Printing Lingo: What is a -�Soft Touch-� Finish?

Printing Lingo: What is a - Soft Touch- Finish?

In printing, the term "soft touch" is often used as a generic reference to any finishing method that adds a velvety soft feel to print materials. Unlike most design elements that appeal to the sense of sight, a soft touch finish allows a printed piece to gain distinction by stimulating the sense of touch.

Sometimes called a "soft-feel" or "velvet" finish, soft-touch finishes are growing in popularity—particularly for book covers, presentation folders, and many other types of promotional printing where distinctive qualities are important.

What does a Soft Touch finish feel like?

When describing a soft-touch finish, it is difficult to capture its unusual texture with the written word fully. However, many people describe it as feeling like short-napped velvet, smooth suede, or soft chamois leather. But regardless of each individual's interpretation, a soft-touch finish definitely gets noticed and almost always elicits an inquisitive response to its unique and unexpected feel.

Many traditional printed pieces, particularly promotional pieces, have a shiny appearance and a slick feel. This is usually attained by the application of a gloss aqueous coating, UV coating, or laminate. Conversely, a piece with a soft-touch finish will have a subtle texture with almost no sheen.

How is a Soft Touch finish achieved?

A soft-touch finish is achieved by applying either a soft-touch coating or a soft-touch laminate film. Soft-touch coatings are applied in liquid form, usually inline, after the printing ink has been applied. The coating then dries with the "soft feel" texture.

On the other hand, a soft-touch laminate is a specially textured matte plastic film bonded to the printing. The distinct, low-luster surface of this special laminate provides a soft feel.

Bear in mind that a soft-touch coating is less expensive than a soft-touch laminate, but the laminate adds durability to the printing whereas the coating does not. Also, for best results, it is recommended that any soft-touch finish be applied over high-quality coated papers and cardstocks.

If you have any questions about soft touch finishes, or if you have an upcoming "soft touch" project, give Formax a call at (314) 434-5500 or (866) 367-6221. Or, if you already know your project specifications, submit our easy quote request form. We look forward to assisting with your next print project.

Take care! Rick