Finishing Touches: Everything You Need to Know About Laminations and Finishes for Labels

Finishing Touches: Everything You Need to Know About Laminations and Finishes for Labels

Labels are an essential piece of your product. They are what your consumers first experience when they look at and handle your product. The packaging and the label often form your customers’ first impressions of your product. A high-quality label can win new customers, and a poor-quality one can discourage customers from purchasing your product.

Unfortunately, despite the importance of high-quality labels, few businesses know how to achieve that high-quality look and feel that major brands often have. Laminating and finishing labels are critical factors in taking your products to the next level of professionalism and quality. But countless laminations and finishes are available—not all of which are right for every situation.

In this guide, we’ll go over everything you need to know about laminating and finishing options so that you don’t spend money on selections that aren’t perfect for your needs!

Laminations vs. Finishes

Laminations and finishes are two different layers you can apply to your labels, each with a unique purpose. Therefore, it’s essential to understand what each one does for your label before deciding if one (or both) is right for your application.

  • Laminations combine a film layer and an adhesive layer through heat or pressure to protect your label from abrasion and chemical exposure.
  • Finishes, on the other hand, are chemical layers or physical effects that add the final visual touches to your label. These give your label that glossy or matte look that makes it look like a million bucks!

Depending on the uses of your label, you may want a laminate, a finish, or both. Read on to learn about the main types of each.

Types of Laminations

There are a few different types of laminations that you can choose. The first two options are the standard gloss and matte, while the last three are specialty laminations

  • Gloss Lamination: This laminate will give your product a shiny and reflective finish. It’s visually similar to plastic wrap and probably what you think of when you hear the word “laminated.”
  • Matte Lamination: Matte laminations are exactly the opposite of their glossy counterparts. Instead of giving your product a reflective sheen, this lamination will give it a more natural or organic appearance. It often has a more textured finish, similar to paper. Apple is renowned for the matte finishes that it applies to its packaging.
  • Soft Touch Matte Lamination: A soft touch laminate falls on the spectrum between glossy and matte—it still has some shine but not as much as regular gloss. This matte finish often has a higher degree of reflectivity or shininess than a pure matte, but it is still very muted.
  • Holographic Lamination: This label lamination adds an eye-catching element that no other label can offer. It’s a laminate that creates a three-dimensional look, similar to the holograms on credit cards and passports. Holographic lamination gives an appearance of luxury and adds depth and dimension to the label.
  • Thermal Lamination: If you’re looking for a laminate that will provide your product with extra protection from heat, cold, and moisture—thermal lamination is just what you need. It offers additional protection against heat and cold and increases its overall durability so that it lasts longer than other types of labels.

Types of Finishes

Laminates are one part of the equation for making high-quality labels. Finishes are the other part. You can choose various finishes for your labels, and each type has its advantages, so read on to learn what they are!

  • Spot UV Finish: Spot UV is a great way to add gloss or sheen to your label design without compromising its readability. This finish uses ink infused with ultraviolet light-sensitive particles that absorb the light when exposed and appear as shiny spots on your labels.
  • Cast & Cure Finish: This durable high-gloss finish is ideal for labels that need to stand up to wear and tear. It uses UV-cured ink infused with microscopic particles that harden upon exposure to ultraviolet light, giving your label a shiny surface.
  • Hot & Cold Foil Stamp Finishes: A foil stamp finish will give your label a glossy, reflective appearance. It is accomplished by embedding microscopic metal particles into the ink layer before printing. There are two kinds: a hot foil stamp finish uses heat from an induction machine to cure the ink quickly, while a cold foil stamp finish uses pressure to bond the metal particles with the ink layer. A common example of a foil stamp finish would be a metallic gold or silver sticker on wine bottles.
  • Embossing Finish: Embossing is a common label finish that adds texture and depth to a label. It is created by pressing a stamp onto your label material to create an image in relief. The more pressure you apply, the deeper the embossed effect will be. This finish is a great option for emphasizing your logo or the most important piece of information on a label.
  • Tactile Finish: A tactile finish is a finish that you can feel. It raises the surface of your label, ranging from a very subtle bumpy effect to an extremely pronounced 3D relief (an embossed is technically a tactile finish). This finish is a great option for adding dimension and a sense of luxury to your label.

Summing it all up

Now that you know the difference between laminations and finishes, you can decide which ones are right for your labels. However, if you are still uncertain or want an expert to guide you through the process, don’t hesitate to reach out and/or request your sample brochure on our website. Our sample brochure showcases all the different stocks, laminations, and finishes that we carry! We are experts in this field and would love to hear from you and help you through this process. Contact us today.

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