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Paper finishes and more explained

When having something printed, the type of finish you would like your project to have is one of the most important questions we ask because it affects the look of the final product. There are dozens of “finishes” or coatings for paper, though, so how do you choose what’s right for your project? Here is a simplified list of the options we offer:

Coating Options:

  • AQ (Aqueous) Coating
    AQ coating is a water-based, more environmentally friendly coating available in matte and gloss. It offers a little protection against wear and tear and isn’t likely to yellow over time.
  • Varnish
    Varnish is a clear ink coating that offers a little protection for your finished product. It’s available in matte, gloss, and spot varnish effects. It is more likely to yellow over time than AQ coating.
  • UV (Ultraviolet) Coating
    UV coating is done using a substance that cures under UV light. It offers stronger protection against wear and tear than AQ or varnish but cannot be written on once cured. It’s available in matte, gloss and spot UV effects but is more likely to yellow over time than AQ coating.
  • Gloss Lamination
    Gloss lamination has high sheen and offers the strongest protection against wear or tear out of all our coating options but increases the thickness of the final product.
  • Matte Lamination
    Matte Lamination removes sheen from and offers strong protection from wear and tear (though is more likely to be marked than gloss lamination). The thickness of the final product is increased.

No Coating Options:

  • Coated Stock
    Coated stock refers to paper that is coated prior to being printed upon and comes in two-sided or one-sided options.
  • Uncoated stock
    Uncoated stock refers to paper that has no coating before or after printing. Wear and tear are more likely with this type of printing.


Still have questipns or need help choosing the right coating (or lack thereof) for you project? Contact us today!



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