Colors change dramatically by adding custom coating to your printing projects. Whether you choose a varnish, aqueous coating (AQ is the common term) or UV coating, the effect will enhance the appearance of your finished piece. Coatings protect against fingerprints, scuff marks and ink offset. Commonly used for packaging, covers on catalogues and magazines, and 1-sheet posters or flyers, each coating produces a different look. All coatings are available in gloss, dull or satin finish.
The most-used method for coating is varnish, which can cover the entire surface of a printed sheet, or selected for spot locations.
Coat the entire press sheet using gloss varnish to produce a shiny result. Choose spot gloss varnish to isolate a photograph or select a headline or chart for impact. Gloss varnish will produce more vivid color. The image pops off the page.
Conversely, if text is more significant, choosing a dull varnish reduces glare to make the piece easier to read. Dull varnish softens the affect of your color. You might spec a dull spot varnish for large blocks of type, or to create a subtle background.
Designers often combine spot gloss and dull vanishes to produce a 2-dimensional appearance. The press sheet can be run-in line, or for higher intensity, run the press sheet through separately as a “dry pass.”
Choose satin varnish for a silky, smooth finish with reduced glare. Satin varnish creates a textural finish.
Aqueous coating is a water-based finish, which means it is environmentally safer. Another benefit to adding AQ to your printing job is that the AQ process eliminates drying time. That allows the press sheets to go into bindery quicker, which can enhance meeting deadlines.
UV coating is usually a buy-out process because the coating is produced on special equipment. While UV adds more to the cost of a print job, the result is more protection and deeper intensity than with either varnish or AQ.
Even more creative finishes are available if you have the time and budget. Tinted varnishes and lamination are other examples that you can discuss with your printer. Coatings are a great way to enhance your work, but always be mindful of color changes that can occur.