The Final Touch: How to Choose the Right Finish for Your Product

You’ve created the perfect label design to match your awesome product.   All of the decisions that you have made over the last few months are finally done, right?  Well, not quite yet.  You’ll probably need to choose one more important item to cross the finish line, literally.  It’s something that will not only enhance the look of your labels, but can also provide protection and make them last longer.  We’re talking finishes.

So what exactly is the basic definition of a finish?

It’s the surface property of a paper or film determined by its texture and gloss. It describes surface contour and characteristics measurable by smoothness, gloss, absorbability and print quality. Not every label needs a finish; however, many do, especially if they face continuous handling, varying temperatures, friction, etc.

The most popular label finishes are:

  • Laminates – a film material that provides a thicker layer of protection. They are a great option for labels that will face moisture, abrasion and light. Laminates are available in gloss (shiny) and matte (a non-shiny, flat texture).
  • Varnishes – thin coatings of clear silicon placed over top of the printed label to seal and prevent scuffing and smudging. A varnish will also help give the printed surface a smooth, consistent texture and a more polished, professional look.  Varnishes can be glossy, matte or satin (semi-shiny) in appearance.
  • UV coatings – a special type of varnish that is cured during printing by exposure to ultraviolet light. Labels with this finish typically last longer and can bring a number of eye-catching elements to your label’s appearance. Spot UV coatings are used to make sections of label design stand out, while also adding dimension with the contrast of gloss and matte finishes

If you want to take it up a notch, Overnight Labels offers a number of specialty effects/finishes for added decoration.  These include:

  • Glitter: Incorporates small holographic bits of glitter.

    MotionCoat is a UV coating system that creates a stunning motion-like image

  • MotionCoat: A UV coating system that when used with vector based artwork creates a stunning motion-like image.
  • Gloss: Creates a noticeable contrast between the glossy UV coating and the smooth matte appearance where the spot OPV is under the coating.
  • Pearlescent: Produces a pearl shimmer effect when applied over or under an ink or on a substrate and can mute an image when applied over ink.
  • Emboss: Is a multi-dimensional label with a raised effect in specific areas that gives depth to a design and adds a tactile sensation. It’s typically used on lettering, custom designs, patterns, or decoration effects to create a striking label.

    Although, you can’t feel it, this label is an example of a spot gloss tactile varnish.

  • Sandy Feel: Range of different particle sizes that allows for a very rough to soft and silky feel options.

    This award winning label was printed on clear stock with process colors overprinting foil backed up with white and a full UV coating.

  • Soft Touch: Creates a matte surface that has a velvety, soft feel.
  • Tactile: A finish that gives a slightly raised texture to the label that drive people touch and feel it.
  • Cold Foil: allows printers to apply foil onto a substrate at press speed.  This technique produces brilliant metallic effects and can print fine lines, reverse outs, half tones and full tones, all in accurate register.

Seeing is believing.  To receive a sample kit that includes a wide variety of finishes, including award-winning examples from the Foil and Specialty Effects Association,  click here.