Finishing Defined

Part of our series where we seek to uncover unfamiliar terms in the world of print.

Along with bindery comes finishing, where varnishes, laminates, and other final coatings are applied to increase protection as well as add aesthetic value. Finishing services are often performed in-line as a piece is being printed.

There are a number of finishes that can be applied and their application varies, so let’s take a minute to lay everything out and take closer look at the finishing terms you may encounter.

Finishing Terms to Know

  • Aqueous Coating: A water-based coating that is applied to a project at the end of the process to add protection and water resistance to the piece.
  • Blind Embossing: Leaving an imprint on paper, producing a raised or recessed effect without the use of ink or foil.
  • Bronzing: Giving a piece a metallic finish by using a special kind of adhesive ink that allows a bronzing powder to stick as it makes its way through a bronzing machine.
  • Cold Foiling: A UV-curable adhesive is printed on the paper in the shape of the design that is to be foiled. The foil is pressed onto the paper, and is stripped away where no adhesive was printed. After a quick run under the UV light, the product is finished.
  • Embossing: Leaving an imprint on any material of paper, producing a raised or recessed effect, and enhancing that effect with ink or foil.
  • Hot Foiling: A die, or stamp, of the design to be foiled is mounted on the stamping machine above the paper and is then heated. The sheet of foil runs between them so that when pressure is applied from the die onto the paper, the foil is fixed to its surface.
  • Printed Laminated Cover: A paper cover that is printed, and then laminated between clear sheets of film.
  • Spot Aqueous/UV/Varnish Coatings: Highlight only certain areas of a piece, rather than the whole sheet.
  • UV Coating: For the highest gloss, a layer of UV ink is added to a piece and then cured under ultraviolet light.
  • Varnish: A clear coating that is applied to a project at the end of the process to add protection and water resistance to the piece.

Top Takeaways on Finishing

  • Adding varnishes, laminates, and other coatings to a piece provides an extra layer of protection and water resistance.
  • Which coating you use depends on what you want the finished piece to look like.
  • You can apply spot coatings to specific areas of a sheet to help that area stand out.

What has been your experience with finishing? Are there any other terms you’ve come across that you’d like to share with us, or ask for clarification on? Comment below!

Download our free eGuide: Printing Defined: The Comprehensive Guide to Unfamiliar Terms in the World of Print

About Allison Jensen

Allison Jensen is the Marketing Coordinator for Compu-Mail and Dual Print & Mail. Allison is a millennial who loves all things direct mail. She is a graduate of the marketing program at Niagara University ('15) with a sales and marketing background in the construction and manufacturing world. Allison also has agency experience and is passionate about blogging and social media.
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