Make Your Packaging Shine!

by Austin Johnson April 20, 2015

Did you know that according to, up to 2/3 of products are ignored in a retail environment? Packaging is one powerful strategic marketing tactic you can use to really stand out. Structure, size, shape, and substrate are all packaging options to consider when planning for packaging that pops. But sometimes its’ the finishing touches – the foil, embossing, and coatings – that really make the difference. In this article, Tap will help you understand the differences between the various coatings and finishing techniques available to you. Aqueous, varnish, and UV– what’s the difference?

Types of Coatings

UV (or Ultra Violet Coating)

UV spot coating (gloss) applied to chocolate drizzle


  • Applied to the printed surface and cured on a special machine using ultraviolet light to harden the coating.
  • Available in satin, matte, gloss and soft touch finishes
  • Highest gloss finish compared to aqueous coatings or varnishes.
  • Offers protection because of it’s harden coating
  • Can be applied to entire surface or by printing plate to give a UV spot coating.



  • Water-based coating
  • Provides good protection from fingerprints and other blemishes.
  • Can be formulated to be heat, moisture and grease resistant (Be sure to explain how your packaging will be used – testing is always recommended).
  • Available in satin, matte, gloss and soft touch finishes.
  • Typically applied to the entire surface
  • Often times less expensive than UV coating, but doesn’t quite have the same high gloss effect.


Matte Aqueous coating applied with a spot gloss varnish

  • Clear ink with polymers to determine the gloss or shine that is applied through the printing process by plates.
  •  Typically used for spot printing – highlights specific areas to add shine or depth
  • Has the lowest gloss finish compared to aqueous and UV.


  • An effect achieved by using a dull spot varnish and then an overall aqueous gloss coating. The dull spots and high gloss contrast give the package depth and interest.

Embossed packaging

  • Gives the product a new dimension by either raising or lowering a selected area on the package.
  • Depending on the substrate thickness, the emboss could be subtle or more dramatic.
Foil Stamping

Gold foil imprinting

  •  Metallic (foil) paper is applied by heat and pressure.
  • Available in variety of different colors.
To learn more, contact Tap today!

















Austin Johnson
Austin Johnson