Coatings/Varnish Printing Plates

Print coatings can help your printed products stand out by making them more durable, more elegant or by bringing the reader’s attention to the right spot.

Aqueous coating is a clear, fast-drying water-based coating that is used to protect printed pieces. It provides a high-gloss or matte surface that deters dirt and fingerprints. They provide more substantial scuff-resistance than varnishes. Aqueous coatings are typically applied to the entire printed piece, usually by the last unit on a printing press. Due to its water base, aqueous coating is more environmentally friendly than varnish or UV coatings.

Varnish is basically clear ink and can be gloss, satin or matte. A flood varnish covers the entire printed page for protection or sheen. A spot varnish allows you to highlight specific areas of a printed piece and adds shine and depth to specific elements on the page such as a logo or image. Varnishes are also applied on-press, but they are heavier-bodied and can be applied (like inks) to only certain areas (spot varnish). A press plate must be created to apply a spot varnish, so artwork that clearly defines where to apply it is necessary.

UV coatings are cured by exposure to ultraviolet light to quickly dry and harden the coating. UV coatings provide the highest gloss finish versus other coatings but may crack when scored or folded due to the thickness and hardness of the coating. UV coatings can be applied as a flood (covering the entire printed sheet) or as a spot coating and can be applied on or off press. Spot UV coating can be a great way to bring the reader’s eye first to your logo, or to your special offer. UV compatible inks must be used on sheets that will be UV coated. UV coated sheets cannot be foil stamped and embossing should be done after the coating.

Take a look at our field-proven plates.


HelioCoat is an elastomer printing plate used in flexo printing. 

Typical applications include printing flexible packaging, labels and coating/varnish.