A guide to print finishing techniques – Make your prints stand out.
Small things matter. Smart grid, perfectly cutted font, matching colours, could the project look any better? Well yes, if you add some cool printing techniques.
Letterpress and emboss
Don’t get taken in by its modern feel, it’s roots go back to 15th-century Europe. It is the oldest of all printing techniques, but luckily it ages like wine – just not the supermarket wine, but the one we buy for special occasions. You can give lots of character to the products by using letterpress: the color is pressed inside the paper, and thanks to that we gain depth and the 3D impression. We can also create an effect without using any additional color: that’s just emboss.
A star among print refinements, definitely one of the most popular techniques. By using convex printing forms and a special foil, we create a print imitating gold that gives the impression of luxury. It is an environmentally friendly method that can be used on various materials (paper, cardboard, wood, textiles). It adds glamour and character to cosmetic and beauty packaging, alcohol and other luxury products.
It’s about covering the printing surface with varnish: the design gains an additional, protective layer, which makes it more resistant to damage. The technique makes the colors more saturated and visually attractive, the print becomes more vivid and contrasting. We can also emphasize only a part of the project by applying selective varnishing, e.g. on a logo or text header.
The design is covered with a thin protective layer, which strengthens the print and makes it more resistant to abrasions and scratches. It also gives shine, saturates colors and adds contrast. Lamination may not be visible at first glance, but when you touch it, it gives you that luxury feel of a refined print.
It’s an underestimated method that is very effective, adds that extra something to the project in an unforced way. The colored edges are hard to see on a single business card, they stand out much more when they are in a pile. However, even in the case of a single card, the delicate touch of color on the edge makes the product look more premium.
It is certainly not a method for everyone and can only be done right, otherwise it will just look like a mistake. It’s hard to find cut outs in use, but maybe that’s a good thing? In my opinion, nearly half of the projects with this effect look like cheap DIY, and some like a doormat pattern. However, if the idea and execution are good, we will talk about the project for years.
Breaking the rules
All of these techniques were reserved for large companies and big circulations. Today, they are more and more often found even in small, start-up projects. This is due to the constantly increasing awareness of the clients, who realize that apart from good content it is also vital for the product to be visually appealing. But remember, poorly designed projects won’t be rescued by any print techniques. They aren’t superheroes.