What is glazing or laminating?

Proceso de glasofonado o laminado para impresión.

Glazing or lamination is the process of applying a thin layer of plastic to sheets of paper or card to enhance and protect the printed material. The most common types of lamination are glossy, matte and silk. Lamination is often used for packaging, book covers, brochures, business cards and other printed items.

Types of glazing or lamination

The following is a description of the most common types of glazing that are commonly applied to different print jobs:

Gloss lamination or glazing on business cards.
Business card with glossy lamination

Gloss: Gloss laminates are often a popular choice, and it’s not hard to see why. Writing and images tend to appear sharper and more defined, as well as having more contrast.

Gloss laminate is also a durable option as it repels dirt, dust and fingerprints with ease. If the laminate comes into contact with dirt, it is easily wiped clean thanks to its glossy texture.

Business cards with matte embossing.
Cards with matte embossing

Matt: Matt embossing provides an elegant and sophisticated finish, making it a common choice for many. Compared to other glosses, a matt laminate has a more “natural” look. Unlike gloss laminate, matt laminate can provide a softer look, as it can produce less contrast in darker colours.

The texture of a matt laminate is velvety, which makes it pleasant to handle for many users.

Glazed silk plus selective gloss varnish.
Glazed silk plus selective gloss varnish

Silk or Softouch: Silk lamination follows the same principles as traditional lamination by coating ordinary paper with a layer of plastic to make it stronger, more desirable and tougher. However, what differentiates the two is that silk lamination has a softer exterior and a superior quality due to the strength of the bond created between the paper and the plastic coating of the lamination.

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The material is not 100% matt or glossy, but it reflects in certain lights in the same way as silk. The finish also means that the product will be more attractive and is considered a “premium” option, as the finish is smooth and natural looking.

Silk glazing is commonly used for finishing business cards, brochures and book covers. It is an adaptable finish that gives a clean look to a wide range of products.

What are the advantages of glazing?

Both matt and gloss lamination offer many important advantages for printed materials. These include:

  • Higher durability. Plasticised printed parts can withstand high levels of daily use.
  • Protection . Lamination protects against damage caused by fingerprints, liquid spills, stains, grease, dirt and much more. When the laminate gets dirty, it is easy to clean.
  • Better appearance for the product. Improved ink colours of the printed item create a more professional look. The increased strength and rigidity of the laminated item gives the impression of higher quality.
  • Easier to read. As it is completely transparent, lamination does not damage or spoil the print.
  • Affordable price. Lamination is reasonably priced and you can actually save money by extending the life of the printed parts and avoiding the need to reprint damaged ones.

On what type of products is glazing used?

Glazing is used in a wide variety of printing projects and is ideal for items that are constantly handled. For example:

  • Restaurant menus
  • Price lists
  • Maps
  • Educational material
  • Bookmarks
  • Business and membership cards
  • Marketing material

Laminating also helps protect printed parts that are used in dirty or wet environments. These include machinery warnings, operating instructions, safety signage, reusable labels, etc

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. In these environments, the plastic film often extends beyond the edge of the printed part so that the two layers can be bonded together. This provides an airtight seal that prevents dirt, moisture and other contaminants from entering the interior.

Frequently asked questions about glazing or lamination

Why should I use lamination on my print products?

Laminate finishes offer many advantages to the user, such as being tear-resistant, more durable and water-resistant. Having laminated materials also allows them to be handled more and prevents wear and tear from everyday practices such as wrinkling, staining and sun damage.

How much does it cost to laminate a product?

That will depend on the product to be laminated, size, type of glazing, etc. Gloss lamination is usually cheaper than matt lamination, although many printers offer both options for the same price.

Softouch lamination is a premium option, so it tends to cost more than the other lamination options mentioned.

Without any doubt, softouch lamination is a very worthwhile option for the advantages it brings to our product, even if it means a small increase in price.

Which type of glazing is better: matt or gloss?

The choice between matt and gloss lamination depends on the printed piece and the intended use. Both types provide a strong, clear coverage that makes text and graphics fully visible to the reader.

However, it should be noted that matte absorbs light while glossy reflects it. This makes a big difference to the look of the printed piece and the impact it has on people.

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Matte lamination is a better choice when:

  • The printed piece will be placed in direct light (e.g. shop signage). The matte finish helps deflect any glare, making the piece easier to read at any angle.
  • The printed piece is not handled frequently. Matte laminates can easily scratch or scuff from excessive use.
  • You want a modern, sophisticated look. Matte makes a great first impression.
  • The printed piece contains subdued colour tones.

Gloss laminate is recommended when:

  • The printed piece is an item that is handled a lot every day. Gloss provides a higher level of protection than matt and is easier to clean.
  • You want the piece to have a strong visual impact. With gloss lamination, colours seem to jump off the page.

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