UV Varnishing

Some useful vocabulary about UV Varnishing.


  • Varnish: is essentially a clear ink that can be applied in a variety of thicknesses over print. On the most basic level it improves the durability of your print, preventing the ink from rubbing off and keeping the paper or card from wrinkling or tearing, but as we’ll see below it can also be used to achieve some awesome visual and textural effects.
  • Finish: is any effect that’s applied to your print after it’s been produced. That could be an all over varnish, a spot varnish, foil-blocking, or die-cuts (all of which I’m sure we’ll get to in a later post!)
  • Spot: is used to indicate that a finish is only going to be applied to certain areas (or spots) of the total printed area.
  • UV: is the thickest varnish available, and is most often used to make your print look really glossy and vivid.


What is Spot UV?


Spot UV is a high-gloss finish applied to a specific area of your print, as in the example below:

What we’ve got here is a piece of packaging that’s been printed on a matt varnished card stock before having a Spot UV varnish applied over part of the logo. As you can see, it creates a striking balance between the main body of the box and the logo which instantly grabs the eye. For simple images like this applying a Spot UV varnish can be a great way of increasing the visual impact of your print.