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Packaging: Matte or Gloss Lamination

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 visual quotient 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 ascertain 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 palpably high-end and sophisticated.

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 richer 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 in a different way from matte lamination.

A Comparison of Benefits

Comparison PointMatte LaminationGloss Lamination
AppearanceLush, soft, low-key, higher perceived quality

Shiny, dynamic, high-impact, higher perceived quality


Scratches and scuffs are less visible on the film laminationResists fingerprints, dust and dirt.
Grime and smudges can be wiped easily off a gloss laminate surface.
On the flip side scratches and indents and imperfections are more visible on glossy surfaces.
Receptive to ink?

You can write over a matte laminate label or menucard

A glossy substrate is a difficult substrate to write over.

Matte lamination doesn’t produce any glare

The glare from the lamination can pose a problem in research posters.
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 a ‘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 unexciting. Adding glossy laminate over a matte label can provide a lustrous patina and a smoother look.

About author

Mark Velarga is PakFactory's Director of Digital & Content Marketing. He writes about all things related to design, business and technology and how it serves value to customers, business owners, packaging designers and industry experts. Connect with him on Linkedin.
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