What is Varnish in Commercial Printing and its Types

In the realm of printing, varnish is a special coating applied to your printed materials, either during the printing process or afterwards. It serves a dual purpose: not only does it enhance the visual appeal of the printed item, but it also provides protection against scuffs, scratches, and damage from moisture or chemicals. There are several types of varnish used in printing, each with its own unique set of properties and applications. Now, let's explore these in detail.

Varnish is typically composed of a resin, a drying oil, a solvent, and sometimes a thinner. The resin, which forms the 'body' of the varnish, combines with the drying oil to create a hard, glossy film. The solvent is used to adjust the thickness of the varnish for easier application, while the thinner is used to clean up any excess varnish.

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Spot Varnish

Spot varnish is a specialized type of varnish coating that's applied to a specific area of the page, hence the term 'spot'. This technique is often used in printing to draw attention to certain elements such as photos, text, or design features. You can choose between a glossy or dull finish for your spot varnish, depending on the effect you want to achieve.

Spot varnishes require a unique printing plate, giving you control similar to that of a spot color. They can be solid or screened, and can even be tinted for special effects. Furthermore, we can combine dull and gloss varnishes, allowing you to have both finishes on a single piece.

To set up your spot varnish in Adobe InDesign or Illustrator, you'll need to create a new swatch. This swatch will represent the area of the design where the spot varnish will be applied. Here are the steps:

  1. Create a new layer for the spot varnish.
  2. On this layer, create a shape that covers the area where you want the spot varnish to be applied.
  3. Open the 'Swatches' panel and create a new swatch. You can choose what ever color you want but you need to name it 'Spot Varnish'.
  4. Set the 'Color Type' to 'Spot' and the 'Color Mode' to 'CMYK'.
  5. Apply this new swatch to the shape you created on the spot varnish layer.
  6. Set the blending mode of the spot varnish layer to 'Multiply' or 'Overprint' to ensure that it interacts correctly with the colors underneath.

Remember, the spot varnish layer will not be visible in the final printed piece. It's only used to tell the printer where to apply the varnish.

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Flood Varnish

Flood varnish, in contrast to spot varnish, is a type of varnish coating that covers the entire surface of the printed sheet. This technique can be used with either a gloss or dull finish, depending on the desired effect. At Printing Partners, we have a wealth of experience with flood varnish printing, and we can guide you through the process to achieve the best results for your project. We recommend discussing the use of flood varnish early in the design stage to ensure it's incorporated effectively.

Setting up your artwork for flood varnish is straightforward. Unlike spot varnish, no special setup is needed in your art file. The varnish will be applied across the entire surface of the print, enhancing the overall look and feel of your printed piece.

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Aqueous Coating

Aqueous coating is another option we offer at Printing Partners. This is a water-based protective coating that can be applied in high gloss, satin, or matte finishes. Aqueous coating is known for its fast-drying properties, making it a cost-effective solution that can speed up the printing process. Not only does it enhance the visual appeal of your printed piece, but it also adds durability, making it a great choice for products like postcards that need to withstand handling.

One of the advantages of aqueous coating is that it's environmentally friendly. Being water-based, it's safer for the environment and for people than some other types of coatings. It's also resistant to smudges and fingerprints, which can help keep your printed pieces looking their best. And because it dries quickly, it can help keep your project on schedule.

Setting up your artwork for aqueous coating is straightforward. No special setup is needed in your art file. The coating is applied as part of the printing process, so all you need to do is specify that you want it when you place your order.

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Ultra Violet or UV Coatings

UV coatings are a standout option for those seeking a high-contrast and durable finish. These coatings are applied as a clear liquid to the paper and then cured or dried using ultraviolet (UV) light. UV coatings can provide an ultra-gloss or a dull matte appearance, depending on your preference. They can be applied as a flood coat covering the entire surface, or as a spot coating to highlight specific areas.

UV coatings are known for their superior durability compared to other coatings like aqueous coatings. They offer excellent resistance to wear and tear, making them a great choice for printed materials that need to withstand heavy handling. UV coatings also provide a stunning visual effect, enhancing the vibrancy of colors and adding depth to images.

