The 3 varieties of varnish that are used almost exclusively are gloss, matte, and imprintable. All are suitable for our digitally printed and flexographically printed labels. The gloss varnish is the overwhelming favorite. It provides added gloss to materials and inks and protects printing from routine scuffing. Because all of our inks have glossy properties, packaged products that don’t get abused and don’t rub up against other containers or objects don’t always require a gloss varnish.
Matte varnishes also protect packaging, but are chosen when customers want the inks on the label material to look muted, dull, or soft. It’s not unusual for cosmetic and wine labels to use matte varnishes.
If labels are to be written upon after we have printed them an imprintable varnish makes the label’s surface more receptive to ink from a variety of writing instruments. Customers are obligated to make sure the ink used in their writing instrument will adhere to our varnish. There are too many types of writing instruments and inks for a label manufacturer to guarantee every combination.
We have the above varnishes for all of the materials we use for digital and flexographic printed labels.
Film over-laminates are seldom used on labels compared to the number of labels that are varnished. Standard matte and gloss laminating materials are used when surfaces being protected could be severely abused.
Examples of abuse, to us, are when labeled containers are kept outdoors and unprotected for extended periods of time, when the contents of containers are storing any form of corrosive material that could badly damage an unprotected label, and when a container simply gets “knocked around”.
The gloss laminate is glossier than gloss varnish and the matte laminate is duller than matte varnish.
The above descriptions are of the varnishes and laminates that are used for the vast majority of labels we print. There other seldom used finishes available which is why our sales staff asks questions about how our customers’ labels are applied and used. We want to know what “look” our customers want. We want to know what impression our labels are to make upon our customers’ customers. Our goal is to provide a label that will make a tremendous first impression on any consumer.