Effective use of clear varnish overprint to add depth?
May 29, 2006 10:53 AM   Subscribe

In regards to design and press printing. Towards the bottom of this Paper Specs article it touches on an overprint varnishing technique called "dot-on-dot varnishing." Is anyone familiar with this technique and care to elaborate on how it is accomplished and the effect it has on the final piece?

In particular, I have a series of black and white photos that will be printed for a jewel case insert. I would like to add dimension to them by using a clear varnish overprint. This technique seems to be what I am looking for, but I would like to have a better understanding of the effect it will have. Any other tips is appreciated.
posted by monsta coty scott to Media & Arts (4 answers total)
Simply put, dot-on-dot varnishing overlays dots of varnish onto the individual dots of ink...no varnish on the paper itself. I've only heard of it being done to sections of an image.
For instance, let's say you have a b/w halftone image. You can do a gloss dot-on-dot varnish on the highlight areas. Visually, this makes the highlights pop more and adds a certain amount of depth.
It's a specialized service and I would certainly want to see actual printed specimens from any printer offering the service before I opted for it.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:03 PM on May 29, 2006

Like Thorzdad said, it's basically a spot varnish taken to the extreme. And it's going to require a excellent plate making and an excellent press and operator. (I guess the rip could gain the screen slightly by bumping the dot-size for the varnish, but it still would be hellish to print.)
posted by nathan_teske at 12:07 PM on May 29, 2006

There's a good chance that a spot varnish will be wasted inside a jewel case. I'd suggest viewing a sample (any decent printer should be able to give you one) in a jewel case to make sure that it's going to have the effect you're looking for.
posted by lekvar at 6:51 PM on May 29, 2006

It's also a kind of spot varnish that MUST happen on the same press and in the same shop as the rest of your printing; no pressperson is going to be able to hit that kind of registration with a different setup. There are a number of shops in my area that might be able to do it, but as Lekvar said, that kind of varnish is going to be wasted on anything that's

A) real small
B) in a jewel case
C) not on great paper
D) printed in just a plain old black ink

If you were doing spot black duotones or tritones in archival inks on great paper for a photo book, I could see it. But I think a normal spot varnish would do just fine for what you suggest. It'll be a lot cheaper, your prepress guys will be able to make a spot plate from your PSDs just fine, and it'll look terrific. You can use many different types of varnish - UV, aqueous, pearl, etc.

Good luck and let us know how the job turns out! Sounds like a very interesting project.
posted by luriete at 9:55 PM on May 29, 2006

« Older Browser needs to refresh to resolve domain names.   |   Where can I have a weeklong adventure in Latin... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.