Got It Covered
"Lamination has been considered the Cadillac of coating because of its aesthetics, durability and ease of processing," explains Jennifer Cantwell, marketing manager, D&K, Elk Grove Village, IL, a supplier of film and equipment with subsidiaries in the U.K. and North Carolina. "Its cost is easily justified because of these three factors." Lamination as a choice of finishing, she says, preserves the cover and enhances its look. Compared to aqueous and UV coating, film lamination provides better abrasion resistance, less yellowing, less fingerprinting and less cracking of the spine of the book, Cantwell notes.
As with any finishing technique, she says, certain colors may shift when film or coating is applied to the substrate.
Lamination, says Lynn Rice, marketing manager, GBC Film Products, Addison, IL, comes in three basic finishes: clear/gloss, satin and matte. Clear/gloss is a brilliant finish which creates an illusion of a "sharper" image by reflecting light; satin finish is semi-gloss and reduces glare and color shift. Matte finish is non-reflective; it also reduces glare.
One cover design effect involving lamination, says Rice, is to laminate the cover with a matte finish and then spot-coat the area that is designed to stand out, such as the title or the author's name.
Three types of finishing films--polypropylene, polyester and nylon--are used in conjunction with foil-stamping, embossing and spot-coating. The finishes protect the cover from wear and tear, such as fingerprinting, spine cracking and abrasion.
Polypropylene, says Cantwell, being the clearest and brightest of all three, she says, offers a high-gloss "wet look" and is typically used for softcover books and jackets. It's softer than polyester and nylon, and therefore folds well. However, polypropylene doesn't offer as much scratch resistance as polyester, she notes.
Used for hardcover books and jackets, polyester, says Cantwell, also folds well but is durable and doesn't become brittle with age, thus offering very good scuff and scratch resistance. Nylon, used for softcover books and sometimes referred to as "curl-free" or "layflat," offers non-curling properties.