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How UV Coating Affects Properties of Paper

by Sara Duane | June 25, 2014

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If you’ve ever designed marketing materials for a business, you’ve probably been advised at some point that they should be UV coated.  What exactly does UV coating do for your print materials?  It changes the properties of the paper upon which your design is printed.  It can impact both your visual design as well as how well the printed piece stands up to use.

Here are five ways UV coating affects the properties of paper:

glossy and matte UV coating

Glossy on the right/bottom, matte on the top/left. See how the “Living Space” glossy brochure reflects more light than the one beneath it.

1. Matte or Glossy. First and foremost, it gives the paper a matte or glossy finish, depending on what style of UV coating you choose.  This adds a level of sophistication to your marketing materials.

2. Thickening of Paper. When you add a UV coating, you are adding materials to the paper. This has the effect of making it thicker and more rigid. For example, an 80# cover weight paper with UV coating applied will feel closer to a 100# cover weight. Please note that UV coating is not available for text weight stocks.

scuff marks from mailing machines

Scuff marks from a postal mail sorting machine.

3. Protection of Ink. The UV coating is applied after the ink has been put down on the paper. This offers an added layer of protection to your design to prevent scuffing, smudging, or fading. The message or design printed on the piece will be viewable for longer if it is UV coated.

4. Mailing Services. When you select postcards, brochures, tri-fold brochures, or booklets, and you also order mailing services, Smartpress will automatically add a UV coating to your order and alert you that we are doing so. This is to protect your design throughout the mailing process. A scuffed mailed piece reflects poorly on you and your business, so we do what we can to deliver a well-printed piece to the people on your address list.

folded uv coating cracks

Cracked UV coating in a spot that was not intended to be folded.

5. Potential for cracking. This is the only real negative for UV coating but can be avoided for the most part. Cracking occurs in UV coating when the piece has been bent or folded in a place where you didn’t intend to bend or fold it. When we create a UV coated folded piece, we score first, then fold.  Any additional folding that might occur after production could impact your design. For example, if someone shoved your booklet into a drawer and the corner caught on something and folded over, there might be a crack in the UV coating in that spot.

UV coating is a great choice for many digital printing projects. Take into account the information above when you design your next printing project and take advantage of UV coating’s many benefits.

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