Matte vs. Gloss: Which One Is The Best Lamination for Printing

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When talking about the printing industry, many and the common people might only capture the fundamental activities. Printing documents using a printer machine that is it. But beyond the standard usage, you will find the term called lamination. What is it? The terminology refers to the process of wrapping up a printed matter with clear plastic to make it more durable.

The thin plastic wrappers were specially made and designed to add protection to the printed media. In many cases, the laminated printing will cover both sides. But, lamination itself is more than just adding a protective layer. It also works to avoid any disruptive and destructive measures such as tear, moisture, stains, etc.

That is why the term lamination is pretty popular in the printing business or even on furniture. In this article, you will learn lamination for printing. It focuses on how the two most popular options, the matte, and the gloss, are different. At the same time, you will learn which are the best lamination for printing options between the Matte and Gloss. Here are the details.

 

What Is Laminated Printing

Before going deeper into the two options, it is better to learn about laminated printing. It is easy to say that the term is pretty popular in a range of sections, such as physical document protection to furniture layer. However, in the printing realm, the term is pretty straightforward. It refers to the manufacturing process of multiple layers of material.

The multiple layers of material are meant to enhance the stability, strength, appearance and gain other additional properties. The laminated printing is also done by using heat, glue, pressure, or other terms. In this case, printed materials mostly get lamination using heat machines that fuse clear plastic on every other side.

It is also easier to say that the lamination term means adding a coat made of thin plastic on the printed media, such as paper, signboard, or vinyl. The plastic material itself can be made of three different materials, matte, glossy, and silk. There are also other lamination layers with a more specific purpose (decoration). Some of the examples are glitter and textured surface.

Each of them has different properties, characteristics, benefits, and appearance. However, the most popular laminated printing options are glossy and matte. Why do you need lamination? The best answer goes to the ability to elevate the paper or media protection. Laminated printing will be free from scratches or superficial damages.

At the same time, the printing in the media is protected from any possible damages. It can be water damage, fading ink, or paper tear. So, what is the best lamination for printing? When you are looking for the best or more appropriate option, the answer will vary on what and the goal of the work itself.

Most of the laminated printing was meant to make the media more rugged. It also makes the printing job last longer and saves some future budgets. At some point, both matte and gloss lamination can also enhance the appearance. Since both gloss and matte material have different characteristics, each of them will provide a range of effects. Here is what you need to know.

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1. Matte Laminate

The first lamination material that you might find quite often is the matte. Matte, just as the name says, has a more down-to-earth appearance. It also stays true to the name due to the velvety texture of its name. It makes matte quite loved and known in public compared to gloss one. But, it does not mean that gloss laminated printing is inferior.

Both lamination materials give different impressions that make it have a more targeted function. Matte could turn into your best lamination if you got a darker color media. The nature of the matte protective plastic layer ramps up the readability by softening the printed media contrast. It makes many media use the matte as their lamination option.  

It is also easier to consider that the matte laminated printing has a low luster finish with a lower reflective coating. The matte paper film is made with a chemical coating treatment that is done before the production process. It is a very popular option for soft-touch packaging material, label, cover, brochure, tags, and many other media.

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1.1.The Pros

1. Less Reflective

For many people and modern plus fashionable designs, the matte lamination is less reflective than the gloss one. You can find many laminated printings using the protection film to make a unique appearance and a more subtle identity. Due to the less shiny cover and lamination effect, it can fit with certain design considerations.

The best example is the duller or pastel-colored book cover. The use of matte makes enhance the use of the best lamination for printing. It creates a subdued look yet also makes up a rich detail. The less gloss and reflective surface also handle light better. Thus, the reader or audience can capture the text, image, and details better than the other option.

2. Texture For Tactile Experience

Another reason why matte lamination gains more interest is the textured surface. You can easily differentiate between gloss and matte from the reflection plus the texture. It has a subtle velvety touch that makes the laminated printing appear more complex. At some point, the media also enhances the experience with other customization.

The addition of design customization such as embossing, debossing, or other ideas will elevate the user's tactile experience. It works best with many book covers, which need to capture the audience's attention. And lastly, the matte laminated printing also has heftiness and a distinctive feel for it. It can be one of the effective ways to build up identity.  

3. Popular For Fashionably design

Despite having such a unique point, matte lamination is considered one of the popular options. At some point, you can also find how it gains more attention than the standard glossy paper lamination. Matte is now considered a fashionable selection since it gives a particular visual effect and distinctive identity.  

4. Absorb Small Damage And Initially Hide It.

Due to its nature of appearing dull and low tones, many people will not realize the slight damage upon the laminated printing. It is one of the reasons why it gets a lot of attention, especially considering how it hides tiny scratches and scuffs. You can see how the lamination method gives certain points of protection.

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1.2. The Cons

One thing that makes matte the best lamination for printing is its unique appearance. It has a unique laminated printing effect that can appeal to specific users. However, the less vibrant color and exceptional texture might appear unusual for others. That is why many people tend to call it a more washed-out and muted tone.

Along with the darker color and lower contrast, the softer looks might not appeal to many audiences. The ability to hide scuff and scratch is one of the good points. But at the same time, it also indicates that lamination cannot handle spills and stains quite well. It makes matte less durable than the gloss ones. But again, it goes back to personal preferences.

 

2. Gloss Laminate

If matte lamination offers a more down-to-earth, natural, and dull finish, the gloss laminate has the opposite effect. Just like how matte and gloss paperwork, the main difference goes to the appearance. The gloss lamination has a more glass-like shiny surface. That kind of point makes the color more vibrant and contrasts.

