Understanding Lamination Differences Easily For Your Custom Packaging

9 ways to Understanding Lamination Differences Easily For Your Custom Packaging

Custom packaging is gaining traction due to its versatile features, including the ability to lock the inks with the help of lamination. 

You must have heard about the use of protective films and seals on cars, books, and walls. 

Lamination is one of the sought-after processes, which is why we have decided to blog about the different types of laminations available for packaging and what they mean for your packaging needs. 

The process of lamination helps to protect and seal your packaging boxes. 

Different types of laminations are available, each with its advantages and disadvantages. 

The following are all the topics we will cover:

  1. What Is Lamination, And What Is The Lamination Process?
  2. Why Is Gloss Lamination Reflective?
  3. How Does Matte Lamination Diminish Reflections?
  4. How Does Lamination Change The Visuals Of Your Custom Packaging Boxes? 
  5. Other Design Elements To Consider When Thinking About Laminations
  6. What Are Some Other Options For Coatings
  7. The Type Of Lamination You Should Choose For Your Brand 
  8. Final Thoughts
  9. How We Can Help You Design Exciting Packaging Boxes With Laminations

So without further ado, let’s begin. 

what is laminatiom

  1. What Is Lamination, And What Is The Lamination Process?

Lamination is the process/technique of bonding two or more materials together to create a single layer. The lamination process can be used on various materials, including paper, metal, and plastic. 

What Exactly Is A Lamination Film

The material used as the top layer is known as the lamination film. The film is available in various finishes, including gloss, matte, and textured; we will touch on this later. 

The film is usually made of PET, PVC, or OPP – Learn more about these protective films here

These plastics are all lightweight and have a high resistance to tearing. Furthermore, they are all transparent, which helps to show off the design of your packaging while also protecting the design and artwork from debris and other environmental factors. 

As a brief introduction, PET stands for polyethylene terephthalate. This material is often used in food packaging because it is non-toxic and highly resistant to heat. 

PVC, on the other hand, is polyvinyl chloride. This material is used in various applications, including food packaging, as it is highly resistant to chemicals. 

Finally, OPP is oriented polypropylene. This material is also commonly used in food packaging because it has a high moisture resistance. 

These materials are available as thin sheets, approximately 0.012 inches thick. Furthermore, they can be treated with various properties, such as anti-scratch and UV resistance. 

The Lamination Adhesive 

The adhesive used in the lamination process is water-based. This type of adhesive is safe to use and easy to clean up. 

Water-based adhesives are also known for their superior bonding strength. This ensures that your lamination will last long, even if your packaging is subject to wear and tear.

These adhesives are also environmentally friendly, as they do not release VOCs (volatile organic compounds) into the atmosphere.

A water-based adhesive usually contains acrylic polymers. These polymers help to give the adhesive its strength and flexibility. 

In retrospect, some custom packaging manufacturers use solvent-based adhesives. However, these adhesives are not as environmentally friendly as water-based adhesives. Furthermore, they can be difficult to remove, making the recycling process more challenging.

That said, solvent-based adhesives have their advantages. They tend to be more resistant to heat and moisture than water-based adhesives. 

How To Prepare The Substrate For Lamination 

Before you begin the lamination process, it is important to ensure that the substrate is clean and free of any dirt or debris. 

If there is any dirt or debris on the surface of the substrate, it will be trapped between the film and the substrate, which can cause the laminated layer to be uneven. 

To clean the substrate, you can use various methods, including wiping it down with a clean cloth or using an air compressor to blow any dirt away. 

You can also use cleaning alcohol for more stubborn dirt. Make sure the substrate is completely dry before you begin the lamination process.

Once the substrate is clean, you can begin the lamination process. 

Two Popular Laminations Used For Custom Boxes

Two Popular Laminations Used For Custom Boxes

Ford vs Ferrari – Pepsi Vs Coke – Ali vs Frazier

We have several cars to drive, several drinks to enjoy, and many boxers to idealize – yet these brands and people are what resonate in our minds. 

We have been divided by all these notions but generally, the selection boils down to the general liking and preferences. 

The same is the case with laminations, you will find several lamination options but the two most famous laminations used for custom packaging boxes are gloss and matte lamination. 

These two finishes offer different benefits and drawbacks.

Gloss Lamination 

Gloss lamination is a type of finishing its high shine characterizes that. This finish is achieved by applying a thin film layer over the substrate. 

Gloss lamination is popular among brands that want to give their packaging an elegant and luxurious look. 

