Coating technology has really come a long way; there are a ton of options now! Coatings also protect your mail pieces as they travel through the mail stream — so that when your prospects or customers get them, they are not all scuffed up. So let’s look at some options.
First, there are some different types of coatings used for direct mail; they are UV, Aqueous and Varnish. UV coatings are cured by exposure to ultraviolet light to quickly dry and harden, as well as provide a highest-gloss finish. You would not want to use this on folded pieces, as the coating may crack. This can also have another challenge for mail pieces — when you plan to inkjet on the addresses, the ink does not dry on UV coatings. Aqueous coatings are pretty common for direct mail pieces. They are clear and a fast-drying, water-based coating. You can get a high-gloss or matte finish. Aqueous coating is more environmentally friendly than other coating options. Varnish coatings are basically clear ink. They come in gloss, satin, or matte finishes. This coating also causes issues for inkjet addressing.
Fun options to try on your mail pieces:
- Soft Touch — This creates a velvet feel to your mail piece. It is so soft, your recipients will feel compelled to pet it.
- Scratch-Off Coatings — These coatings are commonly silver or gold, but do come in other colors. These can be used for more than just a “see if you win” scenario.
- Step Tex — A raised UV for the embossed look, without the impression on the back side of the piece.
- Sandpaper — A sandpaper or grit-like texture with a rough tactile feel. The more tactile you make your mail piece, the bigger the impression you will make.
- Etch Coat — A very fine patterned coating with many options.
- Glitter Coating — A large glitter flake, where the color is influenced by the ink underneath it. There are various colors and pearlescent effects available.
- Metal Flake Coating — These are extremely fine metal flakes that are similar to auto paint, with many color choices.
- Glow in the Dark — These are high-gloss coatings that will glow in the dark.
- Tinted Coating — These are optically clear-color coatings, with many color options.
- Colored UV — These come in multiple colors, including white.
- Thermochromic — These are temperature activated coatings that come in multiple colors, which turn clear when heated.
- Photochromic — These are clear and are activated by sunlight to change color.
- Chalkboard Coating — These are available in black or clear, they emulate a chalkboard surface, which can be written on with standard chalk.
- Scented Varnish — There are many scents to choose from, which are realized when rubbed. So this works best on pieces inside of an envelope or on the inside panel of a mailer. It does not work well on a postcard.
As you can see, there are many coating options you can choose from to enhance your mail pieces. And you can use more than one at a time.
When you are in your design phase, take into account what coatings you would like to use to make sure you not only have the room — but that the design files are built correctly for the affects you want. Your print service provider can help guide you on the files. The most effective use of coatings on direct mail pieces are tactile and draw attention to your specific message. The better you integrate the enhancement element, the more your message will resonate and drive response. Are you ready to get started?