In the printing industry, lamination refers to the process of bonding a clear plastic film onto printed matter to make it stronger and more durable. In most cases, the bonding is applied to both sides of the printed piece so that it is totally enclosed in the plastic film. This protects the piece from stains, tears, moisture and other hazards that can damage or ruin it altogether. Lamination adds strength and rigidity to a printed piece and also makes the colors stand out more.
Matte lamination produces an elegant, sophisticated finish. It also provides a softer, more natural look that makes it easier to read the printed piece. Matte lamination has a “velvety” texture that makes it pleasant to handle. It also softens the contrast of darker colors so that they don’t stand out quite as much.
Gloss lamination produces a shiny, glass-like appearance that enhances the color and vibrancy of the ink on a page. It is commonly used for business applications such as marketing and promotional pieces. It also works well as a covering for bound information in the form of books, reports and training materials.
With the gloss, the shine finish is giving the artwork a much more striking look, the light reflects off the cover, the blacks are a richer depth. With the matt, the blacks are paler, slightly duller, but overall it has a look of high-class, a sophisticated feel that isn’t trying to grab attention by being ‘shiny’.
Matt lamination gives a subtle, tactile effect that oozes quality, great for items where image and first impressions mean everything.
Whilst forming a protective coating over the print, it does not provide the same level of protection as gloss lamination and can be prone to scratching and fingerprints especially where folding is involved.
Gloss is more high profile, it adds a high gloss sheen often used on brochure covers, menus, magazine covers or presentation folders. It is definitely the high impact option. Gloss lamination forms a protective coating over the print which makes it suitable for items.
Both matte and gloss lamination provide many important benefits for printed materials. These include:
- Enhanced durability. Laminated print pieces can withstand high levels of daily use.
- Damage protection. Lamination protects against damage from fingerprints, liquid spills, stains, smudges, grease, dirt, grime, and much more. When the laminate gets soiled, it is easy to clean.
- Improved appearance. Enhanced ink colors of the printed piece create a more professional look. The added strength and stiffness of the laminated item give the impression of better quality.
- Easy to read. Because it is completely transparent, lamination doesn’t impair or blemish the printing.
- Affordable. Lamination is reasonably priced and can actually save money by extending the life of print pieces and avoiding the need to reprint damaged ones.