Finishing options and varnishing

When you get to the finishing stages you will really discover the strengths beneath the white, smooth surface of paperboard. The fact that beauty is in the eye of the beholder does not exclude our other senses and feelings from also playing a key role. There is a special sense of joy when a designer arrives at a distinctive creative solution that stands out from the crowd. There is also a tactile feel that is instantly recognisable in a carefully finished graphic product. Add common sense plus attention to cost-efficient finishing processes – and you will end up using paperboard.

Thanks to its fibre strength and coating elasticity Invercote is ideal for embossing, even
where the depth of the embossing is more than the thickness of Invercote.


Communicate beauty and luxury, sparklingly expressed on a glossy surface or discreetly understated on a matt or silky surface. A matt surface makes text easy to read while a glossy surface brightens the graphic presentation. But varnishing can add value to your design in many other ways than just the choice between matt and gloss.

By varnishing you can achieve a glossy, satin (semi-gloss), pearlised or matt appearance.

Attract the eye

Because the human eye is very sensitive to contrast, varnish helps you to attract the eye’s attention. A glossy varnish makes colour images look more saturated in their hues. Sometimes you might use it for the whole area of a cover or a card to intensify the message or expressiveness. At other times you might use a glossy vaarnish to highlight a special illustration by making its brightness stand out against a matt background. Likewise, a matt-varnished surface against a glossy one also attracts attention.

You can use varnishing to increase or decrease the gloss of your printed material. With spot varnishing (at right) you attract the viewer’s eye by using different gloss values on the same surface.

Feel the surface

Varnishing is not only a question of attracting people’s gaze; it can also be a method of giving a special tactile feel to a brochure or a book cover. Whether you choose a gloss or matt surface depends on the feelings you want to evoke by the interaction between the eyes and hands of the user.

Varnishing is also a way to protect printed and unprinted surfaces from minor damage. Since the varnish both protects the surface and makes it smoother, it facilitates easy handling. If you don’t want to change the character of the paperboard surface, a normal, thin, water-based or solvent-based overprint is the most suitable choice.

The varnishing operation

The varnishing operation can be carried out during printing (inline) or after printing (offline). There are many possible combinations of printing methods, printing inks, types of varnish and varnishing methods. To find the most suitable combination – that is, to avoid trouble and achieve the best result – it is always advisable to consult with a skilled printer. In general, the best effect and highest gloss are achieved with UV-cured varnish. When offset printing is used the varnish is often applied inline as additional ink without any pigments.

Key paperboard features

The crucial paperboard features for varnishing are largely the same as when printing. Since gloss varnish is intended to reflect light in a uniform way, the result is really dependent on a smooth surface with uniform absorption properties. To be able to reflect – and retain – as many colours as possible, the whiteness of the paperboard is most important. Paperboard fulfils these criteria extremely well.


Iggesund Paperboard
825 80 Iggesund

+46 650 - 280 00

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