Using coatings to stand out

Stand Out

What separates basic collateral pieces from those that capture your attention? More often than not, it’s a creative combination of design, paper and coating that makes the difference. A coating continues to be one of the best ways of protecting your printed pieces. But it can also add value to the designs of your brochures, direct mailers and newsletters.

At a basic level, a coating is used to protect multi-colored print pieces from fingerprints and smudging. It also helps printed pieces dry faster when they come off of the printer. There are three primary types of coatings:

  1. Varnish, which is applied on press like an ink. It can be applied to the entire printed piece, or can be applied on a spot basis to add visual emphasis to certain areas.
  2. Aqueous coatings are fast-drying, water-based coatings that are applied to a printed piece, just like varnish; however they can only be applied to the entire printed sheet, not on a spot basis.
  3. UV coatings are applied to the entire printed piece or to a spot area, just like a layer of clear ink, and then cured instantly with an ultraviolet light. Of the three types of coatings, UV provides the greatest luster and scratch resistance.

From a design standpoint, a coating – or lack of it – can make certain objects stand out, and others appear to recede into the background:

  • Gloss coated images appear to be sharper and closer to the reader
  • Dull coatings give images a velvety texture and makes them look softer
  • No coatings, especially on matte paper, will give a flat appearance.

Combine that with a variety of gloss, silk and matte papers, and you have a world of creative possibilities:

  • Spot coatings can make specific page elements appear to “pop” off the page
  • Dull coatings can give your collateral a silky, classy feel.
  • Glossy paper with a dull finish can make the colors of your collateral piece pop, but eliminate glare
  • Selective use of spot gloss and a dull finish can be used to give the illusion of depth and draw the reader’s attention to specific page elements
  • Other creative effects can be used by combining dull and glossy finishes on adjacent colors
  • Tinted coatings can be used to give shadows in photos a lighter touch
  • Dull coatings can be used to soften photographic images, giving them an old-fashioned look

The next time you’re designing a print project, think about the ways you can take it to the next level by creatively combining the best options for paper and coatings to your design… you’ll be glad you did!

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