Gloss lamination refers to a process in which a thin transparent gloss film is laminated onto the printed surface to protect and enhance the paper surface. The laminate is normally bonded by heat and can be applied to one or both sides of the sheet. The thickness of the laminate varies from very thin to semi-rigid. The selection of the appropriate gloss laminate depends upon its purpose. Gloss lamination produces a shiny effect on the print underneath whilst maintaining legibility.
It is a commonly used print process that improves both the visual appeal and longevity of a printed product.
Gloss Lamination Advantages
There are a number of functions performed by gloss lamination; some of these include:
- Adding more shine to the photos and background color on the printed surface. Gloss lamination enhances color and highlights text and graphics.
- Adding a protective layer to the surface and creating a shield against moisture damage. The lamination protects against dust, dirt, grease, and scratching. This is particularly useful when a printed product is used frequently.
- Preventing the chance of color damage during the process of binding.
- Protecting the book spine of thicker books from getting damaged.
- Enabling the laminated cover and pages to be cleaned if required.
- Extending the life of the printed material, thus saving costs.
- Producing a more professional looking printed product.
Gloss Lamination vs Matte Lamination
Gloss lamination protects and enhances printed materials. Matte lamination also protects printed materials but has more of a softening effect on colors and graphics. It also shows up scratches and other marks more than gloss lamination. For a frequently handled product, gloss lamination may be a better option. Matte lamination is better suited to more premium printed products. It has a classy look and feels.
The content and tone of a printed product or book can be reflected in the choice of the lamination for the cover.
Gloss lamination produces a reflective surface in some lighting. This needs to be taken into consideration when selecting which process is the best for your printing.
Gloss or Matte Lamination – Which Is Better for My Book?
The choice of whether to use gloss or matte lamination for your book can be difficult, but it is an important one. There are, however, certain areas where one or the other of the processes has distinct advantages.
If your book is aimed at children, gloss lamination is normally the wiser choice. The book will be read often and the more protection it has, the better. The chances of the book getting wet, stained and scuffed are higher if your audience is young. The gloss lamination will also enhance the colors and graphics and is certain to appeal to young children more. The design of the children’s book needs to ensure that the use of lamination will not cause sharp edges. For example, board books for children often have rounded corners.
If your book has vibrant, punchy color images and graphics then gloss lamination will ensure they look bright and punchy with plenty of contrast. Gloss lamination catches the reader’s attention with its richer blacks and shiny surface. Bear in mind that this surface may make it harder to read in certain environments.
For practical purposes, as with a workshop manual, for example, gloss lamination provides excellent long term protection. This is especially important when the book may be referred to many times. The laminate can be wiped clean of dust, dirt, grease and finger marks. In this case, a gloss laminate has a more practical than an aesthetic purpose.
Matte lamination is recognized as offering a classy, professional look. It also has a pleasing feel to it. Matte lamination still offers a good degree of protection but tends to mark more easily. This means it is more suited to printed books that are handled infrequently or used by a single reader. Matte lamination tends to soften colors, making blacks paler and less rich. There is also less contrast when matte lamination is applied. However, it does tend to add a level of sophistication to print over gloss lamination.
The choice of gloss or matte lamination is an important part of the design process. You need to identify your target audience. Are they younger, older, professional or practical users? Is the book likely to be handed around, referred to multiple times or just dipped into from time to time by one reader? The cover and choice of lamination need to reflect the tone and content of your book. You may attract or lose readers depending on your selection of laminate. You may feel your book is more suited to a matte laminate, for example. In which case make sure the cover design uses images, text, and graphics that will work well with that laminating process.
There is also an element of following the current fashion involved in lamination selection. It is advisable to do plenty of research before designing your book and selecting the appropriate laminate. The finish and appearance can have a big impact on its appeal. Consult QINPrinting for more information on selecting the correct lamination for your printing project.