Printing Finishes Part 1: Coatings

Printing finishes are a great way to make your printed marketing stand out. They add an extra flair to your designs. Depending upon the printing company used, you may or may not be able to have the specific coating you require. However, many printing companies, such as Adelphi Design & Print, work with other companies, such as AllKotes, to provide more printing finishes. In cases such as this, your company will print out the desired materials, and then forward the final products to the company for the additional printing finishes.

The specific coating options available depend upon the needs of your printed marketing materials. This is due to some paper stocks are incompatible with certain coatings. Below is a list of various coating options1 for printed marketing materials.

AquaKote is a type of water-based coating. It is used to help seal the printed side of any paper products. It is a type of gloss coating. However, it does not contain a high gloss level. The gloss level varies depending upon the type of paper stock used. Spray powder can also affect the overall AquaKote coating results. This coating is often used for adding a scuff resistance to your printed marketing.

GlossKote is a type of liquid coating that helps reduce costs. It provides a super gloss, as well as rub and scuff resistance. Typically it is used for printed items such as magazines, brochures, greeting cards, or other eye catching glossy covers. AllKotes also provides a GlossKote Glueable coating that provides the same printing finish with an additional glue ability feature. Paper stock is very important when working with GlossKote. If your materials show any signs of cracking, the coating will as well. All inks are required to be dry prior to adding a GlossKote. Otherwise, you may experience marks or scuffs in the final product.

GreaseKote is another water-based coating. It is used as a barrier on printed products to enable the product to be grease and oil resistant. GreaseKote can also be used for a high degree moisture resistance. This type of coating is FDA approved, but does not imply your product has food grade conditions. Generally, it is recommended to have two coats of GreaseKote. Otherwise, your paper stock may not function the way you require it to.

HeatKote is a specialized coating option not available from all printing companies. It is designed for products requiring a blister seal. HeatKote has a flexible PVC film that is heated to seal the item(s) to the paper stock. It is very popular in the packaging world.

PatternKote is a type of high gloss liquid coating applied to select areas of a printed sheet. It is used for both effect and to ease post processing. This type of coating is very economical and offers a distinctive look. PatternKote is very similar to GlossKote. The key difference is PatternKote is only placed in selected areas. It is also much faster and more economical than a GlossKote finish.

PearlKote is a unique coating that allows different looks. The overall effect creates a pearl like finish, and when used correctly can even offer a chameleon like effect. This coating style is available in a variety of colours. PearlKote can be used as an all-over coating or to apply in specific areas. The time it takes for this coating varies depending upon the pigment chosen. It can also vary in appearance and intensity depending upon the colour of the printed surface.

PolyKote is used in a large range of products. It uses a poly film around the product and onto the printed marketing material. This coating is used on the front of a sheet and then uses a vacuum forming process to secure the product in place. The film forms a seal around the entire product. PolyKote is a great way to create a tamper proof seal until the film seal is broken. This allows your product to be seen by customers prior to purchase.

The printed finish you use depends upon the desired outcome of your printed marketing material. Coatings can offer protection to your design, create a glossy or dull finish, or they can even highlight a specific visual aspect of your design. The entire purpose of printing finishes is to make your printed marketing materials stand out. How you use them is up to you. The overall look can vary depending upon the paper stock and the printing finish you choose. However, the entire purpose of coating is always the same, to make your printed marketing materials stand out.

1 – These options are titled and based on the printing finishes available from AllKotes, a print finishing supplier to Adelphi Design & Print.

2 All product photos courtesy of

3 – Cover Image courtesy of