Let’s shimmer and shine – our guide to spot UV and foiling

Spot UV and foiling

Here at Solopress, we recently plugged in our new Konica Minolta MGI JETvarnish 3DS machine. While you might not share our enthusiasm for specialist print hardware, you may be interested in the shiny new options that spot UV and foiling offers.

Our video gives you a teaser of some of the stunning effects that can be achieved.

So here’s our handy guide to exactly what these processes are, how they can enhance your designs, and what to do when you want to order them from us:

Spot UV varnishing

Laminated paper stocks tend to be either matt, gloss or anything in between. They offer a uniform finish across the entire sheet. What spot varnishing allows us to do is to define lines, shapes, designs and lettering in a high gloss UV varnish that contrasts with the underlying paper stock. This lets you pick out certain details in a shiny surface texture that’s distinct from the rest of the design.

The finer details

If your notion of varnish is of a thick and gloopy substance, nothing could be further from the truth when it comes to this process. With the ability to apply lines of varnish as narrow as half a millimetre, our JETvarnish printer is able to recreate incredibly fine detail – as well as expansive solid areas.

The thickness of the finish can be as little as three hundredths of a millimetre, pretty much flat to the surface. Alternatively, we can build up coats in multiple layers to create an embossed texture. Delicate or bold, flush or raised, the versatility of this method can enhance a huge variety of designs.

Beyond the surface

Designers will appreciate the opportunities that spot UV varnish can bring. You can really let your imagination run free with the endless possibilities this technique presents. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Make your logo pop
  • Highlight certain lettering
  • Create texture within an image
  • Highlight an entire photographic image
  • Produce a pattern within areas, shapes or even within lettering

Blind spot UV

Intrepid adopters of spot UV finishing might want to explore “blind” spot UV. This is where designs are rendered purely in the gloss varnish, instead of following a printed shape. It’s the contrast between gloss and matt that makes the design distinct from the background. When the UV doesn’t register with any underlying printed image, we refer to this as using spot UV ‘blind’. The design is revealed as light moves across the surface, producing a subtle yet effective result.

Foil printing

Our specialist foil and UV printer uses drop-on-demand piezoelectric print heads to apply and fuse metallic foil material onto the surface of the substrate. In English, that basically means that it sticks foil onto any area of your design ­– with incredible precision.

Gold & Silver – design elements

Much like spot UV, this allows you to pick out specific design elements in striking gold or silver. Here are just a few ways that you can inject some metal into your designs:

  • Render script font in gold or silver foil for super elegant lettering
  • Use foils to pick out metallic elements in a photographic image – like a chrome bumper on a vintage car.
  • Use filigree as a design inspiration, creating delicate patterns in gold or silver
  • Recreate the effect of gold tooling, like you find on leather-bound books or passports
  • Just go mad with the bling!

Tactile and versatile

In order for the foil to adhere to the paper, and to shine as brightly as possible, it’s also finished with a coat of the UV varnish. Everything we can do with the varnish – right down to 0.5mm lines ­­– can also be recreated with foil. That means you can create some really finely detailed designs and lettering.

Another layer of creativity

When your design incorporates details in gloss or foil, there’s a need for the layered artwork files that depict this clearly. Files intended for spot UV or foil finished items should be supplied according to our artwork guidelines with an additional, separate layer showing the area to be rendered in foil or spot varnished.

This layer should be clearly labelled, with the foiled or spot varnished area denoted in black. Check out our Spot UV Artwork Guide and Foil Artwork Guide, or alternatively feel free to call our design team on 01702 460047.

Starters orders

Explore our newly­-expanded range of products.

  • Select the product you’d like to enhance with spot UV and foiling (eg. Stapled Brochures)
  • Identify the size (eg. A4)
  • Enter your specifications as to pages and paper stocks, being sure to select a laminated stock that’s greater than 200gsm for your cover.
  • With an appropriate paper stock and lamination options, you’ll then be able to select “Yes please” for foiling.
  • Choose between gold and silver foils
  • Pick a quantity and add to basket
  • Upload your layered artwork as discussed above, being sure to include that extra labelled layer specifying the print areas for foil.

How can we help?

If you have any questions about the foiling or varnishing processes, how to order or how to supply artwork, our service team are always happy to help. You can call us on 01702 460047, or use the Live Chat link for live, online advice.