Found this really interesting and thorough analysis of print finishes on this blog http://r-withers0710-dc.blogspot.com/2009/11/print-finishes.html
is a process applied to a design’s substrate, or surface, that can
provide your work with a specific look and feel, add decorative
elements, alter its shape and size or provide functionality and
presentation enhancements. Finishes can transform an ordinary design into something much more interesting and unique.
Below is a list of 8 various printing finishes (with images and links) that can be applied to your designs:
varnish is a colorless coating that can both protect the substrate from
wear-and-tear and enhance the look and feel of a design, or specific
elements of the design (referred to as a spot varnish), with a glossy,
dull or satin finish. Most magazine covers that you buy likely have a
varnish applied to them — like the smooth, slippery-like texture that
you feel on most magazine covers.
Matte (or dull) — helps improve readability; most used in the interior pages of publications
Satin or silk — the middleman between gloss and matte; not too glossy, not too dull
Neutral — used to protect the substrate without the appearance of the varnish
UV varnish — provides more shine than typical varnish; applied with an ultraviolet light
Full-bleed UV — very high gloss effect; most common
Spot UV — enhances specific parts of a design; can create a variety in texture
Textured spot UV – creates a specific texture; ie: leather, rubber, etc.
Pearlescent — provides more of a “luxurious effect”
cutting is when the shape of the paper is altered or areas are cut out
to enhance the visual purpose of the design. Often die cuts are used to
see beyond a page and onto the proceeding one.
Throw out Fold
throw out fold allows extra space within a set sized publication. Think
of the monthly centerfold image in Playboy magazine for a second (I
swear I read them for the articles!) — the magazine, with its two-facing
pages, allows the centerfold to be a larger (taking up 3 pages) by
utilizing the throw out. The “third” page is folded over the second
allowing it to fit within the two-facing pages.
like the throw out fold provides a third page to fit within a two-page
spread, the gatefold allows a forth page. The left and right panels are
folded inward and meet at the spine.
The french fold is an eight-page fold (4 front and 4 back panels) from a single sheet of paper that creates two right angles to each other. Most often used in invitations and announcements.
The Accordion fold
that go in opposite direction to make save space and fit more content
into a smaller whole. Most music CD inserts use this technique.
piece of paper folded that has two or more parallel folds that fold in
on each other. It may fold in from the left or right. To allow proper
nesting of panels that fold in, inside panels are usually incrementally
smaller than outer panels with the inside end panel being the smallest.
Learn how to properly fold paper for each one of the above folds.
Embossing and Debossing
(above the surface) and debossing (below the surface) is a stamping
technique in which particular elements are three-dimensional and
textured. This technique can be accomplished with or without (blind) the
use of ink or foil.
stamping, which is the process of pressing colored foil onto a
substrate with a heated die, can add texture and elegance to a design.
It can also be used as a mirror to show reflections adding to the
overall effect of a printed piece.
(foil stamp w/ die cut)
a paper treatment, as the edge or edges of the substrate is torn giving
it a ragged, decorative look. If you’ve had any printmaking classes,
you might be familiar with Rag paper; rag paper is high-quality paper that leaves the papermaking machine with is torn edges left as is.
technique applied to the outside edges of a publication that can give
the appearance of color, display words, or create texture (ie: gold or
A ‘half-cut’ that allows parts of a substrate to be easily removed.
is important to plan from the beginning if you would like to use any of
these finishing techniques, contact your printer beforehand to fill
them in with what you like to accomplish. Every printers will require
you to setup your files differently to ensure the desired finish is
accurate. Also, not every printer has the necessary tools to fit your
“specialty” needs, while others outsource finishing options.
If you looking for a good online printer that will be able to assist you in the above finishes, I can attest to Jakprints. They provide a variety of servicesincluding
laminating, binding, folding, perforation, varnishes, die cutting and
custom embroidery and have always done a great job for me.