Those who invest in high-quality graphics are paying for a visual that draws the eye. From captivating colors to bold lines and crisp images, graphics for both business and personal use should reflect the care and inspiration of the people who are counting on the display.
However, there is little use in factoring graphics into a budget if they are going to be destroyed and unusable after just a short time. Protecting your prints is just as important as choosing high-quality substrate and more. That is where laminated prints come in.
Whether you are considering a wide format graphic that stretches a hundred inches or more or a small book cover that will captivate customers from store shelves, lamination is a critical piece of the puzzle.
Here is an overview of what lamination can do for you and the four types of lamination you have to choose from.
What Does Lamination Do?
Lamination is the process of sealing a printed product underneath a flexible plastic layer. This plastic laminate acts as a shield while simultaneously increasing the structural integrity of the print.
Most commonly (but not always, as discussed below), a laminated image will be sealed on both sides between sheets of plastic so that the material on which the graphic is printed is no longer exposed to external elements. This protects the image from water damage, smudges, and more.
Additionally, lamination shields your graphics from the harm of UV rays. UV from the sun can dull colors and make some substrates brittle. Thanks to lamination’s combined UV inhibition and waterproof nature, your graphics are safe to use outdoors.
With the added strength of the plastic polymers, even thin graphics are flexible and bendable without creasing. Similarly, there is a much lower risk of accidentally damaging corners or tearing the graphic thanks to the resilience of laminate.
Four Types of Lamination
If you have decided that lamination is a wise investment to protect your newly minted graphics, you will still need to decide which type of lamination you would like to use. In general, lamination can be done in one of four ways:
The most common type of lamination, glossy lamination sandwiches your image between two sheer sheets of plastic. The surface of this plastic overlay is smooth, which makes it shiny and crisp.
This is a great option for those who want a crystal clear image underneath the laminate and a smooth feeling in the hands—which can be useful for situations such as handing out information sheets that need to slide apart quickly. Glossy lamination also inhibits water, and droplets will roll off easily.
Matte lamination works in much the same way as the glossy variant, but the feeling in hand is different. Rather than a smooth, shiny surface, a matte laminate will contribute a more textured touch.
While matte laminate loses the gloss associated with other types, the material underneath the lamination is still clear and easy to read, and some products benefit from the lack of reflective glare for users who are engaging with the product.
Soft Touch Lamination
Those who want to upgrade their lamination for the most sophisticated in-hand feel can opt for soft-touch lamination. This laminate appears visually like its matte counterpart, but it is much softer and is sometimes described as feeling like silk.
The purpose of this type of laminate is to be pleasing to the senses, so it is best used when the visuals underneath are meant to be extensively handled rather than simply looked at.
Nylon Lay Flat Lamination
Most types of lamination are achieved by placing the graphic between two pieces of thin plastic. However, it is possible (and sometimes beneficial) to laminate only one side for added protection.
Nylon lay flat lamination is most commonly used for projects such as book covers, where the outside is expected to face regular scratches and physical contact but the interior is safely shielded (in this example, against the hardback of the book).
One notable benefit of nylon lay flat lamination is that, unlike other types of lamination, it is the least likely to curl at the edges, creating a smooth and consistent product.
Get High-Quality Laminated Products from the Pros
No matter which type of lamination is right for your project, be sure that you entrust the task to the professionals. The experts at Tree Towns specialize in helping you realize your customized graphic and visual design goals so that you can achieve something long-lasting that is uniquely you.