Tom Kubinski
Printing Consultant
Direct: 612-278-1568
Fax: 612-334-5879
Cell: 612-760-3700
1109 Zane Avenue North
Minneapolis, MN. 55422
Phone: 612-375-1150
Fax: 612-334-5879
Toll Free: 1-800-230-2828

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April 2010 TK's Korner
Creative Coating Techniques

It has been great to hear from many of you on what topics you'd like to see covered in future TK's Korner issues. Keep em' coming! The most common requests are:

WHAT CAN I DO to make my next project look unique and different from all the rest?
HOW CAN I make my design snap?
TELL ME MORE about coating techniques...

Let me tell you about a collection of projects I have in my Coating Techniques Binder.

These are a variety of one-of-a-kind samples that are a direct result of a lot of brainstorming and tests done both on and off press over these past 20 years. Some show the same project with different techniques done to show the differences. Ask to see this binder to view just what can/cannot be done in order to accomplish something new and unique.

I know it is very difficult to tell or show your customer what you are trying to accomplish with a technique. This is especially true when the types of materials available are quite limited. We have all kinds of ideas for you to consider. In addition, some really good Coating Technique books that show options are also available to you.

A few things to keep in mind when considering a Coating Technique:

  1. COATINGS not only help protect or make certain sections of your projects stand out, but making small changes in the type of coating used can make all the difference in the world.
    Note:(Fingerprinting can be an issue, the type of stock and color of ink underneath will usually dictate this. Please discuss with me so I may direct you down the correct path.)

  2. VARNISH can be run either clean/contaminated, wet/dry trap, as spots on their own, or right next to each other, or as floods. You have gloss, satin or dull options to choose from as well.
    PROS: Precise spot & overall application
    CONS: Low degree of protection
               Susceptible to yellowing
               Requires offset spray powder
               Releases volatile organic compounds
               Slower production time-additional drying needed before printing 2nd side

    View an example

  3. AQUEOUS can be done as a flood in gloss, satin or dull. There are special and very expensive plates available to make Aqueous a spot if necessary.
    PROS: Good protection against fingerprinting
               Will NOT yellow
               Fast production time-seals sheet, print 2nd side immediately
               Environmentally friendly, water soluble
    CONS: Difficult to spot apply with precision
               Requires at least 80lb test weight of stock
               Susceptible to UV Burn. See UV burn issue.

    View an example

  4. COMBINING VARNISH WITH AN AQUEOUS together can be done by running one on top of the other for a variety of outcomes. You can also use a dry or wet trap.

  5. UV COATING is another nice touch that can be done as a spot or flood in gloss or satin. This is the best type of coating to use when protection is needed.
    PROS: Will NOT yellow
               Provides more protection than other liquid coatings
    CONS: Shows fingerprints
               Susceptible to UV Burn. See UV burn.
               Can make folding difficult, cracking may occur
               Increased production time

    View an example

  6. RAISED SPOT UV COATING is now available. It combines the look of thermography and UV together. A very nice and different approach for many types of applications. This technique is so new, however, that not all the info on what can/cannot be done, what type of stocks are best, if different types of coatings can run at the same time and/or if it can be run two-sided are known at the present time. I have some really neat samples of this process available to show you.

  7. STOCK CHOICE can yield a very different look and feel with each combination, such as using a coated sheet-gloss, dull, velvet, satin or matte with a coating technique. However, using an uncoated sheet typically will not give you any real noticeable effect or benefit.) See Picking the Right Paper.
    See the following links for even more information on coating on polypropylene, polyester and nylon films.

    Stora Enso's ED #4-Coatings Comparison Chart

    Polypropylene-Pros & Cons

    Polyester-Pros & Cons

    Nylon-Pros & Cons

    Next I will list out a FEW items of what is included within the collection. Again there are about 50 plus different ones for you to view!

