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Printing Lingo: What is UV Coating?

An interesting use of gloss UV Coating to add creativity and elegance

UV Coating is a tough clear-coat applied over printed materials to 1) protect against scratches, tears and fingerprints and 2) enhance the brilliance of the ink colors.

Recommended Uses

UV Coating is recommended for printed pieces which will be handled frequently, such as presentation folders, the covers of paperback books and some types of business cards. It is also recommended for promotional pieces that aim to grab attention, such as flagship brochures and direct mail postcards.

Why is it called UV Coating?

UV Coating is applied in liquid form, then exposed to Ultra-Violet light which bonds and dries it instantly…hence its name "UV Coating." It can be applied over the entire printed piece (called Flooding) or it can be used as a Spot coating to just highlight particular areas. In addition, UV Coating is available in a variety of sheen levels, with high gloss being the most popular.

Points to Keep in Mind

Compared to other coatings, UV Coating is tougher than Aqueous Coating though not quite as hard-wearing as a plastic laminate. Also, because a UV Coating is a relatively thick coating, it will generally require pre-scoring to reduce cracking when folded.

Finally, it is important to note that because a UV Coating has such a slick surface, you will have difficulty writing, overprinting, rubber stamping, gluing or applying certain labels to its surface. Thus, if you intend to imprint or adhere anything after your pieces are produced, notify your printer in advance so he can "block out" certain areas from receiving UV coverage.

Give us a call if you have questions about UV Coating or any other coatings used on printed materials. There are many coating options to choose from, so let Formax help you decide which is best for your particular print project.

Take care! Keith

About the Author

Keith Beaty is the owner of Formax Printing Solutions in St. Louis, MO. Formax provides a complete array of offset and digital printing services. Specialty areas include book printing, full-color printing, laminated printing, map printing, plus mailing services. If you ever have a printing question or project you would like to discuss, Keith is always happy to help. He can be reached at 866-367-6221. Keith and Formax have been providing worry-free printing and related services since 1985.

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