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Finishing Touches: Specialty Techniques

We can provide a variety of finishing options to make your beautiful designs even more eye-catching. Varnishes and aqueous coatings, specialty inks, embossing, debossing, bindery and other effects each can add a special touch. The most important advice we can give regarding files for finishing: Call us before you begin! Together, we'll finish it right.

How Do I Set Up a Spot Varnish?

Spot varnishes should be prepared exactly like any other spot color and named something obvious like Varnish. The color should create a separate plate just like any other spot color. Make sure that the spot varnish color is set to overprint: You do not want the varnish to knockout any other color below it. If you plan to use a spot varnish to highlight an illustration, go ahead and make the spot varnish in an illustration program. Otherwise, draw the plate in your layout program.

How Should I Design for an Aqueous Coating?

All you have to do is mark your laser proofs for coating and we will take care of the rest. Since we are coating the whole page, there is no electronic prepress to prepare for this process. It's a straightforward process, the coating system always applies an even coating over the entire sheet.

Can You Define the Various Types of Embossings?

There are two kinds of embossing/debossing effects: Blind embossing, where there is no ink on the embossed part, and regular embossing, where ink is printed onto the embossed portion. In either case, we use line art to create a metal die and then crush the die into the paper. To create the emboss/deboss die, we need line art of the image. Provide the file separately, with nothing else around it. If we are printing on the embossed portion, the art should be in your electronic file designated the color we will be printing.

Can I Preview Finishing Effects with InDesign?

In most cases, finishing options are difficult to preview in Quark or InDesign. WYSIWYG design tools make it easy to visualize most aspects of the printed piece. Since finishing is an exception, it is easy to overlook these visual enhancements, or erroneously come to the conclusion that if it can't be seen on-screen, it isn't possible.

Any Special Considerations with Metallics or Foil Stamping?

Foil stamping and specialty inks are not hard to prepare in the electronic file, and they put an impressive shine on your page. To prepare a file for foil stamping or specialty inks, prepare a spot color and name it something obvious like Foil or Metallic Ink. The only complication with this effect is it can be difficult to show properly on a proof. If used sparingly, this kind of accent will effectively pull your reader into your design.

Do I Need to Change My Files if I Plan to Use a Diecut?

When it comes to complicated bindery effects, we again need to stress that you should call us first. Other than that, we will need a laser proof with the die cuts marked at 100% size to use as a guide.

How Should I Accommodate a Fold When Creating My Layout Pages?

Again, you will need to mark the folds on a laser proof. Other than that, it is typical to compensate for folds when creating a layout. The normal rule of thumb is that each fold uses up 1/16" (.0625"). For instance, a three-fold letter-sized brochure would normally measure 3.66" per panel if all three panels were equal. If you compensate for folding, you reduce two of the panels to 3.6" and the third, longer panel ends up being 3.7" (it needs to compensate for one half of a fold).

Spot Varnish: Make Your Pages Pop

The client wants their joke teeth to jump off the page of their brochure. They are very excited about their new toy line and want to make a statement. One way to make those chattering teeth stand out is to use a spot varnish. A varnish is a coating typically used to protect a page from scuffing, smearing and wear. They can also make an aesthetic contribution by emphasizing details in photographs or display type.

A varnish can be clear or tinted, dull or glossy. A gloss varnish reflects more light and enhances the sharpness and saturation of images. A matte or dull varnish increases readability by diffusing light reflected from the page. It reduces glare and can make a text heavy page more readable. Unlike a clear varnish, a tinted varnish adds a slight hue to a print job.

Unlike a flood or overprint varnish that is applied to the entire page, a spot varnish is applied to a specific area or design element. Photographs, especially those with clipping paths, pop off the page when coated with a glossy spot varnish.

For advanced design effects, dull and gloss varnishes can be used in combination to add crispness to images, contrast to image elements and draw attention to charts and diagrams. Dull and gloss varnishes have unique reflective characteristics that compliment the different surface elements in an image. A gloss varnish works best on reflective, polished images. A dull varnish compliments soft and velvety images. Leaving some areas without a varnish will give your image added dimension by contrasting the unvarnished paper with the varnished areas.

For example, in a photo of gears, highlighted areas can be given a gloss varnish, the dark areas a dull varnish and the intermediate areas left unvarnished to further heighten the effect.

Print buyers should be aware of the additional costs of using a spot varnish. While a flood is easy to apply, a spot varnish requires additional labor, the actual varnish and one or more printing plates.

There are a few different ways to add a spot varnish to your design. Properly using and specifying a spot varnish can be a little tricky. Talk to us about your project before using a spot varnish in any print job.

Visualize Varnish

While it is one of the best ways to protect a print piece, using a varnish can make your designs more memorable. There are a lot of things that go into making a print project look great. From design to photo selection to paper weight and binding, everything is important to the look of the final printed product.

But there is one thing that can make your printed piece shine: A varnish. Used to protect a page or print product from scuffing, wear, ink rub or smearing, a clear varnish coating can really enhance photographs or graphics and focus your reader's attention.

Typically added to a finished print piece, a varnish can be applied in two ways. An overprint or flood varnish needs no special preparation because it is applied over the entire printed surface. This application is good for protecting projects that may be exposed to moisture or just used a lot. Plus it makes your project look great.

A spot varnish is applied to selected parts, like photos or graphics, and is mainly used for aesthetic reasons. Spot varnishes can make color photos jump but they can be tricky to prepare because they need to be made in your page-layout or image-manipulation program.

Varnishes can be applied with a gloss or matte finish. The gloss varnish reflects more light and adds to the sharpness and saturation of images. A matte or dull varnish is used on a page that has mostly text. It increases readability by diffusing light and reducing glare.

Some designers spend a lot of time applying a glossy spot varnish to images. This can make photographs, especially those using clipping paths, really jump off the page and make a design more memorable.


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