Putting on the Glitz

Putting On the Glitz: How to Make Your Print Marketing Shine

The best print jobs always add a bit of flair to the final product. A glossy finish can set your paraphernalia apart from its competition, especially if you are marketing in a more selective B2B space. Here are a few of the best looking ways to “put on the glitz” and make your print material shine.

The metals used in metallic ink often include zinc, aluminum, copper or bronze.

Metallic Ink Printing

Using an ink that actually has metal in it sounds cool on its own, but there are numerous advantages to the process. You can add another level of definition to text and imagery using metallic ink.
The metals used in metallic ink often include zinc, aluminum, copper or bronze. Each ink type has its own set of unique characteristics, including colour and texture, that create vastly different looks. Companies often use metallic ink printing for large pieces such as certificates or posters.
The one disadvantage of metallic inks – they are less durable than comparable techniques because of the metal beads rising to the surface of the printed piece. However, if you are careful of keeping your posters out of the rain, you can have an incredibly impressive and elegant final piece with the potential to attract elite markets.

Foil Stamping

Although metallic ink printing and foil stamping are considered similar to each other, they are not the same. Both are attention getters, but foil stamping uses a thin foil film layer instead of a beaded metallic ink. The look of foil texture is slightly different from metallic ink, and the effects that you can create are much wider – fluorescent, clear, dull gloss and even holographic looks.
Foil stamping has its best effect over simple designs with thicker lines, especially if you are trying to imitate a reflective effect. The advantage of foil stamping is its durability, because foil uses heat to press the foil layer into the print rather than raising the ink on the print like metallic ink pressing.
Foil stamping may also be referred to as foil bloquing.

Silver Foil Stamped Cover

Samstag Legacy – Matt laminated + silver foil stamped cover

Spot UV/Varnishing

If you are looking for a slightly less apparent look, you can choose a varnish or spot UV finish. This is a great choice for business cards and smaller prints that would otherwise rely on a paper finish.
Varnish gives you a coat of gloss, silk or matte that also protects the paper that it colours alongside giving it a professional shine. Spot UV coating is slightly glossier and can be used on certain areas of the card to draw a contrast between different colours, surfaces or textures. Colours can also be enhanced and appear much richer with a spot UV finish.

Imprint - Spot gloss UV varnish

Imprint – Spot gloss UV varnish

Many of the techniques above may also be combined in order to create a hybrid technique or a combination within the same printed piece for striking textures. Contact your print partner for ideas about the technique or techniques that may work best with the project that you are considering. If you are looking to create a piece that will naturally draw attention to certain areas of your piece and attract an elite audience, be sure to consider one or more of the finishes mentioned above.

Have you ever designed a glitzy print campaign? Tell us about it in the comments below.


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