What is UV Coating?

Of the multiple surface treatments, UV coating(ultraviolet coating) is one widely used to achieve visually pleasing printed products like business cards, brochures, postcards, folders, and packaging.

UV coating is a compound applied offline using silkscreen or a roller on a paper’s surface and cured with ultraviolet radiation. Compounds commonly used in the coat include calcium carbonate, kaolinite, and polyethylene. They are added to viscosifiers to create a strong bond with the paper.

UV varnish is a liquid applied inline to the product on the printing press and usually used to highlight specific areas of a page such as the images, logos, or slogans.

What Are the Common Uses of UV Coating?

It is a versatile technique utilized for all types of paper products. However, it works best for thicker and heavier weights of paper. You can also choose the extent of reflectivity you desire from your packaging, business card, or brochure surface.

Types of UV Coating

Depending on the appearance and feel you wish to produce with your UV coated printed pieces, you can consider the following solutions:

Gloss UV

Gloss UV, as the name suggests, provides the glossiest of all coatings. If you’re looking for brilliant gloss and a beautiful patina, gloss UV is a good option. To avoid creating a highly reflective (and therefore less legible) surface and an over-the-top shine, you may want to reserve UV coating for specific areas, otherwise known as spot UV.

Matte UV

Matte finishing gives off a feeling of elegance and luxury. Matte spot UV can be applied to specific areas that you wish to highlight. Alternatively, you can opt for flood protective UV, which covers the entire sheet and imparts a rich, vivid effect. However, as matte UV is prone to fingerprints, it may not be the right choice for all products.

Pearlescent UV

This type of coating provides a lustrous pearlescent glow. It combines Gloss UV coatings with metal flecks in different colors to achieve this effect.

Orange Peel UV

Combining a raised design with a textured finish, orange peel UV creates visual interest and unique tactile experience.

The UV Coating Process

As mentioned earlier, UV coating or varnish can be applied offline or inline via a silkscreen/roller or printer, respectively. The areas to be coated and those left uncoated must be indicated first.

The inks and pigments used must be UV-compatible; additionally, the inks must also be hard-drying to withstand the heat of the UV radiation. After UV coating, the sheets are scored and then folded.

Advantages and Disadvantages of UV Coating

There are several advantages and disadvantages of using UV coating:


  • Striking & bold: The ultraviolet coating creates a high gloss, vibrant finish that can significantly enhance the visual appeal and perceived value of the packaging or product.
  • Scuff resistant: It also offers a higher level of scuff resistance in comparison to aqueous coatings and varnishes. UV coated items resist abrasion quite impressively, though the type of coating will also influence the smudge resistance.
  • Fast drying: Quick-drying helps ensure a reduction in lead time and a more efficient process overall.


  • Chemical burning: Depending on the PMS color used, UV coating can be susceptible to chemical burning.
  • Compromised quality and appearance: If the process of printing is not set-up properly, the output of the print may come out a bit defective.

Overall, UV coating provides a sleek and premium appearance to the print quality of your product and is an excellent choice if you want to make a striking first impression.

For alternative coating options, you can also check out: Varnish & AQ coating

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