Finishing Touches: Coating and Inks

Print coatings are used on printed products mainly for protection or to achieve certain visual effects. Coatings can provide protection from moisture, scuffing, scratching and finger prints. They can also be applied to one or both sides of a printed piece to create a glossy or dull finish or can be applied selectively to highlight a certain visual element. The right coating can help protect the printed piece or add a creative dimension. The results will usually look best on coated paper because the hard, nonporous surface of coated paper holds the coating on the top of the paper rather than have it disappear by being absorbed into the paper. Even when trying to achieve an overall matte effect, a gloss coated sheet is usually the best paper choice and the gloss finish on the paper will provide superior printability. In general, uncoated papers do not benefit very much in appearance from coatings or varnishes, although either will help prevent rubbing in areas of heavy ink coverage. Listed below are the different types of coatings we offer:

Aqueous Coating

An Aqueous coating is a fast-drying, water-based, protective coating that is applied in-line on press to achieve a variety of finishes at a more economical price.

It is a great way to protect your image. Aqueous coatings provide excellent rub and scuff resistance. They give protection that far exceeds standard varnishes. Your product will be resistant to smudges, fingerprints and scratches during shipment through to end use. They are available in gloss and matte finishes.

Aqueous coatings are applied to your printed sheet immediately following the inks. Directly after the coating is applied, the sheets are sent through a heated air system that quickly dries the coating. The printed sheets can move on to the finishing department within minutes, as opposed to conventional varnishes which may need hours or even days to dry.

UV Inks and Coatings

UV inks and coatings are desirable because they essentially do not contain solvent that must evaporate during the curing phase. The cure takes place under a strong UV (ultra violet) light source in a dryer (or reactor). Since UV contains little or no solvent, there is a lot of interest in using it because of the lack of VOCs (volatile organic compounds). VOCs can be potentially hazardous to breathe and dispose, thus the reduction is appealing to the environment.

Setting up a Spot UV job:

When creating a Spot UV job, you must include a Spot UV template file along with the CMYK color printing file. The Spot UV template file is used to show where the UV will be placed. Use black to indicate where you would like the UV and white where you do not want UV.

Difference between 4-color processes vs. PMS spot colors:

Process color printing uses the color model that describes each color in terms of the quantity of each secondary color (cyan, magenta, yellow), and key (black) to produce virtually any color. PMS color matching uses a Pantone color guide to pick an exact color specified. We have press capabilities that can print up to 8 colors, which gives you the opportunity to use 4 color process with additional spot colors and/or finishes to get a truly desirable finish.

When to use a print coating

In most instances a coating will help protect and enhance your final printed product. They are a must for any piece being mailed, or recommended for any product printed on coated paper that will get handled, such as business cards, brochures, bookmarks, rack cards, catalogs or presentation folders. We will be more than happy to assist you in making the right decision for you project.

When not to use a print coating

There are certain times when you do want your paper to be uncoated. It may be difficult to write on coated paper, especially if it has a glossy coating. If you are ordering greeting or note cards and intend to write inscriptions on the inside make sure to specify no coating on the inside of the card. The same goes for the address side of postcards or other mailing panels unless your printer or mailing house assures you they can print addresses on coated paper. If in doubt ask for some samples and run them through your printer or try writing on them.