Varnish vs. Laminate – What Label Coating is Right for Your Products?

varnish vs. laminate: what label coating is right for your products?
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Trying to decide what label coating you should add to your product labels can be confusing. In this article, we discuss varnish vs. laminate and what label coating is right for you.

Paper labels are great for many uses but won’t hold up as those protected by a varnish or laminate. You should use a varnish or laminate when you want to protect your printed label from exposure to moisture, abrasion, and light, as well as things like smudges and fingerprints.

Varnish and laminates can also boost the visual appeal of your label with a smoother, glossier finish. If you want a more natural look with texture and no shine then you should avoid a topcoat. However, if your label needs protection from the elements and you want to keep it looking good for a long time, then you should definitely consider a varnish or finish.

So then, what’s the right finish for you? Our Avery label experts have provided some insights into the difference between varnishes and laminates so you can decide what you need.

Varnish label coatings

We apply varnish over custom printed labels to seal and protect the ink and the label. Varnishes help protect against scuffs and abrasions. Varnishes also typically cost less than laminates but they don’t hold up as long.

The liquid coating is available in glossy or matte finishes, and usually matches the underlying paper i.e., matte varnish for matte paper and glossy varnish for glossy papers. Matte varnishes on labels provide a muted look on upscale products. Glossy varnishes are shiny but not as shiny as laminates.

Laminate label coatings

Laminates offer ultimate label protection. The coating is available in a thin bi-oriented polypropylene film (BOPP) or Thermal Transfer (TT) polyester that’s applied after printing to seal and protect the ink.

Laminates are ideal for labels that will be exposed to moisture, abrasion & light. We highly recommend them for products that are packed, shipped, or shelved. They’re Great for items that face tough environments or that come in contact with oils or chemicals.

Laminates come in both glossy and matte finishes, as well as a thermal transfer for secondary printing. They’re great if you want a more pronounced sheen and texture than varnish. With a glossy laminate, you get a shiny, polished finish.  On the other hand,  matte lamination offers a smooth, no-glare finish.

For more information or if you need help placing an order, please contact our Customer Care Team at 800-942-8379 for more information.

Author: Melanie Neff

Melanie has an extensive writing background built on an impressive journalism foundation. As a reporter for USA Today and The Los Angeles Times for almost 20 years, she covered everything from the Los Angeles riots, fires, and floods to LA Lakers, Raiders and Clippers games and movie premieres. She followed her newspaper career with a long tenure covering commercial real estate financing and development. Melanie has been writing about small business marketing and labeling needs for the last 12 years. She thrives on reading, researching and expanding her knowledge of everything going on in today's business world and looks to provide the most valuable information she can to her readers.

4 thoughts on “Varnish vs. Laminate – What Label Coating is Right for Your Products?”

  1. Inquiring about your textured laminates. Do you have a product line for using in conjunction with self-adhesive vinyl?
    I’d be interested in samples:

    1. Hi Steve,
      I sent your comment to our Account Services team. They should be reaching out to you early next week.

      Thanks for reading!

        1. Hi Tynayko,
          You can order free samples of Avery custom printed labels here. Just fill out the form and will send you the label samples for free so you can see all the differences. Thanks for reading!

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