Moreover, the high shine of the gloss lamination helps to make colors appear more vibrant. This is because the light is reflected off the surface of the packaging, which makes the colors appear brighter. 

However, one downside of gloss lamination is that it can be difficult to read text printed on the packaging. 

This is because the light reflects off the surface of the packaging, which makes the text appear to be blurry. 

If you want your packaging to have a high-end look but you also want your customers to be able to read the text on your packaging, you can use a Spot UV varnish; more on Spot UV later on. 

Matte Lamination

Matte lamination, on the other hand, is characterized by its non-glossy finish. This finish is achieved by applying a thin film layer over the substrate. 

The matte lamination is popular among brands that want to give their packaging a more sophisticated look. 

Moreover, the non-glossy finish of the matte lamination helps to make colors appear more muted. This is because the light is not reflected off the surface of the packaging, which makes the colors appear less vibrant. 

However, one downside of matte lamination is that it can make the packaging look dull. 

 

Let’s Summarize This Section

In this section, we have discussed the different types of laminates that can be used for custom packaging boxes. 

We have also discussed the lamination process and looked at some popular laminations used for custom packaging boxes. 

In the next section, we will detail the gloss lamination film and why it behaves the way it does. 

Why Is Gloss Lamination Reflective?

Let’s talk about gloss lamination in more detail.

In the last section, we briefly discussed the fact that the gloss lamination is reflective. 

But why is this? 

The answer has to do with the properties of light. 

How Does Light React With Any Surface?

To understand why the gloss lamination is reflective, we must understand how light reacts with any surface. 

Light is made up of particles called photons. Consider photons to be tiny bullets.

When light hits a surface, some photons are absorbed by the surface, some photons are reflected, and some are refracted. 

The photons that are reflected and refracted off the surface are what we see. 

We see different colors because other surfaces reflect, refract, and absorb different colors of light. 

For example, a white surface reflects all the colors of light equally. On the other hand, a black surface absorbs all the colors of light equally. 

Furthermore, when light is refracted off a surface, it is bent. The amount of bending depends on the angle at which the light hits the surface and the properties of the surface.

The difference between reflected and refracted light is that reflected light is reflected at the same angle as it hits the surface, while refracted light is bent. 

That is why a mirror reflects light differently than glass. 

When light hits a mirror, it is reflected at the same angle as it hits the surface. 

On the other hand, when light hits the glass, it is bent. 

This is why we see a distorted image when we look at a glass of water. 

How Does Light Interact With Gloss Lamination? 

Now that we understand how light interacts with any surface, let’s look at how light interacts with gloss lamination. 

When light hits the gloss lamination surface, some photons are absorbed, some are refracted, and most are reflected. 

The photons that are reflected off the surface of the gloss lamination are what we see. 

The reason why the gloss lamination is reflective is that it is a highly polished surface. This means that the surface of the gloss lamination is very smooth. 

As a result, the photons that hit the surface of the gloss lamination are reflected in a single direction. 

Light Reflections And Colors

Light Reflections And Colors

Finally, we will see how a reflective surface showcases different colors. 

Imagine you are looking at a packaging box that has been printed blue. 

Now let’s compare the surface’s difference with and without gloss lamination. 

When light hits the packaging box’s surface, some photons are absorbed, some are refracted, and most are reflected. 

The photons that are reflected off the surface are what we see. 

If the surface is matte, the reflected photons will be scattered in all directions. 

As a result, we will see a blue packaging box. 

On the other hand, if the surface is glossy, the photons that are reflected will be reflected in a single direction. 

As a result, we will see a blue packaging box with a shine. 

The packaging box with a gloss lamination will appear to have a shine because the surface reflects all the light that hits it in a single direction. 

This is why the glossy surface will appear to be brighter than the matte surface. And since the packaging surface will seem brighter, the colors will appear to be more vibrant. 

How Does Matte Lamination Diminish Reflections?

Now that we have seen how light interacts with gloss surfaces and laminations, let’s look at how light interacts with matte surfaces. 

Photons And Matte Surfaces

In the previous section, we imagined a photon traveling through the air and hitting a glossy surface. 

When the photon hits the surface, most of the photons are reflected, resulting in a shiny surface. 

That is not the case for matte surfaces. 

When photons hit matte surfaces, most of the photons are absorbed, and very few photons are reflected. As a result, we see a dull surface. 

The reason why matte surfaces are not reflective is that they are not polished. 

This means that the surface of the matte surface is not smooth. 

As a result, the photons that hit the surface of the matte surface are scattered in all directions. 

How Does Matte Lamination Work?

