

Tip: You don’t need to call your products the same name as your supplier calls theirs, but make sure you don’t accidentally confuse yourself when you order from them!

No Coating

Be careful. No coating mainly refers to products that don’t get coated after printing. Whether the stock you’re printing on is already coated or not is a different matter.

What About UV or Spot Coating?

It’s easy to confuse coating with coated paper stocks, but there is a difference. Coated paper stocks are manufactured with coated surfaces prior to printing, while UV or spot coated products have a special coating applied AFTER printing with special equipment.

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Coated Stock

  • Already coated before the printing process

  • E.g. C2S gloss stock was coated on both sides
     

Uncoated Stock

  • Not coated before the printing process

  • E.g. enviro stock has no coating on either side

Coated on 1 Side

  • Coated on one side before the printing process

  • E.g. C1S stock has coating on one side

Another word of warning: Some stocks can’t be written on even if they’re uncoated (e.g. plastic).

Combinations

Combining coatings and laminations can create special effects. For example, a business card with matte lamination and spot uv will allow certain parts of the artwork to stand out more than usual.

Tip: New coatings and changes to existing ones are continuously developing. Educate yourself so that you know what you can offer.

Card Stock

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