Let’s start with the technical stuff first and look at what a laminate actually is. Often referred to in the trade as ‘celloglazing’, laminating involves a thin sheet of film, adhered with heat and pressure, to either one or both sides of a base printed sheet. The usual finishes are gloss or matt, but recently a velvet feeling ‘soft touch’ option has become available.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF LAMINATING MY PRODUCT?
The usual suspects for laminating are packaging, book covers, presentation folders, business cards and postcards, and most creatives use the process for either aesthetic reasons or to add some form of protection to the printed piece. A matt celloglaze gives a smooth, silky finish, and a gloss enhances the richness and vibrancy of colour.
Often overlooked though are many of the ‘technical’ benefits a laminate can offer. First and foremost it stops the paper underneath from cracking. Often noticeable when dark solid colours are printed over folded areas, a laminate bonds itself to the clay surface of the paper and stops it cracking.
WHAT SHOULD I BEWARE OF WHEN LAMINATING?
While the benefits certainly outweigh the negatives, there are considerations when choosing to laminate your paper products.
Do I still need to write on it? Gloss laminates are difficult to write on, but generally, a matt finish is ok when using a ballpoint pen.
Are my corporate colours important? Something often overlooked is the slightly milky finish characteristic of a matt laminate. If clothing or corporate colours are critical opt for a gloss laminate instead.
Am I printing solid blocks of dark colour? With the ‘soft touch’ and matt finishes, marking and scuffing is more noticeable with dark printed colours.
Am I laminating just one side of the sheet? Although this won’t happen overnight, laminating only one side of the sheet will eventually allow moisture into the reverse unlaminated side. So over a period of time, you’ll start to see your covers curl ever so slightly. The lighter the paper, the more noticeable the curl.
What thickness of paper am I using? Laminate or celloglazing is generally only suitable for paper stocks over 170gsm. Anything below this weight can crease as it goes through the machine.
Do I want parts of the page unlaminated? Celloglazing is an ‘allover’ process. It’s not possible to laminate some sections of a page and not others. There are other processes that can be used for this application.
CELLOGLAZING, NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH …
Print terminology can be confusing for the layman. Heck, it’s even confusing for the experts at times, so it’s important to make sure the labels you use are correct so you get the desired result.
Visually, laminating can often be confused with a UV varnish or encapsulating. Here’s the difference between the two.
UV Varnish. This process creates a high gloss finish by using a viscous liquid. It is not a plastic film and can therefore be applied to sections of a page. Celloglazing is all or nothing.
Encapsulating. Although a type of laminate, encapsulating creates an airtight pocket around a single page. It requires a salvage around all edges and the finished product is more rigid than celloglazing. Generally, you’ll find signs, certificates and important documents encapsulated for protection. It is not suitable for book covers or folders.
Celloglazing can certainly add an extra dimension to your printed piece, not to mention give it durability. Suitable for both digital and offset printed applications, laminates can be applied to one or two sides on paper over 170gsm. Most common are gloss and matt finishes, although a new ‘soft touch’ option has been released onto the market.
Printcraft has inhouse laminating for both digital and offset printing, with a brand new A1 Autobond 105 THS laminator. This handles gloss or matt applications and can apply laminate to BOTH sides of the sheet in one pass.
For more information, or to price up laminating as part of your next printed job, contact the team at Printcraft.