• October 2, 2015

How to Choose the Right Printing Finish for Your Artwork

  • Written by Printing Professional

There are so many different finishing techniques to choose from, ranging from special inks like fluorescents and metallics, uncoated and texture inks along with finishes such as embossing, die-cut, thermography and laminating. Each technique impacts the look, quality and message of your printed material so it’s important to consider when bringing your job to your local print shop.

Here are some of the many different techniques we do at Accent Printing:

EMBOSSING (Raised Impression) & DEBOSSING (Depressed Impression)

emboss finish printing
embossed finish for printing

Embossing and debossing are mechanical processes that manipulate the paper. Paper products can become very elegant looking and also portray a professional look. One important tip: it’s important to set your type with more space between the letters or they can merge together.


varnish – print finish technique

There are a few varieties of varnishes – gloss, matte, spot, flood and a few others. Gloss varnish will create a surface that appears smoother and images will appear sharper because of the reflection of light. Using a varnish will give visual appeal by its contrasting effect, and it also has the advantage of providing a protective coating that prevents scuffing and scratching.


Lamination is another technique for providing a layer of protective coating, often glossy or matte, to a printed piece and also makes it more sturdy and water resistant.


foil print finish technique
foil print finish technique

Foil stamping is when a malleable metallic foil is applied to the print with heat and pressure.   It’s typically gold or silver but also available in a variety of colors and even clear! Clear foil is a great alternative to spot varnish as it can maintain its clarity a bit better.


thermography-Braille print finish
print finishes

Thermography is one of the most common/popular techniques in the printing industry. It’s often used in business cards and stationery. Special ink is printed on the paper and then heated causing the ink to rise. It’s available in glossy, flat or metallic finishes. In thermography, a special powder is added to the ink printed on the paper. The printed piece is heated and the powder and ink mixture dries to form a raised – 3D effect on the paper.


die cut business card print finish

Die-cutting is a process that cuts the printed piece into a specific shape using a steel cutting die.  It can be used to punch-out a shape or pattern, or it can cut the entire sheet of paper in a distinct design.


unique print finish business card
unique print finishes

At Accent Printing we’re forever learning and exploring new technology to help our customers create and achieve the printed piece they envisioned!