Often, after asking the question “would you like a varnish or a lamination”, our customers will ask “Do I need one?”. That’s a difficult question to answer, as the label supplier. While there are applications that require no additional protection the vast majority of applications we see at Custom Label require either a varnish or lamination. These coatings offer both aesthetic character to the package and a layer of protection to the printed label.
Varnishes are liquid coatings that are “printed” onto the label surface. Water-based varnishes dry through evaporation and are often called “aqueous varnish” or “press varnish”. UV Varnish is a uv-cured varnish - often with a very high gloss sheen. Varnishes can protect the label from abrasion and scuff, while added interesting aesthetics with different finishes. Gloss, Matte, and Satin finishes each deliver a unique image. Computer Imprintable varnish allow for thermal transfer printing in an end-use environment. Food-Safe varnishes are safe for secondary food contact in most applications. If the varnish is used for label detection, a varnish with extra Optical Brightener can improve your manufacturing line efficiencies.
Laminations are thin layers of film that are adhered to the label surface, providing an actual plastic barrier between the label and the environment. There are two main types of lamination: self-wound lam and linered lamination. Self-would laminations have adhesive on the lam, but are wound on themselves like a roll of transparent office tape. This is economical, but can leave air bubbles and irregularities in the finished label. Linered laminations are created much like other pressure-sensitive materials - with a release-coated liner separating the adhesive. Linered laminations are more expensive, but have a higher-quality look with better clarity, particularly if applied to a film label substrate. Similar to varnishes, laminations are available in gloss, matte, and imprintable versions.
Which is Right for Me?
Both varnishes and laminations provide protection to your label. Laminations can “cheapen” the look of the label, with a “plastic” appearance. However, if your label is exposed to oils/solvents/agents or is in a high-scuff environment, lamination might be a safer choice. To choose the best coating for your label, call Custom Label. We will guide you through selection of best materials for your label!