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Types of Print Finishing

Visual engagement and communication are vital for any organization beyond mere aesthetics. A well-rounded strategic print marketing plan impacts how your company is perceived. However, elevating your ordinary printed materials further will convey your brand message and create lasting impressions that resonate with a diverse audience.

So, what are the different types of print finishing, and what print finishes can I use?

In this article, we’ll delve into the basics of print finishing and discover the impact of these features on visual appeal. You can learn more about each print finishing method and gain insight into choosing the right print finish for your company.

Types of Print Finishing
Source: / Photo Contributor: zefart

What Is Finishing in Printing?

Print finishing refers to the actions applied to your printed materials once they come off the press and the ink has dried. You’ll find several types of print finishing techniques that will ensure you get the desired effects.

At CityPress, this step is a crucial phase that helps us transform basic prints into extraordinary designs. With our expert print finishing services, you can create designs that will captivate your audience, convey your message, and elevate your printed materials' overall impact.

Knowing the basics of print finishing and the variety of finishes is essential for selecting the right method that aligns with your specific needs. We recognize the power of print finishes; hence, we offer tailored printing services to make your brand stand out in the dynamic landscape.

The Impact of Print Finishing on Visual Appeal

Print finishing techniques such as varnishing, lamination, or foil stamping enhance the color vibrancy, creating a visually stunning impression. The gloss or matte coatings create sharper details, intricate patterns, and even metallic accents, enhancing the overall outcome of your designs.

Beyond aesthetics, the texture and feel of printed materials significantly contribute to their allure and perception. Finishing methods like embossing and debossing add depth to the artwork, creating a unique charm to the final product.

Whether you’re looking for a smooth touch, a tessellated surface, or a raised texture of intricate pattern details, we can utilize these techniques. We can create designs perfectly tailored to your desires.

Common Types of Print Finishing

What are the different types of print finishing techniques available, and what are the finishing processes in printing? Understanding the significance of each print finish technique is a critical factor allowing you to design with specific textures, features, and visuals in mind. Here are the common types of print finishing:


Lamination is a widely used printing finish technique that involves applying a thin layer of protective coating over printed materials. It preserves the pigments and enhances durability and longevity. 

This method offers aesthetics and functional benefits. It is ideal for businesses seeking to create visually impactful products while ensuring resilience against everyday wear and tear. The lamination process typically utilizes a plastic film, whether glossy or matte. It is carefully applied to the surface of the printed materials. 

While the matte finish promotes sophistication with subdued colors, the glossy lamination enhances vibrancy, creating a vibrant, polished appearance. Lamination can also create sharp, quality prints, making it popular for business cards, book covers, and other printed items.

Beyond the visual impact, lamination is an exceptional protective shield, guarding your printed materials against various external factors. This includes protection from wear and tear, moisture, and fading from sun exposure.

Source: / Photo Contributor: Photoimpuls


Commonly linked to wood, varnishing is a popular and versatile print-finishing method that involves applying a transparent liquid layer onto the paper's surface. This creates a smooth and even finish without adding too much weight. 

This technique serves several purposes, primarily enhancing the visual impact of your printed materials and providing a matte, glossy, or satin finish to the surface. Beyond the aesthetic capabilities, varnishes offer exceptional protective attributes, keeping smudges, fingerprints, and scratches off your finished product.

Additionally, varnishes offer several finishes, each providing unique and distinctive characteristics to fit your needs. They are:

  • Gloss Varnish is a type of varnish that adds a reflective shine, making the colors pop and creating a polished appearance. With brighter and more vivid results, it is most commonly used in brochures and flyers.

  • Matte Varnish is smooth, providing a subbed and non-reflective finish, adding sophistication and tactile quality. It is commonly used to alleviate the appearance of images.

  • Silk Varnish balances matte and gloss, offering a common ground and creating a subtle sheen without being overly flashy.

Source: / Photo Contributor: Mateusz Atroszko

Foil stamping

Foil stamping is a distinctive printing finish. It offers a unique way to make your marketing materials stand out by adding a sense of luxury and elegance to your printed products. 

A thin layer of metallic or pigmented foil is applied onto the material's surface using a heated metal die and a foil stamping machine. This method highlights crisp lines and larger design elements rather than refined details and patterns that may get lost in the final product. 

Gold and silver are great lettering or line art, providing a hint of glamor, while holographic foil has a futuristic and fun allure. Ultimately, foil stamping results in a reflective design that distinguishes your brand with a brilliant sheen, drawing attention to its unique appeal.

Moreover, the versatility of this method extends to a range of colors, finishes, and materials applications. It’s widely used in various industries, including invitations, business cards, packaging, and marketing products.

Foil Stamping
Source: / Photo Contributor: Patrycja Peciak

Embossing and debossing

If you want to add a three-dimensional element to your printed materials, opt for the sophisticated look of embossing and debossing finish techniques. Both techniques enhance the visual impact while adding a tactile aspect to your prints.

Embossing creates a raised impression on your paper material to emphasize logos, texts, or intricate patterns. The process involves using two dies on either side of the sheet of paper to achieve a raised and textured effect and altering specific areas of the printed material. 

This type of finish adds a multisensory depth for the client or customer. It provides a product they can visually appreciate and engage tactilely, leaving a lasting impression on your brand.

On the other hand, debossing is the complete opposite of embossing. This technique involves pressing certain areas of the material down, using the reversed embossing method, creating a depressed effect. 

It’s also called “letterpress” and is considered one of the oldest printing finishing techniques. Debossing imparts a subtle yet impactful touch, adding refinement and tradition to any design.

Embossing and debossing
Source: / Photo Contributor: Ahmad Zulfiannur

Spot UV

There are several reasons why spot UV is one of the most favored printing techniques in the printing industry. Spot UV finishes add glossy details to your print and raised coatings to highlight specific areas of the printed surface. The features promote light-catching effects, contrasting the treated and untreated surfaces.

Once the printing process is completed, the spot UV method utilizes UV coatings, which are clear, tough liquids. It applies them to chosen areas of the printed surface. The liquid is then cured through ultraviolet (UV) light exposure, causing it to harden and create an impactful tactile effect. 

This element not only enhances the visual aesthetic of the final product but also provides a subtle texture. It promotes elegance and sophistication, ideal for business cards and brochures.

Spot UV
Source: / Photo Contributor: mr ziko

Choosing the Right Print Finish

Before settling down on one print finishing technique, you should consider several factors to ensure the desired impact and effectiveness of your print marketing strategy. This includes the following:

  • Selecting print finishes that align with your brand’s personality.

  • Choosing a finish that will appeal to your target audience.

  • Tailoring the finish based on your project’s content and purpose.

  • Balancing aesthetics and practicality with your budget constraints.

  • Considering the environmental impact and opting for eco-friendly finishes to align with your company’s values.

  • Choosing the type of print finish compatible with your project timeline.

  • Ensuring consistency across various material applications for a seamless brand image.

By carefully weighing these factors, you can ensure you choose a finishing technique that aligns with your brand identity and communication objectives. This will help in obtaining the desired results.


Now that you know the different types of print finishing, you can confidently select the most suitable method to enhance your printed materials' visual appeal and effectiveness. Elevating this marketing strategy with print finishes even further is key to creating a memorable visual impact.

Our teams at CityPress are committed to delivering a perfectly tailored service for your brand. We offer a range of customizable options to attain all the benefits print finishes offer and elevate your designs.


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