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Giving Your Printed Materials That POP By Adding That Finishing Touch

Finding the Right Finish and Coating for Your Product

A “finish” refers to the surface quality of paper. Selecting the right finishes for you projects can improve durability, add impact, contribute to your brand image, and add the high-quality professional appearance that is desired by your customers. Our AlphaGraphics team will assist you as you determine which finish or coating is right for your product.

There are two basic finishes and two basic coatings to discuss: Matte and semi-gloss (or satin) for finishes and high gloss (UV) and Aqueous Coatings.

Finishes

Matte - FinishesMatte

What is a Matte Finish?

A matte finish is a light coating with a smooth presentation and a soft appearance. The light coating enables a boost in the contrast of photos and results in very little glare. Matte paper has a more muted, lusterless feel. It’s used to produce high-quality prints but without the vibrant color finish.

What Are the Benefits?

Matte finishes are great for resolving light reflection and glare concerns. Glossy finishes tend to have more glare issues, making matte finishes a good way to enhance visual designs with a more subdued layout and color without having the pestering glare or light reflection.

Another benefit of a matte finish is that it can provide a softer feel to your product in comparison to the sometimes undesirable “wet” look that other finishes give.

When Should I Use Matte?

It is best to use a matte finish for products displayed in certain lighting conditions. For example, if you had a fine art print that would be hanging on display in a gallery, a matte finish would be best to avoid the glare from track lighting fixtures.

Semi-gloss

What is a Semi-gloss Finish?

A semi-gloss finish is just as the name implies: It’s simply less glossy. Otherwise known as a satin finish, a semi-gloss surface is less shiny so it reflects less light while still providing vibrant rich colors similar to the gloss finish.

What Are the Benefits?

The benefit of the semi-gloss finish is that it offers a solid compromise between glare, color range and vibrancy, durability. In essence, you can still produce products that are full of vibrant colors like the gloss finish but avoid some of the setbacks such as the heavy glare or finger smudges.

When Should I Use Semi-gloss?

A semi-gloss finish can be used in almost any case as the gloss finish. It can be used on business cards, photo prints and enlargements, and is best to use a semi-gloss finish when displaying images behind glass.

Coatings

UV Coating - FinishesHigh-gloss (UV Coating)

What is a UV Coating?

A UV coating is a shiny coating that reflects light. It produces a sharp, vibrant image and is smooth to touch.

What Are the Benefits?

The main benefits of a glossy finish is that it provides a higher contrast and color gamut, providing the eye-catching “shine.” The glossy finish is ideal for full color images that need sharp resolution.

A gloss finish is great for photos that will be handled in their original state and they are sufficiently durable to the point that you can easily wipe off smudges or fingerprints without harming the image or product.

When Should I Use Gloss?

Gloss finishes are the most commonly used, but you should still be selective in using them. Glossy images typically need to be framed, such as in the case of printing a glossy photo.

Some of the most common and recommended uses we offer at AlphaGraphics include, but are not limited to, newsletters, flyers, restaurant menus, labels, stickers, decals, calendars, and brochures.

Ultimately, it just depends on your personal preference and the intended purpose of the finished product.

Aqueous Coating

What is an Aqueous Coating?

An aqueous coating is a low cost, water-based coating that produces a shiny or matte durable surface.

What Are the Benefits?

An aqueous coating is very resistant to abrasion, fingerprint blemishes and is extremely resilient against fading. The coating can be written on with pencil or overprinted, making it great for variable data printing.

When Should I Use Aqueous Coating?

Prints with a lot of white space and bright colors benefit the most from aqueous coating, because of the fade resistant properties. Mailers are a great aqueous coating candidate, because of its overprinting capabilities. Aqueous coating is also a great option when printing with metallic inks, since it can protect the type from abrasions.

While certain finishes may depend on personal taste, our AlphaGraphics professionals will ensure that your final product has the finish that fits your style while providing the professional appearance that your customers desire! Contact us and talk to one of our experts. We would be happy to help you choose the finish that would work best for you product. If you are ready to get started, simply click here to request a quote.

Adam Bostrom

Posted by Adam Bostrom

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