Thursday, 14 November 2013


A varnish is a colourless coating that is applied to a print to protect the substrate from wearing away. Varnish is also used to enhance the visual aesthetic of a design, or elements within it, such as type or an image. There are three main finishes a varnish can produce - gloss, dull and satin. Another one of these finishes which is not specifically a varnish is a UV coating which can also be applied to add a decorative touch.

A gloss varnish, reflects back light and is frequently used to enhance the appearance of photographs or other graphic elements in brochures, as it adds to the sharpness and saturation of images.

Matt (dull)
A matt vanish is typically used with text-heavy pages to diffuse light, reduce glare and to increase readability. It gives a non-glossy, smooth finish ti the printed page.

Satin (silk)
A satin varnish is a middle option between the gloss and matt varnishes. It provides some highlight, but is not as flat as a matt finish.

Machine sealing is the application of a basic, almost invisible, coating that seals the printing ink without affecting the appearance of the job. It is often used to accelerate the drying of fast turnaround print jobs such as leaflets on matt and satin paper, upon which inks dry more slowly.

UV Varnish
UV varnish is a clear liquid that is applied like ink and cured instantly with ultraviolet light. It can provide either a gloss or matt coating. Increasingly, UV varnish is used as a spot covering to highlight a particular image because it provides more shine than varnish.

Full-bleed UV 
The most common type of all over UV coating, largely because it produces a very high gloss effect.

Spot UV
The varnish is applied to highlight discrete areas of a printed design, both visually and by imaprting a different texture. The effect of spot UV can be maximised when it is applied over matt-laminated printing.

Textured spot UV
Textured can be created with spot UV varnish to provide an addicitonal tactile quality to a print piece. Examples of textured spot UV varnish effects include sandpaper, leather, crocodile skin and raised.

A varnish that subtly reflects myriad colours to give a luxurious effect.

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