Finishing Touches: Varnish or Lamination?

Finishing Touches: Varnish or Lamination?

Finishing Touches: Varnish or Lamination?

Label coatings not only add visual appeal to your label, but also provide protection so that your label can withstand special conditions. When deciding which type of coating to add to your label, your choices are varnish and lamination. From there, you can choose between glossy and matte.

The first place to start when choosing between varnish and laminate is to consider what sort of conditions your label is going to be exposed to. You should also think about the type of visual and textural effect you’d like your label to have.


A varnish is a transparent liquid coating that is printed onto the surface of the label, and can provide either a glossy or matte finish. A glossy varnish will provide a smooth, even, and shiny surface to the label. A matte varnish will provide a smooth and even surface that has no shine. One benefit of a matte coating is that it provides write-on capabilities if you prefer to hand-write on your labels rather than print. A varnish can protect the label from minor irritants such as dirt, smudging, fingerprints, and abrasion. Varnish provides a lower degree of protection compared to lamination, but is generally less expensive.  


While both varnish and lamination add a nice layer of protection to your label, lamination will provide the best form of protection. Lamination provides a plastic film barrier to your label through thin layers of film that are adhered to the surface of the label. In addition to protection of minor irritants that a varnish provides, lamination can also protect the label from oils, solvents, UV rays, harsh abrasion, chemical exposure, and extreme temperatures. One huge benefit of adding lamination is that it can also provide water resistance. Lamination is also available in both glossy and matte. Glossy lamination tends to provide more shine over varnish lamination, and matte lamination will give your label a nice, smooth finish.  

If you’re still undecided on which coating will work best for your label, give us a call at 1.866.ZIPTAPE! We’ll happily guide you through the decision process and help you choose the best coating for your label. You can also visit us anytime at!

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