Get an Early Start to the Best Finish
Coatings come in a broad array of choices, but depending on the types of book titles that are being produced, it's important to know all of the finishing choices available in order to make an educated and economical decision. BookTech the Magazine asked several coatings experts to offer advice.
"I used to work for an educational publisher, and we [produced] case-bound, hardcover books," recalls Amanda Howard, production manager of Parallel. "The finishing options available included lamination, varnish, UV coating, water-based aqueous coating, or even producing a separate paper dust jacket, although that doesn't stand up well in educational usage."
As Howard points out, application and purpose may largely determine what type of finishing is used for a title's cover or jacket. The list of options may seem short at first glance, but lamination, varnishing and other types of coatings can be manipulated in myriad ways that open up a virtually limitless world of aesthetic possibilities.
When strength matters
Laminating is defined as a plastic layer of film bonded to a printed substrate through a process of heat and pressure. "Laminating will provide the best protection against damage and marking or scuffing. . . For books, lamination is the best," suggests Howard. It's also the most expensive finishing option.
"Lamination is more protective and substantial than UV, aqueous or varnish," explains Larry Amoroso, customer service representative of Coral Graphics. "UV and aqueous [coatings] do not add strength to covers or jackets, but they are a good way to get a matte or gloss effect at a lower cost than lamination."
UV offers some added benefits: it tends to be more protective to the inks than aqueous coatings or varnishes, Amoroso adds. Applying UV coatings, however, tends to be more labor intensive for the printer or finisher, who must operate drying or curing lamps to set the coating. This adds time to the schedule, resulting in slightly higher costs.