Printing Finishes Part 3: Spot Coating

Coating starts before you eve decide to outsource your printing project. You need to think about the overall design aspects and what you want to accomplish. There are two main types of coating: spot and flood coating. Flood coating is placed over the entire page, while spot coating is applied only to specific areas. There is only one reason spot coating is used, to make specific sections stand out. This can be highlighting text or graphics, adding subtle design differences, or even creating texture to certain areas of your design.

Aqueous, ultraviolet (UV), and varnish can all be used for spot coating, and there are a variety of options and combinations you can come up with for your designs. The exact coating options you can use depend upon the company you are using for your printing project; and on what types of materials or paper stock you are using, as certain paper stocks are not compatible with specific coating options.

The biggest drawback to spot coating is price. In fact, it is generally more expensive to use spot coating than flood coating. This is due to price being based on the complexity of a project rather than the amount of space the coating covers. However, spot coating has a number of advantages. It adds vibrancy, visual impact, gives designs a more distinct and memorable impression, as well as it can add a multi-sensory impact. This means you can not only see the difference, but you can feel it as well.

Below is a list of coating options1 you can use for spot coating.

BubbleKote adds a three dimensional texture. When used, it adds a raised texture finish that matches the coloring of your printed graphic. It can add a sense of realism to the design, such as making a road feel like a road. BubbleKote is not recommended in sections near folds or trims, as it can cause cracking.

ChalkKote is considered a specialty coating. Simply put, it creates a chalk board area to the designated section. All that is required after print is to use chalk on it. ChalkKote is available in four different color options: blue, red, green, and black. Unlike other coating options, ChalkKote requires the area to be free of any other coatings or ink.

ColorKote is similar to SpotKote, but adds the use of colour. It has the same application process as SpotKote gloss. There are a variety of colour options available. However, some options can appear more transparent than others.

GlitterKote is just like it sounds. It adds a glitter effect to the selected areas of the print project. It has an eye-catching, glossy look and can be applied to a large range of products. GlitterKote has multiple colour options and the coverage of the coating is very important to the overall finished product.

GlowKote is available in two colour options: blue and a luminescent lime green. Just like it sounds, this coating can glow in the dark. It is a fluorescent coating option that needs to be charged up by light for the glowing effect to work. The longer you place it in light, the longer it will glow.

KeyKote & MatteSpot is a combination coating. It uses a glossy film KeyKote to offer protection to the print design; after the KeyKote is applied the MatteSpotKote is placed over top. This creates dimension and a fine surface texture to your design.

LinenKote create a grained look and feel to your design. It is a cheaper alternative than using grained board. LinenKote does not offer the same protection as laminate coating options.

LustreKote is another coating option used to add dimension. It gives a matte foil effect to your design that is often used as an alternative to using foil stamping. This type of coating uses a screen based application process.

MatteKote & SpotKote is one of the most commonly used coating combinations. The MatteKote provides a smooth silk matte finish, while the SpotKote adds a gloss finish. The results create a striking contrast with one another.

PhotoKote works with UV sunlight. The coating option is generally used on specialty products and prints. While away from UV lighting the colour cannot be seen. However, once ultraviolet lighting is exposed to the design, the colours are visible. This coating option is available in red, blue, green, orange, and yellow.

One of the most common options is to use either a high gloss (SpotKote) or a matte (SpotKote Matte) to highlight specific sections of your design. This can include logos, your company name, or other important images or text. SpotKote and SpotKote Matte are great ways to compliment your design, add patterns, or even create a message. The determining factor in choosing between gloss and matte can often be determined by the colours used in your design.

UltraKote is a clear glossy high build coating. It is used to add lift for a more dramatic effect. This coating creates both a three dimensional look and feel. UltraKote is often used as an alternative to embossing because it gives the raised design without the impression on the inside.

No matter what type of coating you use, spot coating is a great way to make your project stand out. It not only adds highlights to a design, but it can even create a multi-sensory impact. You can choose to use only one coating option, or create a combination of coatings to create an even bigger impression with your designs. Although spot coating can be more expensive than coating the entire page, it gives you more control over what you have coated in your design. One of the best parts about spot coating is the design possibilities are endless.

1 – The spot coating options are based, and titled, on the printing finishes available from AllKotes, a print finishing supplier of Adelphi Design & Print. These do not reflect the only options available for spot coating.

2 – All product photos are courtesy of AllKotes.

3 – Cover Image courtesy of Angelique Toner.