In the previous section, we saw how matte surfaces are not reflective. 

This is because most of the photons that hit the surface are absorbed, and very few photons are reflected. 

Now let’s take a look at how matte lamination works. 

Matte lamination is a process in which a thin layer of matte material is attached to the surface of a packaging box. 

This thin layer of matte material usually covers the entire surface of the packaging box. 

As a result, the surface of the packaging box becomes dull, and the colors appear to be more muted. 

Why Do People Go For Matte Laminations

There are several reasons why people usually go for matte lamination. 

The first reason is that matte surfaces are not reflective. This means that the surface of the packaging box will not reflect light. As a result, the colors on the surface of the packaging box will appear to be more muted. 

The second reason is that matte surfaces are not slippery. This means that the surface of the packaging box will not be slippery. As a result, the packaging box will be less likely to slip out of your hands. 

The third reason is that matte surfaces are not fingerprint resistant. This means that the surface of the packaging box will be less likely to show fingerprints. 

As a result, the packaging box will look cleaner for longer.

How Does Lamination Change The Visuals Of Your Custom Packaging Boxes? 

By now, you should have a pretty solid idea about how lamination works. 

In the previous sections, we saw how light interacts with glossy and matte surfaces. 

We have also briefly seen how lamination can change the visuals of your packaging boxes. Now, it’s time to go in-depth to see how those visual changes are achieved and how they can affect the visual aesthetics of your packaging boxes. 

Diving Into A World Of Colors

To understand how lamination changes the visuals of your packaging boxes, we need to first understand what color is. 

In the world of physics, color is defined as the wavelength of light. 

When we see a particular color, we see the light with a particular wavelength. 

All the colors we see result from light with different wavelengths. That includes light being reflected or refracted off any object or surface. 

How Do Colors Affect The Visuals Of Your Packaging Boxes? 

Now that we know what color is, let’s look at how colors can affect the visuals of your packaging boxes. 

  1. The first way that colors can affect the visuals of your packaging boxes is by the type of lamination you choose. As we saw in the previous section, glossy surfaces are reflective, and matte surfaces are not.  This means that if you choose a glossy lamination, the colors on your packaging boxes will appear more vibrant.  On the other hand, if you choose a matte lamination, the colors on your packaging boxes will appear to be more muted.
  2. The second way that colors can affect the visuals of your packaging boxes is through the type of printing that you choose. Some printing methods offer better color reproduction than others. For example, offset printing generally offers better color reproduction than digital printing. This means that if you want your packaging boxes to have vibrant colors, you should choose a printing method that offers better color reproduction.
  3. The third way that colors can affect the visuals of your packaging boxes is through the type of paper you choose. Some types of paper absorb more light than others. For example, cardboard generally absorbs more light than cardstock paper. This means that if you want your packaging boxes to have vibrant colors, you should choose paper that absorbs less light.

Adding Laminations To The Mix

Laminations and coatings can drastically change the visual appearance of your packaging boxes. 

Let’s say that you want your packaging boxes to have vibrant colors. You choose glossy lamination and offset printing. 

However, you also choose cardboard that absorbs a lot of light. The result is that the colors on your packaging boxes will appear to be more muted than you wanted. 

On the other hand, let’s say that you want your packaging boxes to have muted colors. You choose matte lamination and digital printing. 

However, you also choose cardstock paper that doesn’t absorb much light. The result is that the colors on your packaging boxes will appear to be more vibrant than you wanted. 

As you can see, the type of lamination you choose can greatly impact the visuals of your packaging boxes. 

However, it’s not the only factor that you need to consider. You also need to consider the type of printing, the type of paper, and the colors that you want to use. 

The next section will cover the various design elements to consider when adding laminations and finishing coats to your packaging boxes.

Other Design Elements To Consider When Thinking About Laminations

 

As we saw in the previous section, when designing packaging boxes, specifically when introducing laminations into the design, you need to consider many more factors.

In this section, we will look at how color, packaging material, and other design elements can affect your decision to add laminations or not. 

Color

Color is one of the most important design elements to consider when thinking about laminations. 

The reason for this is that the type of lamination you choose can greatly impact the visuals of your packaging boxes. 

Ideally, everything should be balanced when designing a custom packaging box. That means that the colors, the materials, the design, and the lamination should all work together to create a cohesive look. 

If one element is out of balance, it can throw the whole design off. 

For example, if you choose a glossy lamination but muted colors, the result will be a packaging box that looks unfinished. 

