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What are the Different Types of Paper Coating Options

Using coating in your print project can be a very beneficial feature. Coating can protect ink from scuffing and it can make your document stand out and look more professional and eye-catching. Here are some tips on when to use coating and what type of coating to choose:

Varnish and other press coatings cost less than UV coating or laminates (bindery, or off-press coating). This is because bindery coatings are applied to your project after the ink has dried (an additional step in the printing process). Whereas press coatings are applied using the rollers of the press or some type of inline (on press) application process.

Bindery coating, such as UV coating or laminates, are much more effective than varnish in preventing scuffing. This is especially true for publications that are multiply shrink-wrapped. The bindery coatings are stronger and can hold up to the bumps and bruises of the shipping process.

All printers can provide press coating such as varnish, but not all can apply bindery coatings. Check with your printer before starting your job to make sure they can provide the desired coating.

Once an area is coated, it cannot be printed on, glued on or have a foil stamp applied. To avoid this problem, leave an area of the page uncoated.

Generally only coated stocks are varnished.

Certain types of coating can alter the ink on the page. They can deepen the color, experience discoloration with age, and change the color of white paper.
Here are descriptions of the different coating options:

Varnish - Think of varnish as colorless ink. Applying varnish will requires a dedicated printing unit on the press. Varnish can be applied at the same time as the other inks or after the original inks have been applied and dried. There are different forms of varnish including - gloss, dull, and satin.

UV Coating - A clear liquid is applied to the paper and then exposed to ultraviolet light in order to create UV coating. This coating method can be either glossy or dull coating and can be used on certain parts of the page or it can cover the entire page. It provides superior protection, but can be difficult to recycle.

Aqueous Coating - As the name suggests, aqueous coating is water based. For this reason it is more environmentally sound than UV coating and is more protective than varnish. However, this method is much more expensive than varnish.

Laminates - There are two types of laminates - film and liquid. Both types can have either a gloss or matte finish. When using film laminate, a clear plastic film is placed over the paper. To create liquid laminate, a clear liquid is spread over the paper to dry. Laminate is great for menus or book covers as it can protect against water and perspiration.

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