Seal the Deal – Which Finishing Should You Use?

Seal the Deal – Which Finishing Should You Use?

Finishing is quite literally what you may think. It’s the finishing touch on the packaging product, sealing in the design and helping it maintain its shape and look.

In case you missed it, in our last post we spoke about packaging accessories. Little additions that accentuate your packaging. However, when it comes to finishing, we focus more on protection.

There are more finishing options than you might think, so let’s get into the similarities and differences, shall we?

Laminated Finishing

Lamination is the process of manufacturing a material in various layers, so that the product has increased strength and stability.

It also adds a layer of protection to the surface of your packaging. Think of it as a film that you apply to the product.

This extra layer increases water-, tear- and scratch- resistance, while also adding a luxurious quality. It is permanently assembled by heat, pressure, or adhesives to the entire product.

There are various laminations to considered, but we do have 3 popular ones: glossy, matte, and soft touch.

Glossy if you want to attract your customers, this is the finish for you. Think Ariel the Little Mermaid and forks. Everyone loves shiny things, and a high gloss finish enhances the vibrancy of the colours and beautifully reflects light! The best part of all, it’s resistant to dirt, fingerprints, and dust.

glossy lamination finishing on a folding carton box. shows black box with orange insert, all glossy lamination

Soft Touch – Simply put: if it feels like velvet, but isn’t actually velvet, it’s most likely a soft-touch finishing. It’s a protective finish that has a matte effect, but also a velvet-like texture. This creates a premium feel and, as such, is often associated with luxury packaging.

Matte – sophistication is the first word that comes to mind when thinking of matte lamination. This finishing is guarantees to give off an alluring and mysterious aura. Matte lamination create a very flat finish, with no sheen. It’s the perfect complement to foil additions.

drake commissary bakery box in blue and white with a matte lamination

However, there is one important note: these laminated layers require a special facility/equipment to be properly recycled.

Oil Varnish

People often cannot tell the difference between varnish and lamination, but there are some key distinctions.

In terms of packaging, a varnish is a special coating that we apply to paper stock to give a smooth and consistent texture. It seals printed material to preserve ink and design, and is a way to add protection without weighing down the product.

While we usually apply varnish to the entire product, it is possible to have a spot application, and unlike lamination, it is 100% recyclable.

Varnishes come in a variety of options, most popular being glossy and matte. While varnishes are commonly used for books, magazines, brochures, and other promotional material, they’re also perfect for food packaging.

Spot UV

Spot UV refers to the application of a special [clear] UV coating to a specific area instead of coating the entire product. First, we apply it as a liquid, and then expose it to Ultra Violet light in order to dry.

spot uv finishing on a folding carton box. shows different ginseng roots with spot application to show contrast between matte lamination

This accessory is a way to add depth and a unique look. There is a certain contrast between texture and reflection that you won’t be able to achieve anywhere else. One of the most popular combinations is a dark, matte stock with a high-gloss spot UV finish.

Other Finishings

Honestly, this is just the tip of the iceberg. There is no limit in terms of packaging finishes and we want to keep educating you on the topic.

We have metallic paper, pearlescent coatings and more to discuss with you!

Contact us today to dive deeper into the topic, or leave us a comment ;).

Look out for our post later this week on key features to add to your products!

Gabrielle Ho
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