Setting up your artwork for UV coating is a straightforward process. If you're looking to apply a spot UV coating, here are the steps you need to follow in Adobe Illustrator or InDesign:

  1. Create a new layer in your document for the UV coating.
  2. On this new layer, create shapes that cover the areas where you want the UV coating to be applied.
  3. Open the 'Swatches' panel and create a new swatch. Name it 'Spot UV'.
  4. Set the 'Color Type' to 'Spot' and the 'Color Mode' to 'CMYK'.
  5. Apply this new swatch to the shapes you created on the UV coating layer.
  6. Set the blending mode of the UV coating layer to 'Multiply' or 'Overprint' to ensure that it interacts correctly with the colors underneath.
  7. When you're ready to export your file, make sure to include this layer.

Remember, the UV coating layer will not be visible in the final printed piece. It's only used to tell the printer where to apply the varnish.

Please note that the exact steps may vary slightly depending on the version of Adobe InDesign or Illustrator you're using. Always refer to the software's official documentation for the most accurate instructions.

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Motion Coating

Looking for a unique way to make your printed materials stand out? Consider our motion coating option. This innovative technique allows us to create dynamic, hologram-like effects on your printed pieces, such as logos that seem to move or steam that appears to rise from a coffee cup. With custom patterns, we can enhance your graphics in ways that truly set them apart.

Motion coating is a specialized process that requires careful planning and execution. That's why we recommend discussing this option with your Printing Partners sales representative early in the design stage. They can guide you through the process and help you make the most of this exciting feature.

Whether you're designing promotional materials, product packaging, or any other printed piece, motion coating can add an element of surprise and delight that captures attention and leaves a lasting impression. Contact us today to learn more about how motion coating can elevate your next printing project.

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Kodak NexPress Clear Raised Dimensional Ink

Looking to add a tactile dimension to your printed materials? Our Kodak NexPress utilizes a unique clear, raised dry ink technology that can bring your designs to life. This isn't your typical ink - it's a dimensional printing technique that creates a raised effect, adding texture and depth to your graphics, text, or full-color images. Unlike thermography, which is limited to inked areas, this process can mimic the texture of a specific image and produce variable heights.

Setting up your file for this process is a bit different than usual, but don't worry - we've got you covered. We've created a detailed guide on how to set up your file for dimensional ink printing.

Whether you're creating business cards that stand out, promotional materials that pop, or product packaging that catches the eye, our Kodak NexPress clear raised dimensional ink can make a significant impact. Start a conversation with your Printing Partners sales representative today to explore the possibilities.

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Kodak NexGlosser Digital High Glosser

For small quantity press runs, the Kodak NexGlosser Digital High Glosser is an exceptional choice. This technology is similar to a flood gloss varnish, providing a high gloss finish that enhances the visual appeal of your printed materials. But it's not just about aesthetics - the Kodak NexGlosser also contributes to the durability of your prints, ensuring they withstand handling and usage over time.

What sets the Kodak NexGlosser apart is its digital capabilities. Unlike traditional varnishes, this high glosser is applied using advanced digital technology, ensuring precision and consistency across all prints. Whether you're printing business cards, brochures, or promotional materials, the Kodak NexGlosser can elevate the look and feel of your prints.

The Kodak NexGlosser is applied as a flood coat, covering the entire sheet for a uniform and high-quality finish. This means there's no need for specific file setup on your part. At Printing Partners, we handle all the technical aspects, allowing you to enjoy the benefits of high gloss finish without any hassle. Get in touch with us today to learn more about this innovative printing solution.

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At Printing Partners, we offer top-notch lamination services that can add a protective layer to your printed items. Our lamination options include High Gloss laminate, Dull or Matte laminate, and the silky smooth Soft Touch laminate. These laminates not only enhance the visual appeal of your prints but also provide excellent protection, making them more durable and long-lasting.

Whether you're running a small or large press run, our lamination services can be applied to all sizes. This flexibility allows us to cater to a wide range of printing needs, ensuring that your printed items always look their best and stand up to the rigors of use.

Thank you for taking the time to learn about the types of varnish and varnish printing at Printing Partners. We're dedicated to providing you with the best printing solutions, and our lamination services are just one of the many ways we do that.

If you'd like more information on varnish printing, varnish coating, spot varnish printing, paper varnishing, or our lamination services, don't hesitate to request an estimate or get in touch with us today. We're here to help you make the most of your printing projects.

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