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10/01/2022 Quoc Anh Bui

Finishes & Embellishments

understanding labels

These are the ways we enhance the aesthetics of a label, but can also have a pragmatic purpose to improve the performance or life of the label. There are many options available to create stunning effects: special inks, varnishes, laminates, foils and embossing.



      • A clear ink used for added protection or to give a higher gloss finish.
      • Available in matt, gloss or satin (a mix of the two) finishes.
      • Also Thermal Transfer Varnishes in Matt or Gloss for use with label stocks that will be overprinted through a thermal printer.


Raised screen (high build) varnish:

      • A special varnish that creates a textured or high-build finish to highlight specific areas on a label.
      • Used extensively in wine and cosmetics or to create a high-end finish.



      • Clear plastic film applied to the label surface for added protection and a high gloss finish.
      • 2 types of laminate:
          1. laminating film (shorco)
            • Lower cost clear plastic non-adhesive film (usually 15 micron)
            • Applied by glue then ‘cured’ through a UV lamp.
          2. self-adhesive clear laminate
            • Film that has a self-adhesive backing and applied by roller.
            • A thicker finish (usually around 40 micron).

Foiling (cold-foil or hot-stamping):

      • Foiling or ‘hot foil stamping’ is the process of applying a metallic foil finish to labels.
      • QLM utilise both hot and cold foiling techniques.
      • Popular for creating highlights and premium metallic finishes.
      • Available in a range of colours including gold, silver & bronze.
      • Colours and holographic patterns available for specialty finishes.



      • A technique for creating texture or a 3-dimensional raised finish.
      • Achieved by pressing the label stock onto an embossing block or plate.
      • This dimensional feel is popular with insignias, logos and text.


Light-fast inks:

      • Describes inks that remain stable in the outdoor elements for a period of time up to around 9 months.
      • If you require a longer application period than this for outdoor then you may need to consider screen print as an option.