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This article will explain how finish is applied to your cover paper.

The printing process is almost complete. Your book block is now finally ready to be bound, but before binding can happen, the parent sheet that will become your cover needs to have a finish applied to protect it. Finishes can be gloss (high-shine) or matte (low-shine), and come in two distinct types: varnish and lamination.

A varnish is a liquid finish applied on the printing press to your cover paper following the same process as if it were an ink. The varnish style usually matches the coating of your paper (gloss or matte) and protects the ink on your cover. If you choose matte varnish, you can add spot UV to make select parts of your cover matte.

Lamination is the most protective card finish. Lamination is a thin polypropylene film that is applied after the printing process is complete. As seen in the video at the bottom of this page, a lamination machine glues a roll of film onto the printed parent sheet to produce the desired effect.

For digital-offset printing (domestically printed projects), adding a finish to covers is a secondary process and does not occur on the press. Instead, cover sheets are fed through a coater when varnish is required, or fed through a laminator when lamination is required.

On rare occasion, you may opt to skip the cover finish. This provides a raw look and feel, but it’s important to note that it provides no protection, leaving your cover more susceptible to damage. If you want a matte finish, we recommend adding a matte varnish instead of opting to skip the cover finish.

Watch a matte lamination finish being applied to cover paper

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