Print coatings are used primarily to protect press sheets but they can also be used to create various visual effects.
Aqueous coating is a clear protective coating that prevents scratching, fingerprints and scuffing. This water-based coating is applied in-line and is available in gloss, high- gloss, dull and matte finish. AQ can be applied to a selected part of the sheet using spot AQ or to the entire sheet with overall AQ. Expect to pay more for spot AQ because a blanket will need to be cut. The benefits of AQ are immediate drying time and it won’t yellow like varnish.
Soft Touch AQ is a popular type of coating that creates a suede/velvet finish. Soft Touch is a relatively in-expensive option that adds a highly tactile and luxurious feel. It’s important to remember that Soft Touch has a matte finish and can dull down darker colors or vibrant artwork. For optimum results, Soft Touch should be used on coated stock.
Strike through varnish is a technique that combines dull and gloss finishes by using AQ and varnish. A dull spot varnish is applied to the areas that are to stay matte and then an overall gloss AQ is applied, creating a contrast between the dull and gloss areas. Strike though works best with a darker background.
UV coating is a liquid coating that is cured and hardened through the use of ultra violet light. UV coatings can be applied overall or as a spot coating. UV coatings create a hard service when cured and will add thickness to the sheet. Because of the thickness, UV coatings may crack when scored. UV coatings work best on a coated sheet.