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What Type of Coating Should your Business use: Varnish, Aqueous or UV Coatings?

When printing on paper substrate, it is important to know what type of coating you are going to be investing in for your project. While cost might be one of the biggest factors in your decision- understanding what you are actually paying for is significant. Which is why businesses should take the time to understand the different coatings that can be offered to them.

Not only does using a proper coating add a protective element to your substrate, it is also a great way to add creative finish to your work. The various types of coating include: varnish, aqueous, and UV coatings.

Varnish coatings:

Varnish is applied on the printing press like all other inks being used in the project. Varnish varies in the styles that are offered. It can be applied as a gloss, satin or dull finish. Varnish is also the type of coating that can be applied with or without tints. The benefits of using a varnish over the other types of coatings is because of the flexibility and ease of application of the product - which is why varnish is a lower cost method to coating your substrate. The downside to using this method is that varnish offers the least amount of protection for your substrate - making it more susceptible to ink blemishes and finger-prints.

Aqueous coatings:

Aqueous coatings are a water based option for coating your substrates. This is the most commonly used type of coating, because it provides great protection against blemishes and fingerprints. Just like the application process involving varnish; Aqueous is applied directly to the printing press. The benefit of choosing aqueous coating is that they are less likely to yellow than varnish. Businesses also chose this method, because it is an eco-friendly solution to coatings. Aqueous can be applied as a gloss or dull finish.

UV Coatings:

Ultraviolet, or UV for short, is the strongest coating you can apply for protecting your substrates. The application process is different then Aqueous and varnish coatings. The UV coating is added either in-line or off-line by converters, printers or finishers. The coating starts out as a liquid, and once applied, the uv is exposed to ultraviolet lights to thicken. UV coatings come in the options of a high gloss, matte or satin option. The benefit of ultraviolet coating is the various finishes it offers. The UV also can be applied with glitter, special tints and even scents- how cool is that!

When should I use a coating on my project?

Even though you might want the fancy look of a finish for all of your business needs, it’s important to know when you should use a coating like UV, varnish or aqueous. Writing materials like note cards or postcards will not be able to be written on easily because of the applied finish.

If you have any questions about coatings, or are interested in using a special finish on your next print job, contact us here or call us directly at +1(609) 645-1940!


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