5 Print Finishes To Spice Up Your Design

Finishing is the value-added process that takes place after printing. It is the general term used to define anything done to a product after it is printed. In fact, the most critical element of the printing process is the finishing because it can help turn "common" into "unique", and "ordinary" into "extraordinary". At Colour Time, we offer a wide selection of finishing options, ranging from UV coating, embossing and foil stamping to special folds, die cuts, and glueing.

Today we focus on 5 common finishes that you can apply to your designs:

1. Varnish

This is one of the most used finishes in printing. A varnish finish is a colourless coating of either gloss, matte, silk or satin – it is applied to enhance the look and feel of a design and can also protect the paper from wear-and-tear. It can also be applied to a selected area of the design (referred to as "spot varnish") to highlight or emphasize specific elements.

  • Gloss – Great for enhancing photographs. Gives a more vibrant look.
  • Matte / Dull – Ink colors appear softer on a matte finish. Text can be easier to read.
  • Satin / Silk – In between gloss and matte – not too glossy, not too dull.
  • UV Varnish – High shine finish applied with ultraviolet light – appears "glossier" than typical varnish.

uv varnish

2. Embossing / Debossing

Embossing is a stamping technique in which specific elements of the design are raised from the surface. Debossing is the opposite effect of embossing. These techniques can be applied to a design with or without the use of ink or foil (blind embossing). An uncoated stock usually gives the best effect.


3. Foil Stamping

Foil stamping is the process of pressing a coloured foil onto paper with a heated die. Foil stamping can add texture and a touch of elegance to a design. It is mostly used to enhance typography and logos, and there are a wide range of colours and textures available.

Foil embossing

4. Die Cutting

Die cutting is the simple process of cutting paper into a particular shape – if the shape of your design is not rectangular, it will need to be die cut. Die cutting is also becoming increasingly popular with business cards as more people opt for rounded edges.

die cutting

5. Folding

We all know what folding is – and in printing, the types of folding available are vast. There are accordion folds, double parallel folds, roll folds, gate folds, letter folds and more. Fortunately, you won't need to be too familiar with this terminology – that's what we're here for. 🙂 All you need to know is that folding can help to enhance your printed piece.


These are just a few of the many finishes that can be done with your printed piece, but we hope that these examples will inspire you with new ideas for your next print project. If you have something in the works, don't forget to call or invite us in at the early stages of your planning process. Our experienced team will help ensure your printed project is successful. 🙂