Varnish is a clear coat that is placed over-top of the print on the front of the card. This additional layer can be used to add a bit of style to your card with a spot-varnish, give a complete layer of protection with a full-varnish, or let the textures of the ink shine through with no-varnish. There are some situations where the type of varnish you choose can result in a significantly different product, so read on below to learn the times you most likely will and will not want to use a specific finish.
Please note that if you plan on writing or printing on your cards after we have produced them (i.e. thermal printing or a signature), you must leave at least a ½” safety zone around those areas where you CANNOT use varnish. Please contact us for more information.
Full-Varnish is pretty self-explanatory in what it is. With this option, we coat the entire front of your card in a layer of UV cured varnish. This results in a very reflective and smooth, glass-like surface on the front of your card. This coating is extremely resistant to damage and so it is ideal if you know your cards will take a beating. As a general guideline, here are some ideas of when you will want to use Full Varnish on your cards. Remember that these are simply guidelines and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to this.
Your card background is a solid dark colour with no textures or patterns
You need your card to be extremely durable
You are looking for that reflective and smooth, glass-like surface
No-Varnish is also pretty self-explanatory in what it is. With this option, we do not put any varnish at all on your card. This will result in ink on the face of your card, and will allow your cardstock option to stand-out anywhere there is white in your design. This can result in some extremely neat effects as the different levels of ink in your design can actually add a texture to the card, or you can simply let the “matte” stock of your card retain its textured feel on its own. The texture will stand out the most when using a dark colour on a white background. Our inks go through the same UV curing process that our varnish does, so while not quite as durable, it is still extremely resilient to general use without the layer of full-varnish. As a general guideline, here are some ideas of when you will want to use No Varnish on your cards. Remember that these are simply guidelines and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to this.
You have well-defined textures that you want to stand out on the card (i.e. wood grains, patterns, etc).
You are using a “Matte” card stock
Your card is predominately white (i.e. just a logo centred on a white card)
You are looking to have the Whites in your design be very crisp and bright (varnish will slightly tint the whites)
A Spot-Varnish is where you get to be fancy with finishing your card. This option is where we will print varnish only in a specific location(s). This can be used to add subtle visual textures to your card or to protect small areas that have ink. When designed correctly, the final product with a spot-varnish will stand out as a premium product. We recommend working with our team of designers to assist you in creating a spot-varnish file as it can be tricky to get perfect! As a general guideline, here are some ideas of when you will want to use Spot Varnish on your cards. Remember that these are simply guidelines and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to this.
You have a logo, icon, or some other spot on your card that you want to stand out a little bit from the rest of the card
You want to protect most of the card, but want to leave a small section without varnish to allow for writing on the card (i.e. signature panel)
You want to add that subtle texture to your card or accentuate a texture that is already there from the ink