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Coating vs. Laminate

When adding finishes to your online printing project, you may wonder what’s the difference between coating and lamination. As a premium online printer, Smartpress offers both gloss and matte UV coatings, gloss and matte laminate and Soft Touch laminate.

But how do you choose the best one for your project? Do you place an order for laminated business cards or coated ones? Should your custom booklets have a coated shine on the cover or a subtle laminate?

Check out the pros and cons of each to help you decide.

UV Coating

In gloss or matte, UV coating is ideal for protecting your print projects from scratches, moisture and general wear and tear. It’s applied in a liquid form and exposed to ultraviolet light, which cures and dries the coating. The result: a protective barrier.

Pros

  • Protects from scratches, tears and frequent handling
  • Prevents ink from rubbing off
  • Can be applied as gloss or matte
  • Choose gloss for super high shine and vibrant color
  • Choose matte for a rich finish without shine
  • Faster application process than lamination

Cons

  • Can only be applied to coated paper stocks
  • May crack when your printed piece is bent or folded

Laminate

Smartpress offers gloss and matte laminate, as well as the suede-like Soft Touch laminate on many products. With lamination, a film covers the entire print piece and is trimmed before complete.

This film acts as a strong protective barrier against moisture and water in particular. And with Soft Touch, you get the added bonus of its unexpected velvet feel.

Pros

  • Protects against moisture and water
  • Makes projects tear-resistant
  • Mitigates cracking on booklet spines and print pieces with folds
  • More durable than UV or liquid-based aqueous coatings
  • Can be applied as gloss or matte
  • Soft Touch adds a soft and velvety smooth feel
  • Recommended for cover weight stocks but can be applied to text weights, too

Cons

  • Slower application process than coating
  • Not recommended for print pieces you want to mail (Soft Touch cannot be sent through mailing machines)

How to Choose Between Coating and Laminate

So how do you know which one is right for your print piece? Here are some things to consider before you make your decision:

1. The purpose of your project

How are you planning to use it? Will your piece be handled frequently? If so, a UV coating might be the way to go.

2. The final look of your project

If you prefer something with high shine, our gloss UV coating is a great choice. But if you want a more subtle look (and a tactile feel), Soft Touch laminate is for you.

3. Paper stock pairings

If you know you want to use UV coating, be sure to print your project on coated paper stocks, as it cannot be applied to uncoated ones.

And when you’re adding Soft Touch laminate, be sure to print your project on cover weight stocks, as it cannot be applied to text weight stocks.

 

If you have questions about print finishes or any of our online printing services, please contact customer service to chat with an expert.

Learn more: Soft Touch Laminate: A Premium Finish with a Velvet Feel

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