Coating and Lamination

Protecting the printed sheet
(in order of least protection to most protection):

  • Ink without coating (no protection)
  • Varnish
  • Aqueous coating
  • UV coating
  • Lamination
Varnishes: There are three basic categories of varnishes: dull, gloss, and tinted. Varnishes can be tinted with color to create a duotone effect or to simulate colored paper stock. Varnishes have a slight yellow cast and tend to yellow further with age. Varnishes can be applied as spot or overall.

Aqueous Coating: A water-based sealant applied by an inking unit of the press or a special coating tower. Available in matte, dull, satin, and gloss and provides better rub protection than varnish.
Cautions: Certain inks, such as Reflex Blue, Violet, Purple, Rhodamine Red and Victoria Blue (PMS 072) are susceptible to discoloration when an aqueous coating is applied. Since aqueous coating is water-based, stocks lighter than 100# book may have a tendency to curl on the edges as the paper absorbs water. A special aqueous coating is required if lamination is to be applied, if the printed piece will be written on or imprinted with either an inkjet or laser printer. Please advise us if the piece will later be litho imprinted as coating may be a problem for the imprinter.

Ultraviolet (UV) Coating: The most expensive of the coatings, it provides the best rub protection. Available in matte, dull, satin and gloss, although gloss is by far the most commonly specified. UV coating can be applied to smooth, uncoated papers but clay-coated or enamel papers work best as uncoated paper tends to yellow and absorb the coating. 80# text and heavier weights of paper can be UV coated; cover weights are preferred. Like varnish, UV coatings can be spot or overall coverage.
Cautions: Certain inks such as Reflex Blue, Violet, Purple, Rhodamine Red
and Victoria Blue (PMS 072) are susceptible to discoloration when UV coating is applied. UV coating shouldn't be applied to glue areas.

Lamination: Applied to one or both sides of a sheet or encapsulated (applied to both sides and sealed on four edges). Available in matte, gloss and luster (luster is more polished than matte, less shiny than gloss). Polypropylene (OPP) provides the highest gloss but is less durable. Polyester (PET) is the most popular, but more expensive than OPP. There are many choices and production considerations with lamination films, so this process should be evaluated early in the production cycle.