On the other hand, if you choose a matte lamination but vibrant colors, the result will be a packaging box that looks too busy. 

The key is finding a balance that works for your packaging design. 

Packaging Material

Another important design element to consider when thinking about laminations is the packaging material. 

The reason for this is that the type of material that you choose can have a big impact on the overall look of your packaging box. 

For example, if you choose cardboard for your packaging boxes, the result will be a more rustic look. 

On the other hand, if you choose a higher-grade paperboard material, the result will be a sleeker, more modern look. 

The key is to choose a material that works well with the overall design of your packaging box. 

Other Design Elements

In addition to color and packaging material, there are other design elements to consider when considering laminations. 

For example, you need to consider the type of printing, laminate coverage, and die-cutting. 

Each of these design elements can greatly impact the overall look of your packaging box. 

1. Printing

Custom-printed artwork is usually the go-to customization for most packaging boxes. 

If you want to add a high-end look to your packaging, then you need to choose the right printing method. 

For example, if you want your packaging boxes to have a more luxurious look, you might want to consider using foil stamping. 

If your packaging boxes have a more rustic look, you might want to consider using letterpress printing. 

And remember, different printing methods interact differently with the lamination process. 

For example, foil stamping usually requires a gloss lamination to make the colors pop. 

2. Laminate Coverage

The total area of your packaging covered in laminate will also impact the overall look of your packaging boxes. 

For example, if you choose full coverage, the result will be a sleek, modern look. 

On the other hand, if you choose to have partial coverage, the result will be a more rustic look. 

3. Die-Cutting

Die-cutting essentially reduces the area of coverage of the laminate by cutting out certain shapes or patterns. 

This can be an effective way to add interest to your packaging boxes without going over the top. 

Die-cutting also affects how your packaging boxes will interact with the lamination process too. 

By removing part of the packaging material, you are also removing part of the laminate coverage. 

This can create an interesting visual effect that can make your packaging boxes stand out. 

Conclusion

This section introduced how various factors impact the overall look of your packaging boxes. 

Each element interacts differently with the lamination process from packaging materials to printing techniques. 

As a result, it is important to consider all of these factors when choosing a laminate for your packaging boxes to create a cohesive and balanced look.

What Are Some Other Options For Coatings

Previously, we went in-depth and looked at the two most popular coatings, matte, and gloss.

However, what if you want a packaging box that is not too glossy and not too matte? 

Are there other options out there? 

Yes, there are! 

In addition to matte and gloss, there are also satin, dull, and a whole bunch of other coatings. 

Let’s take a closer look at each one. 

Satin

A satin finish is somewhere in between a matte and gloss finish. 

It is not as shiny as a gloss finish, but it is also not as flat as a matte finish. As a result, it has a more subtle sheen that can be very effective for certain types of packaging. 

The satin finish is widely used by brands that want to add a touch of luxury to their packaging without going over the top. 

Furthermore, it helps showcase the product as being a mix of high-end and approachable. 

Dull

A dull finish is the opposite of a gloss finish. It is flat, with very little shine. 

This type of finish is mostly used for packaging that needs to look more rustic or natural. 

For example, if you are packaging a product that is made with all-natural ingredients, then a dull finish would be a great way to communicate that. 

A dull finish can also be a great way to add interest to your packaging boxes. 

Breaking up the uniformity of a matte finish can help add depth and dimension to your packaging boxes. 

Soft-Touch

A soft-touch finish is a type of coating that gives your packaging boxes a velvety feel. 

This is achieved by adding a thin layer of polyester to the surface of your packaging boxes. 

As a result, it gives your packaging boxes a luxurious feel that is very pleasant to the touch. 

This type of coating is mostly used for high-end products as it communicates a sense of luxury and quality. 

Many custom packaging manufacturers of different degrees of tactile feel. They range from velvety to sandpaper. 

Some of the most common are smooth,soft-touch, linen, and leatherette. 

Linen

A linen finish is a coating that gives your packaging boxes a textured look and feel. 

A layer of fabric is added to the surface of your packaging boxes. 

As a result, it gives your packaging boxes a more natural look that is very pleasant to the touch. 

This type of coating is mostly used for products made with all-natural ingredients, as it communicates a sense of quality and authenticity. 

Leatherette

A leatherette finish is a type of coating that gives your packaging boxes a leather-like look and feel. 

The choice of natural or synthetic leather is up to you. 

This type of coating is mostly used for products that are meant to be luxurious and high-end. 

It communicates a sense of quality and sophistication. 

Spot UV

There is some debate about spot UV being a finishing coat or an additional feature in the packaging world. 

