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Silk Spot UV vs. Matte Spot UV

Posted by Julia Goldberg on

You’ve probably heard us singing the praises of silk spot uv (if you haven’t, you should immediately sign up for our newsletter!), but we realize that everyone may not be as familiar with the nuances of print finishes as we are. Today, we thought we would elaborate on some of the differences between silk finish and regular matte and explain why we love the silk+spot uv equation.

Silk finish, spot uv business card

Let’s start by saying spot uv can easily be tacky if not used well.

Spot UV & Design

Let’s start by saying spot uv can easily be tacky if not used well. Try and be original with where you decide to use the spot uv. It can work in some cases to simply spot uv over a shape, logo, or word, but often there are more eyecatching, clever ways that will really add to your design. You could play on the shininess of the spot uv by applying it to imply a wet, frozen or reflective surface. Another really sharp effect is applying spot uv over negative space in the design, for example a pattern applied over an area filled with a solid color or a gradient, or a word spot uv’d over a “blank” area of the design. Main point here: don’t spot uv JUST to spot uv. Use it only to create visual interest and engage the viewer. It’s not cool enough in and of itself- it has to make sense.

Ok, now that you remember why spot uv is such a fantastic enhancement to a design piece, lets review the differences between spot uv-ing over a semi-gloss finish vs. a glorious not-quite-matte silk finish.

The Shine

Our eye is naturally drawn to contrast. Basically the spot uv is shiny, so make it stand out more, put it next to something matte (the exact opposite of shiny). Our matte finish business cards still give a little bit of a reflection; they are not perfectly dull. Meanwhile, the silk finish appears velvety and rich, especially compared to the standard matte finish. It feels like it absorbs the light. This creates an increased contrast against the spot uv, which is glossy and shiny and reflects the light. The standard finish does create a good contrast with the spot uv, but the silk finish exaggerates it even more to give it some extra oomph. Notice that the surface of the silk finish card on the left has zero glare, while the matte surface card on the right still has a slight shine.

The Weight

The silk finish enhances to the sturdiness of the card. Our standard stock is 16pt. (we don’t like the feel of flimsy cards, so we just don’t sell 14pt and under!), but since the silk finish is a laminate, it adds a tiny bit of thickness to the card. Our fingertips are filled with nerve endings, so that small difference is actually quite noticeable! Sturdy business cards scream value.

Sturdy business cards scream value.

The Edges

Lastly, the silk lamination in essence seals off the edges of the card which helps reduce fraying on the edges of the card. Cards are printed with a bleed, or extra material around the edges, which is later trimmed down to the final size. Sometimes, especially with dark colors that require a lot of ink, when the cut is made, the ink can crack off a little bit. This usually only happens with a small portion of the run, and is to be expected with standard matte finish. With silk, you still might see some fraying or cracking, but it is less likely since the silk finish adds a layer of protection for the more brittle ink.

The silk finish adds a layer of protection for the more brittle ink.

And the winner is...

Standard finish with spot uv is a great choice, with the added benefit of being slightly easier on your wallet. But, we recommend you just go for it and add the silk finish. You will end up with a business card that looks and feels higher end, and your spot uv accents will pop even more. We love combining silk and spot uv. They’re like peanut butter and jelly! 


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  • I love silk finish!

    designhalffull on

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