A Guide To Graphic Finishes
So you’ve chosen your design and your colours – now it’s time to select the perfect finish for your graphics. The finish can play a huge role in the overall look of your finished product, and can even help you achieve the desired result for your customer, so it’s an important part of the process – and we’ve created this guide to help you choose the best option.
The traditional, no-frills option, a matte finish is smooth but absorbs light, meaning that it doesn’t offer any sheen. It’s a great choice if you’re needing to hide any imperfections in the surface of your plastic, such as porosity or mould damage.
However, a matte finish can attract foreign substances such as dirt, grime and moisture, and over time this will cause the vibrancy of the design to fade. Matte finishes also tend to be more prone to chalking, which presents as surface discolouration. This means they’re best suited to indoor applications which are unlikely to be damaged by mould and are less prone to dust.
Read up on some case studies that have used the matte finish.
A satin finish provides a silky smooth, plastic-like result, and is our most popular finish. In fact, our customers love our satin finish so much that as of January 2016, we replaced all of our matte finish graphic options with satin finishes, which offer a range of advantages. If you’re undecided between a gloss or matte look for your next project, a satin finish may be the perfect answer. Read the Hardi case study.
A satin finish reflects light more than a matte finish does, making it the perfect choice if you’re wanting a vibrant and professional looking graphic. It also offers a higher level of resistance against abrasions and general wear and tear, and as such, will not appear to degrade over time to the same degree as a matte finish.
Graphics with a satin finish it may not hide all imperfections in the plastic surface, however this can be managed by ensuring that the surface is well prepared and polished prior to application, in order to deliver the best results. A satin finish can be used for any indoor or outdoor application and is especially recommended if you’re looking for a classy yet subtle appearance, without the obvious look of a sticker.
For a stunning, glass-like look, a gloss finish reflects the most light, and when rendered in certain colours, can almost appear like a mirror. Graphics with a gloss finish are proven to be the most durable, as well as highly resistant to abrasion and solvents, and as such, a gloss finish tends to be the best choice for harsh outdoor applications such as marine equipment. It’s also a great choice if the surface texture of graphics is an important factor for you.
However, a gloss finish can magnify any imperfections in the mould of the plastic, so requires careful preparation to ensure satisfactory results. Additionally, a graphics with a gloss finish can sometimes end up looking more sticker-like than a matte or satin option.
Gloss finishes are generally recommended for harsh outdoor environments, as well as any project that requires an attention-grabbing pop of colour, since the gloss effect will give your graphic a high level of colour vibrancy and opacity.
Choosing the best finish for your project
Our most popular option for all graphic applications is a satin finish, with the high class alternative of a gloss finish coming in second. Satin finishes are generally more versatile, and avoid the sticker-like appearance that other finishes can result in. For outdoor projects, a gloss finish will prove to be the most durable and tends to last longer in harsh environments.
The print finish on INMOULD graphics that we offer is specified on the proof we supply, with the exception of our POSTMOULD graphics. Due to the print process used, POSTMOULD graphics will feature a semi-gloss or gloss finish, dependent on the texture of the surface.
If you have any questions about any of the graphic finishes we offer, or would like us to recommend the best finish for your next graphic project, please contact one of our graphic colour specialists using our handy contact form, and we’ll be more than happy to assist. It’s important to us to ensure that you achieve the brilliant results you’re after!