That said, we felt it prudent that you should also be aware of this option. 

Spot UV is a type of coating that is applied to specific areas of your packaging boxes. 

For example, you could choose to have your logo spot UV coated. This would give your logo a raised, 3D effect that would make it pop. 

Spot UV is a great way to add interest and dimension to your packaging boxes. It is also a great way to make your packaging boxes stand out from the competition. 

Now that you know all about the different types of laminations, it’s time to choose the right one for your custom packaging.

The Type Of Lamination You Should Choose For Your Brand 

One of the most important things custom packaging does, apart from offering safe housing for products, is it helps build the image of a company. 

It becomes the first marketing collateral that a potential customer sees of your brand. 

This is why it is important to put some thought into choosing the right type of lamination for your packaging. 

The type of lamination you choose will communicate a certain message about your brand. 

This section will cover different types of brands and what various laminations can do to support their image. 

Rustic Brands 

A rustic brand would focus on all-natural, eco-friendly, or organic products. 

For example, a company that makes artisanal breads or handmade soaps. 

The key word here is “natural.” 

You want your packaging to communicate that your products are made with all-natural ingredients and are eco-friendly. You want your customers to feel good about using your products. 

The best type of lamination for this would be a linen finish. 

The linen finish communicates a sense of quality and authenticity. It also has a natural look and feels that would support the image of your brand. 

Luxury Brands 

A brand that focuses on high-end products and does not compromise on quality would be considered a luxury brand. 

For example, a company that makes designer handbags or bespoke suits. 

The word to focus on here is “quality.” 

You want your packaging to communicate that your products are of the highest quality and are worth the high price tag. You also want your customers to feel a sense of sophistication and luxury when they see your packaging. 

The best type of lamination for this would be a leatherette finish. 

The leatherette finish communicates a sense of quality and sophistication. It also has a luxurious look and feels that would support the image of your brand. 

However, that is not your only option. A satin finish can also help do wonders for a luxury brand, as it has a soft and luxurious feel. 

Fashion Brands 

A fashion brand would focus on trendy or stylish products. 

For example, a company that makes the latest fashion accessories or home decor items. 

If we think about the word “trendy” for a second, the first thing that comes to mind is “change.” 

Fashion is all about change. What is in style today might be out of style tomorrow. 

This is why you want your packaging to communicate that your products are trendsetting and ahead of the curve. You also want your customers to feel like they are getting their money’s worth when they see your packaging. 

The gloss finish is a good option that captures these sentiments.

The gloss finish changes the visual aesthetics when viewed from different angles due to the reflection of light. 

It is also a good way to make your packaging boxes stand out from the competition by literally shining on the retail shelves. 

The matte finish is another option that would work well for a fashion brand. 

The matte finish has a soft and subtle look that is trendy and stylish. It also does not show fingerprints, which is important for a brand that wants to convey a sense of sophistication. 

Functional Brands 

A functional brand chooses efficiency over style. 

For example, a company that makes car parts or medical supplies. 

Functional brands are all about getting the job done. And they want their packaging to communicate that. 

The matte finish is the best type of lamination for a functional brand. 

The matte finish has a no-nonsense look and feel. It is also good at hiding imperfections, which is important for a brand that wants to be seen as efficient and reliable. 

Conclusion

This section showed you examples of some popular types of brands and the best type of lamination for each. 

Remember, these are not set in stone. Many brands have succeeded by breaking the set mold and doing something different. 

The key is to understand your brand and what message you want to communicate with your packaging. Once you have that figured out, you can choose the type of lamination that best suits your needs.

Final Thoughts

Understanding lamination differences and the underlying process is not as complicated as it might seem at first. 

In this article, we have aimed to give you a detailed look at the entire process of laminating custom packaging boxes. We have also looked at the differences between various laminations that are popular today. 

Furthermore, we have seen how lamination changes the visual aesthetics of the packaging and how it can help portray the brand voice. 

Armed with this knowledge, you’ll be at ease when working with your packaging supplier to get the perfect lamination for your products. 

Lamination is an important part of packaging and should not be overlooked. 

We hope that this article has given you a better understanding of the subject and that you can use this information to make better decisions for your business.

How We Can Help You Design Exciting Packaging Boxes With Laminations

GoTo Packaging supplier offers a wide range of laminations for your packaging boxes. 

We have a team of experienced designers who can help you create exciting and trendsetting packaging. 

If you are looking for a supplier to help you with lamination, please contact us. We would be happy to discuss your needs and see how we can help you.

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