Gloss lamination has the same way of the application process. However, it has different results that are worth enhancing every ink and color on the page. A laminated printing using gloss is pretty common, even more popular than matte for marketing or promotional pieces. You can also find almost every book cover in bookstores.

While it does have more popularity, it does not mean it lacks in function than the matte. Gloss laminations are typically made from polypropylene. The gloss laminating material is mostly known for its ability to enhance color, which makes it more popular. The unique point goes to its thin layer of protection.

The thinnest gloss film can reach 1.7 – 3mil thick. It makes it worth the name of best lamination for printing. The thin layer provides enough strength to the media without limiting its flexibility. Thus, you can fold and bend the laminated printing without make breaking or cracking the line. It makes gloss popular among book covers, menus, or marketing media.

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2.1.The Pros

1. More Economical

Gloss laminated printing is usually cheaper than matte. It goes to the fact that matte tends to have a thicker and more durable material. But again, it does not mean that gloss is losing in the durability aspect. The gloss layer can be your best lamination option for low-budget projects, such as book covers, flyers, or posters.

2. Color Enhancement

If you are okay with the glare, gloss offers you a better color grading than matte. In other words, the color will look more vibrant, clear, contrast, and also pop out. It is something that you can use to attract people's attention. It is especially useful for marketing tools such as brochures, posters, flyers, or announcements.  

3. Thin And Flexible

Another good thing about gloss goes to its thin and flexible protective layer. It is considered as the best lamination for printing material that needs to imply richer product or attention. It is easier to maintain and makes the material design more pop. It is also not going to break easily, even with many folds or movements.  

4. Durable

The durability aspect of the gloss laminated printing material can go beyond matte. The glossy coating and a clean, smooth surface help the lamination handle scuffs and smudges. When it has to face dirt or dust, the thin plastic layer allows the user to easily wipe it to clean. But again, it depends on the coating material, such as aqueous coating.  

With different kinds of coating material, you can enhance the gloss lamination one step forward. Aqueous coating is one of the best options that can rival the matte option. It is mostly used to resist and bump up durability. So, your media will not leave a fingerprint. It is mostly used for furniture varnish or packaging laminated printing.  

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2.2. The Cons 

Gloss can be your best lamination for printing, but you also need to consider its contradiction. Due to its nature of creating a more reflective surface, the laminated printing media will easily look beat up. The imperfections such as scratch and scuff are pretty visible compared to the other lamination.

The problem goes to the glossy nature that reflects the light. The scratch or superficial damage can easily capture the light reflection. Thus, it will appear light with an imperfect glare. At the same time, the lighting glare can also deplete readability. It can also devalue the color and finish if the design is not on par or help maximize the use of gloss lamination.

 

Design Consideration

Due to every material having pros and cons, it is best to pay attention for more consideration. One thing is for sure the selection can go based on personal preferences. But at the same time, you can also plan the lamination process to gain the best result out of it. For that reason, here are some considerations to take.

1. Do You Need It?

The obvious rationale that you need to pick the best lamination for printing is the reason. Do you need it? Most of the time, the option is only available for certain reasons. It can be publication, marketing, enhancing the graphic, or elevating the durability. But again, you need to consider whether you need laminated printing or not.

One thing that is for sure is that either gloss or matte lamination can choose more than just stock printing. If you need to print a document that does not last long, such as a presentation, it is better to save money with unlaminated vinyl print. But if you want to make a long-lasting photograph like last year's, laminated printing can help you achieve the goal.

2. The Thickness

If you are sure about the goal and needs, you can continue considering the type of lamination. Remember that color enhancement is the main difference between matte and gloss. The damage protection is on par, depending on the laminated printing media usages. The price between gloss and matte is also one of the things you need to consider.

Talking about cost, you will need to see the matte or gloss thickness aspect. Both best lamination for printing demands a higher price for a thicker layer. You can pick the best gloss or matte with the proper thickness based on your need. On the contrary, your material or sheet thickness also needs more attention.

If you can increase the matte or gloss thickness, your printing sheet should be around three miles or less. If you use thicker paper, the lamination will not stick perfectly. Even worse, it would not work at all. In this case, you might consider the gloss or matte single side lamination. It is a common laminated printing option for posters or booklet covers.  

3. Corner Shapes

Both gloss and matte offer two different corner shapes. You can pick a round or square one, depending on your needs. One thing that you need to consider about the best lamination for printing option is that thickness and corner shapes go hand in hand. A thick square can become sharp edges and make an inevitable safety hazard.  

4. Edging Tapes

The lamination type is not only divided into gloss material or matte paper. The two thin layers have the same edging tapes options, which are sealed or unsealed. Just as the name says, the best-laminated printing option is sealed edge. It is especially true if the environment is prone to liquids, grease, oil, etc. The layer will go beyond the edge to make a seal.  

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When To Use Matte

There are some instances where the matte layer is preferable. You can use it for printing material that tends to be handled very often. It is also the best option for a printing material that is placed under direct lighting. Due to its natural muted and matte color, you can create a modern, sophisticated look that subdues tone impression.

When To Use Gloss

In contrast, the gloss will be your best lamination for printing an item for everyday uses. In other words, more often than the matte material. Gloss will provide better durability and flexibility, which is easier to clean. Gloss laminate is also a cheaper option with a stronger visual impact that pops out, contrast, and vibrant image.

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Conclusion

Once again, gloss and matte material make a great comparison in the realm of printing plus laminating section. The two materials have a very apparent dissimilarity. Gloss over a more vibrant yet shiny protection layer. Meanwhile, the Matte gives a more muted color with a non-reflective layer. You can choose one of the best based on your need, goal, and budget.  

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