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matte and glossy business cards

The Difference Between Matte and Glossy Finish (with Infographic)

Do your clients often ask you to recommend the type of finish that best suits their print job? While there are certainly plenty of finishing options to choose from for any given paper print product, sometimes having more options can make the decision harder.

To narrow down the options, you can begin by asking whether your client wants a matte look or a glossy finish. Once your client decides which style they are looking to achieve, you can then present them different specialty finishes. Here is a guide on when to choose matte and glossy finishes.

difference between matte and glossy

Matte Finish

Matte finishes do not reflect light, and therefore do not have a lot of shine. This finish is silky and smooth to the touch. For example, SinaLite offers two different types of matte finishing:

Standard Matte

  • One of our most popular options
  • Created by printing ink onto coated stock
  • No finish is applied after printing (the ink that sits on top of the paper usually provides a light sheen)
  • Usually the most cost-effective option

Matte / Silk Lamination

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Recommend a matte finish to your client if they:

  • Want softer colors and soft focus images
  • Want an elegant, understated final product
  • Are using the printed product in a tactile environment

Glossy Finish

Gloss finishes are very shiny with a glass-like reflection. By reflecting light better, gloss finishes offer a greater sheen. SinaLite offers three different types of gloss finishing:

AQ Coating

  • A semi-gloss look that is the perfect compromise between glossy and matte
  • Offers a level of protection from dirt and fingerprints
  • This water-based coating is applied after printing

UV Coating

  • An impressive high gloss look that is our shiniest finish
  • Colours appear vibrant and saturated

Gloss Lamination

  • Rather than a spray coating, this is a glossy lamination that is applied after printing
  • Creates a protective layer on the product while adding shine

Offer glossy finishes to your clients if they:

  • Want printed colors to appear more vibrant
  • Want sharper, more detailed images
  • Are using the printed product at point-of-sale

There are many unique finishes and looks that help make a printed product unique to your client’s brand. Besides the matte and glossy options listed above, there is even matte lamination with spot UV coating, which emphasizes specific design elements with gloss. Just remember that the finishing depends on the company branding, product design, and function. 

Haidan Dong

Haidan Dong

Formerly in Prepress
Currently in Content
SinaLite

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