Although often ruled out because of the additional production cost, special finishes are a good way to create distinctive and memorable print items, especially for high circulation items like business cards. All of the finishes detailed below can be applied to most pieces of print, including brochures, leaflets, invitations etc.
A thin layer of protective plastic, which is often used on the covers of printed items to add both decorative and protective values. It may not always be visible but is easily identifiable to the touch as it creates a smooth water-resistant finish. Common types of laminates include Gloss, Matt and Soft Touch.
Embossing and debossing are similar finishes, where the surface is either raised or pressed onto the page. This process creates a 3D look to printed items it works really well on business cards and brochure cover pages. This process works very well in combination with another finish, such as block foil stamping.
Die cutting is a technique of cutting out shapes from stock that is used in packaging designs, brochures, folders or business cards with rounded corners. It can be produced using a steel-edged die (constructed by hand), which is fed through a printing press. Die cutting is a process by which a bespoke shape is cut away from the stock material using a cutting template called a die or forme. This technique is commonly used on folders, business cards and other stationery.
Foiling is one of the most popular finishing techniques, where a metallic foil is applied with pressure to the stock using heated metal die and a hot foiling stamping machine. The finished effect creates a smooth and highly reflective surface, although matt foils are available as well. Foil stamping works brilliantly in combination with embossing, creating a three-dimensional, gleaming piece of print.
These inks contain metallic components that give them a reflective quality and bright finish. Metallic inks are less lustrous than foil stamping, so if you’re looking for a highly reflective and striking finish, foils are more appropriate, whereas metallic inks provide a more subtle finish.