Different types of coatings- UV, Matte, AQ, Laminated, Uncoated

From Business cards to Postcards all of your printed material needs not just protection but the right appearance and the proper coating can help give your project what it needs.  There are a variety of different coatings that can be applied to paper to help your project stand out and to protect it, each one has its own purpose.  Here are the best coatings out there.

What is UV Coating?

UV stands for ultraviolet and it is a type of coating that is applied to paper and then run through a machine that applies ultraviolet light. This light causes a very shiny finish that also appears glossy. During the curing process, the coating will harden, strengthening the paper underneath. Common products that comes with UV coating are Business Cards, Postcards, Door Hangers, Product Labels and many more products available on our website. Many products have this finish to make them durable and attractive.



UV Coating



  • Dark and/or rich colors appear vibrant and attractive
  • Increases durability of the paper
  • Makes the paper water resistant (not water proof)
  • High clarity finish
  • No volatile compounds or solvents


  • Not good for lightweight paper
  • Not good for something that needs to be written on
  • Highly reflective, which can make the text hard to read
  • Fingerprints are more apparent

What is Spot UV Coating?


Like UV coating, spot UV coating is a process that uses ultraviolet light to cure a coating on a printed material. The difference is that spot UV coating can be done on only a portion of a document. It can be finely applied leaving a design protected while the rest of the document isn’t touched. This can leave your document with an artistic finish.





  • Choose what is coated
  • High End look at affordable price
  • High clarity areas


  • Can’t be written on

What is Matte Coating?

Most people are familiar with the term matte when it comes to paint, the non-reflective or Dull Coating. The same holds true when it comes to paper coating. A fine coat of varnish is applied and then dried on the surface of the paper. Matte can look great with black and white imagery or material. It gives the material a more corporate feel.


Matte Coated rounded corner business cards



  • Writable with some pens
  • More resistant to fingerprinting
  • Non-reflective, so enhances the readability of text


  • The colors are not as vibrant as UV Coating

What is AQ Coating?

AQ is a type of finish that comes highly recommended for those who are looking to have their business products printed. It stands for Aqueous Finish. It is created from cellulose and needs to be applied right after the paper is inked. You will find yourself with a glossy paper that has texture. The number one reason this finish is so loved is that it is extremely affordable while being environmentally friendly.



  • Fast drying
  • No yellowing over time
  • Affordable
  • Easy to use
  • Environmentally friendly


  • Not super high gloss
  • Less abrasion protection
  • No solvent resistance

What is Laminated Coating?

The process of lamination involves coating paper with a plastic sheath. This sheath is applied using hot temperatures or cold temperatures depending on the item being treated. Lamination is the coating you choose when you want your end product completely protected. Lamination is a traditional process for protecting printed material. Laminating bigger items may be costly as bigger machinery is required. There are different types of lamination that we offer- Gloss Lamination, Matte Lamination, Silk Lamination, Soft Touch Velvet Lamination and Ultra Suede Lamination.



  • Material is protected from water
  • Material is protected from UV rays
  • You can use dry or wet erase markers on the surface
  • Easy to do a single page


  • High cost per unit
  • Slow process

What is Uncoated?

Uncoated paper and material is very simple; it is the material without any finishing layers. This can leave the material unprotected but can also be done for a reason. Uncoated material is by far easier to write on than any other material, making it a great option for letterhead or business cards that might need to be written on. It may also give a classy and elegant appearance to your material.

uncoated business card with emboss and color edges


  • Easy to write on
  • Classy appearance


  • Less protected
  • Not as smooth
  • May not age well

Each coating option and even the choice to go uncoated has its benefits and drawbacks. Picking the right one means being informed. Now that you the different coatings available for your products you can make an informed decision on what you need to protect your material while leaving its appearance in tip top shape. Visit our website to order a free sample pack!


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