Packaging: Matte or Gloss Lamination

matte vs glossy

In essence, lamination makes the product ‘ready’ to be put into the hands of consumers. You can consider two types of lamination: Matte and Gloss.

Whether it applies to the surface of a paper bag, book cover, label, or packaging box, lamination enhances the visuals and tactile feel of the product. It also serves as a protective layer to resist scratches and unexpected damages.

What is Matte Lamination?

An easy way to determine if the bag or packaging box is matte laminated is by observing if light reflects off the surface. In other words, if it isn’t flashy, you’re looking at matte lamination!

Next, assess the aesthetic properties of the surface. Does it look sober (no sheen) yet elegant and luxurious? Are the colors a bit muted, and is the depth of color somewhat lacking?

These characteristics define a matte laminate. While the overall effect of matte laminated surfaces is somewhat understated, it is noticeably high-end and sophisticated.

A blue custom box with matte lamination.
photo: pakfactory

What is Gloss Lamination?

In contrast to matte lamination, the gloss has a lustrous quality as light bounces off the surface. Therefore the effect is that of vibrancy, better image contrast, and more vibrant depth of color.

Gloss laminated bags and magazines draw attention to themselves; in this respect, they can be viewed as flashy to their subdued matte counterparts.

For this reason, they may lend themselves well to brochures, cover photos, perfume boxes, and book spines. Gloss lamination can refine a product differently from matte lamination.

A red custom box with gloss lamination.
photo: pakfactory

A Comparison of Benefits

Comparison PointMatte LaminationGloss Lamination
AppearanceLush, soft, low-key, higher perceived qualityShiny, dynamic, high-impact,
higher perceived quality
ProtectionScratches and scuffs are less visible on the film laminationResists fingerprints, dust
and dirt

Grime and smudges can be
wiped easily off a gloss laminate

Scratches, indents and
imperfections are more visible
on glossy surfaces
Receptive to InkYou can write over a matte laminate label or menu cardA glossy substrate is a difficult
substrate to write over
GlareMatte lamination doesn’t produce any glareThe glare from the lamination
can pose a problem in research

However, if poster sessions are
lit by lights placed up high above
the posters, then glare is leveled
towards the floor and doesn’t cause any readability issues.

Which of the Two Should You Choose?

The answer to ‘which one is better’ must be prefaced by ‘what will the lamination be used for?’ to make an informed choice. As discussed above, each has its pros and cons; depending on the application, the drawbacks may not matter or be moot.

In fact, you can consider the ‘best of both worlds’ scenario. For instance, applying a matte laminate over a glossy label can make barcode scanning easier and allow users to handwrite over it when such a need arises.

Some may view matte lamination as being boring; however, adding glossy laminate over a matte label can provide a lustrous patina and a smoother look.

  1. Nothing like starting off my day reading and learning about something cool. Your blog post accentuated my breakfast perfectly! Thank you 🙂

  2. An amazing article. It’s nice to read a quality blog post. I think you made some good points in this post.In essence, lamination makes the product ‘ready’ to be put into the hands of consumers. You can consider two types of lamination: Matte and Gloss.

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