top of page

Printing Lingo: Decorative Finishes & Embellishments

In the previous Elevate Blog entry, we shared with you some of the common terms that can be encountered when working with a printer. Now we would like to introduce you to some of the not-so-basic options that are available when it comes to decorative finishes and embellishments.

Using these types of elements in your collateral can bring things such as event tickets, labels, posters, packaging, business cards, and more to a whole new level. With the advanced technology and expertise of master printers at DMS Color, embellishments can be added to almost anything and produced in-house which means quick turnaround and lower costs.

Here are some common types of embellishments that are available:

Feel your print

Raised Spot Varnish

This is a clear full-coat overprint that is applied to a carefully selected area and is great for bringing attention to special details and creating 3D-like effects. This technique can help bring life into a 2D print. Raised spot varnish has the unique ability to allow the consumer to feel the print. It engages multiple senses for maximum impact. Because of its 3D effect, raised spot varnish makes printing in braille more accessible.

Hot Foil Stamping

Also known as raised foil embellishments, this process allows you to incorporate foil and embossing on your printed materials without the need for films, dies, and makeready. This eye-catching embellishment is available in multiple colors. The use of foil can be purely decorative, or it can act as a security measure - this is especially useful when printing event tickets and limited edition prints. Because there is no need for dies, it is possible to use this technique in conjunction with variable print data.

Security foil on event tickets

Spot Varnish & Foil

This is a combination of Raised Spot Varnish and Hot Foil Stamping and can help create textures and subtle images on the page by carefully selecting elements within your design to highlight. Texture can also be combined with overprinting on holographic foil, making images more engaging and life-like.


Overprint can have multiple meanings. In the instance of embellishments, it refers to the process of printing CMYK color over holographic foil. This adds depth and texture to a print.

Aqueous Coating

This finishing option is applied as a water-based clear-coat that is applied to a completed piece and creates a barrier that protects the ink and paper from staining, creasing, and tears. The coating creates an almost velvety texture to the paper that gives it a luxury feel.

Silver Bopp

Silver BOPP

Silver BOPP is a highly reflective material that is also water and oil resistant. It is commonly used in labels. Printing on this material, which comes in rolls, creates an almost metallic effect. One of its many unique features is the ability to print white ink onto the material and the resulting effect. Silver BOPP is only available for low quantity prints.


Laminating involves adding a clear plastic film to the print which protects it from moisture, wrinkles, tears, and other possibly damaging actions. This is a great option for pieces that will be exposed to the elements or reused multiple times.

Soft Touch Lamanite Cover

Soft-Touch Laminate

This is a type of laminate that produces a matte finish with a soft feel to the surface of the printed piece. It is similar in appearance to the Aqueous Coating that was covered in the special embellishments, however, soft-touch laminate provides more protection/sturdiness to the job.

Many of these embellishments can be used together in a single project. Striking decorative finishes and embellishments add tremendous value to a printed piece, whether it is a postcard or packaging. However, it does not have to come with a large added cost. When working with a print technology company, such as DMS Color, you have the benefit of using state of the art processes, low minimum order quantities, and no costly die charges for foil and varnish. Our on-staff, award-winning graphic designers can assist you in determining the best way to use these embellishments. They get to see and feel this collateral every day and are eager to assist.

Call 25.874.6183 or visit for more information on how we can partner with you and bring your prints to the next level.


bottom of page