    1. Same image on the same stock, one having a Satin vs. Gloss Aqueous coating-great example for those who are not sure which to use.
    2. Subliminal World Globe materializing off of a solid light PMS background using varnishes-great for subtle differences.
    3. Subliminal Map materializing off of a solid metallic background run with a spot gloss and spot dull contaminated varnish-shows how you can make it as strong or weak as you may want.
    4. Radio waves coming out from a label pin with a combination of spot & dull varnish versus using only one varnish and contaminating it with different percentages of PMS color-great example to show you each step you could accomplish.
    5. Finger holding a globe computer chip over a sky background using a spot varnish and aqueous to make them stand out-helps you bring the focus to a certain area.
    6. Lots of different Icons on a white background using different coatings. We tried 3 different techniques to show a subtle to a very noticeable effect.
    7. Same as number 6., but on a purple background, again using 3 different techniques to show.
    8. Metallic duotone halftone image coming together with a coating over-using metallic as a duotone is always new and different.
    9. Spot dull varnish running underneath a flood aqueous over a solid PMS color showing line art vs. small copy-ideal for pocket folders or brochure covers.
    10. Same as number 9. along with halftones showing icons in the solid areas.
    11. 4 Color images standing out from other brochure designs/colors using a combination of spot varnish underneath flood aqueous-makes certain areas stand out from the rest.
    12. Halftone image run with contaminated varnish over black background-makes it stand out, a technique of its own!
    13. Double hit of black with a contaminated dull varnish image coming out of background.
    14. Process black fingerprint image coming out of a rich black background-cool look!
    15. Different rich black combinations with process black images coming out of the rich blacks-really a great sample for heavy coverage.

    Again, it is much easier to show you examples of the previously mentioned options. They are available to you for viewing at any time. Just call me at 612-278-1568 and I'll gladly drop by to discuss options as well as show you samples consistent with what you are wanting to accomplish.

    Other pertinent points when using Coatings:

    (UV burn may occur with some PMS colors when coating with aqueous or UV.)

    Computer to plate technology can give you a variety of screens/halftones being printed at the same time in one pass with a heavy solid. They will not fill in or require you to use two plates as you might expect by using film. How screens of 90%, 87% and 85% look with a major solid when you might be thinking the film starting point was going to be around 75%.

    Printing the same PMS color on a variety of different stocks can give you a completely different color. I have a great sample that shows how one PMS red color on 15 different stocks can look as if many different ink colors were used. Keep this in mind when changing stocks, but still needing to keep a uniform, consistent look.

    There are also some very helpful Paper Selection Charts available. With these, you will be able to see what type of stock within the same family may yield you the look you prefer. Let's say you have an image of a slice of cherry pie - it would be a good choice to go with a warm red paper versus a cool blue shade of white stock. The latter will make your cherry pie appear moldy while the red choice will give you a warm, enticing photo. Mmmm, dessert! You will also see examples of which uncoated, matte, silk, velvet or gloss of the same stock would be a better choice for another type of subject and why.

    My Coating Technique Binder has been a great tool for me to show. Over the years I have had many interesting questions as to what would work best for a particular design or product, and have much experience working with these techniques. Hope this has helped and quite possibly will make you look like a hero on that next project!
    Together, we will find the best method to make your next printed piece really stand out from the rest!

    If you have a production issue not discussed above that you would like me to address, or a project that needs to be looked at, please give me a call or send me an email. I will do whatever it takes to ensure you get the best value for every marketing dollar invested.

    Other issues of TK's Korner that you may find of interest:

    Ink Tour

    Picking the Right Paper

    Press Check Tips


    Desktop Techniques

    Ways to Save Money

    Why Work With TK?

    You can also check out my profile, join my network and view more client comments on LinkedIn at:

    Referrals are greatly appreciated. If you know someone who I should contact, please let me know.

    If you would like to join me on one of our upcoming tours, if there is something that you would like me to address, or if you know of someone who might like to receive TK's Korner, please let me know via e-mail or phone.

    Take care and have a great day!

    Tom Kubinski, Printing Consultant

    Printing Consultant Who Helps You Make Good Impressions
    Direct: 612-278-1568
    Cell: 612-760-3700

    TK Out Standing in his Field

    (PS: If you'd like, Go to and sign up for the Sexton E Trends, a FREE e message service offering print production tips and industry trends designed to make your job easier and your production workflow more efficient.)

    Selected portions reprinted in Print & Media Buyer, a national magazine for the print industry (Search for Tom Kubinski).

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