Printed pieces, such as labels, are vulnerable to external elements such as smudges, fingerprints, scratches and dirt. Coating them with a protective outer material is a great way to keep them clean and neat. In addition, a good coat also gives it scuff-resistance and improves the visual appeal of the piece by adding a smoother and glossier finish.
When coating printed pieces, there are typically two options: either laminate the piece using a self-laminating label or apply a coat of varnish.
The Basics of Lamination
Laminations are slim layers of film applied to the surface of the piece, offering an actual plastic barrier to the piece and its environment. You can apply lamination to your material using one of these two types: linered lamination and self-wound laminations.
Linered laminations, like other pressure-sensitive materials, use a release-coated liner to separate the adhesive. Although expensive, it makes the material look clearer and polished, especially when you apply a substrate to the finish.
On the other hand, self-wound laminations use adhesive on the lam to wind itself like a roll of transparent office tape. Although this process has a chance of leaving irregularities and air bubbles in the finished piece, people use this more often because it is more affordable.
Both types of laminations offer matte, gloss and imprintable versions.
The Basics of Varnish
Varnishes are liquid coatings applied onto the surface of a printed piece. There are many types of varnishes, but the ones commonly used are UV and aqueous varnish. Varnishes can safeguard the piece from scuff and abrasions while adding interesting designs with varying finishes. Satin, matte and gloss, for example, each provide a distinctive image. When people use varnishes for label detection, it can improve manufacturing line processes.
Which is Right for You?
While varnishes and laminations both offer protection for your printed piece, it is important to determine the best option for your needs as the wrong option may be costly. When you have pieces exposed to high-scuff environments, it might be a safer choice to use lamination. Alternatively, when you want to give an exclusive look to your pieces, opt for varnishes.
The secret in selecting the right coating is to work closely with your printing partner. Discuss what effect you are trying to achieve and the level of protection you want for your pieces.