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How to impress with print in 2023

Updated: Nov 15, 2023

Want to bring the wild into your printed material? Print embellishments can reflect contours, textures and raw touchpoints to take marketing material and internal collateral to the pinnacle. Read how below.

Thanks to Canva, TikTok, Snapchat and Instagram, anyone can pick up a smartphone and produce almost anything digitally today. And that’s great fun. Posts, stories, reels and videos brighten up each day for millions of people who consciously choose to absorb a large majority of content online.

But, whether we like it or not, we all absorb a lot of content offline too – mostly printed content. Labels, signage, packaging, product branding, books, magazines, etc.

So how do we make sure that printed content looks schmick and engaging too? (Remember, it also sticks around a lot longer than digital content!)

Aside from having excellent design resources, the key is to invest in quality print and interesting finishing effects. Below are 12 styles of embellishment that can bring print to life on a page to impress any target audience.

1. Matt or Gloss Laminate

The sheen and texture of both Matt and Gloss Laminate is more pronounced than their equivalent machine varnish options, while also providing a layer of protection. Matt laminate is a great enhancement to add a sophisticated and warm touch to covers, presentation folders, brochures and business cards. Gloss Laminate on the other hand offers more depth, shine and brightness.

2. Textured Matt Laminate

This raw and gritty sandpaper-like finish protects an image and compels the user to reach out and touch. Used in place of other styles of laminate, this embellishment is relatively underused and is great for those looking for something striking and tactile.

3. Spot Texture UV Varnish

Taking sandpaper texture to the next level, adding textured UV varnish to key elements produces a raised finish to create a three-dimensional enhancement that looks and feels alluring, especially on book covers, brochures, advertising and packaging.

4. Hot Foil Stamping

This elegant and timeless enhancement uses a letterpress printing process but applies foil instead of ink via a heated metal die. With a vast array of foil colours and styles available, you are limited only by your imagination.

5. Embossing

Embossing is the process of creating a raised relief effect on designs or images. The letterpress process pushes an image out on one side, creating a raised three-dimensional surface. If it’s done in reverse, we call it Debossing.

6. Soft Metal Effect

This finish uses a metalised polyester film that is adhered to the paper prior to printing. Available in both silver and gold as either a highly reflective or a soft metal finish.

7. Soft Touch Lamination

Providing a soft texture with a deeper, rich and luxurious finish; soft touch lamination is often compared to the skin of a fresh peach. The ‘velvet feel’ adds a layer that results in a long-lasting image with a premium look, and compels the user to interact with the delicate finish.

8. Opaque White Ink

Well suited to printing high value commercial applications for marketing agencies and high-end brand owners, this effect creates a gentle sheen, or a soft glow appearance, enabling the use of coloured, synthetic and transparent substrates for high impact.

9. Spot Glitter UV Varnish

Glitter UV varnish is a speckled and shimmered finish, available in a range of standard colours including gold, silver and rainbow, which make it attractive for a wide range of printed media, from packaging to greeting cards and magazines.

10. High-Build Spot UV Varnish

This process creates an embossed-effect coating, using a clear UV Varnish which has a raised texture for all to see and feel. A great way to highlight and lift important elements of your print.

11. Spot Gloss UV Coating

Gloss UV provides an eye-catching glassy finish, with minimal lift to the surface dimension. Often combined with a matt laminate, this creates an effortless and refined result.

12. Anti-scuff Matt Laminate + Spot Gloss UV

The Anti-scuff finish is resistant to scuffing and scratching, which is ideal for dark images and frequently handled items including book covers, presentation folders and business cards. Well used items exhibiting this style of laminate will look as good as they did on day one. Matched with any style of spot UV varnish, patterned images will integrate seamlessly to this finish, attracting the eye to study an image close-up, while fingers are drawn to touch the textured image pattern.

At Complete Colour, we work with a team of loyal suppliers alongside our skilled in-house team, to achieve the very best print effects.

After 30 years of printing in Melbourne, our team can recommend the best paper stock, printing technique and enhancement for each job. Our trusted partners Spicers and Ball & Doggett provide the majority of our paper stock, and we work closely with Marvel Bookbinding, one of Australia’s only remaining major large-scale binders.

Contact to find out how we can elevate your next project.

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