The selection and inclusion of print finishes can elevate your design aesthetically and improve
its potential for retention. However, the selection must be appropriate for the concept and
content of the design.
The inclusion of print finishes also adds a number of financial, production and preparation concerns
to the design process. Your task for today is to explore a range of print finishes (at least 8) with the
Can you source and photograph (for your blog) an example of each finishing method?
The first place i went to to find some interesting print finishes was the college library. I went straight to the magazine and journal section, as I figured that this would probably be the best place to find some premium finishes. The publishing industry is currently experiencing a revolutionary boom, and fancy/complex printing finishes are really being revitalised.
The first example of a bespoke print finish I came across was on the front cover of the Tate. Etc Magazine, a quarterly art and culture publication distributed by the Tate galleries of London. The finish featured here is known as Spot Varnishing. Used for highlighting and texture, spot varnishing is a special effect applied to specific areas of a printed piece. It is most commonly used on business cards, envelopes and folders. In this context, spot varnishing has been used to highlight the neon green areas of the artwork. This finish adds interesting texture to the cover design, making it tactile and peculiar to the touch. It is a subtle way of making the publication a lot more interactive and unique.
I came across a number of other examples of spot varnishing. However, in these cases the varnish was transparent and in some cases not as brightly coloured. The transparent varnishing was used purely to add texture and tactility. It is a nice effect in my opinion.
The transparent spot varnishing:
Spot UV varnishes are paper varnishes applied to the printing surface and is cured or hardened by UV light during the printing process. The final results are not dissimilar to spot varnished finishes, but I would say that the results are a little bit more subtle and sleek. Using UV varnishing results in a glossy coating on the surface of your print, as shown below:
The cover of Wallpaper magazine used two print finishes. The first was subtle embossing on the black lines. They also appeared to be very simply spot varnished, I liked these subtle details. The pink shapes were actually areas that had been cut out. I suspect that die cutting techniques were probably used to achieve these cut out shapes. Die cutting is a manufacturing process used to generate large numbers of the same shape from a material such as wood, plastic, metal, or fabric. Sharp specially shaped blades are used in die cutting. The blade is bent into the desired shape and mounted to a strong backing. The result is known as a die. The material being cut is placed on a flat surface with a supportive backing, and the die is pressed onto the material to cut it. Depending on what is being made, a single die might cut one piece of material, or it might be designed to slice through multiple layers, generating a stack of blanks. In the context of magazine production, die cutting makes sense as it can be used thousands of times to create the same shapes repeatedly.
The print finish here was quite difficult to work out. It was slightly glossy to the touch but to the eye looked as if it was just normal matte stock. I feel that the grey section had actually been spot varnished but in quite a large area. The cover looked and felt quite sophisticated and premium. The simple utilisation of varnishing methods worked well in the context of this particular magazine.
- This technique is gives any piece of printed media a bespoke and sophisticated finished feel. I managed to find several lovely examples of foiled print. The green one below caught my eye the most though. One of print finishing’s most enduring and popular enhancements, foil blocking can create a glamour, sophistication, and up-market effect all on its own. Foiling is the ultimate decorative finish that can be achieved, never failing to create an instant audience reaction. I really enjoy the way it captures the light and changes depending on the angle that you are reading or viewing the foiled section.
Embossing - Embossing creates a raised image on paper or board and gives a stunning effect. Embossing gives you the opportunity to enhance your print with stunning 3-D effects. With multilevel and sculptured dies the result is impressive. When foiled and then embossed images throw the light in different directions creating an effect that is remarkable. on the cover of this art book, the typography has been embossed and then spot varnished, create a beautifully simple raised effect. It allows the cover to become tactile and much more intriguing to actually hold and feel as a reader.
More examples of foiling in various colours and shapes:
Neon - the large section of bright neon pink has been achieved through using spot colouring techniques. Using spot colours and Pantones ensure that you retain exact colour consistency across all your printed media. Among spot colours you can also choose from a range of metallic and neon coloured inks, creating colours that otherwise would not be possible.
Another nice example of embossing/debossing: