Elevate an inexpensive print piece with Soft Touch® coating

There are a million ways to use specialty treatments and unique papers to make a print piece look and feel luxurious if you have a nicely sized budget, but it can be a bit of a challenge if you don't. If there is only funding for a standard 4-color job but you or the client still want an elevated look, using Soft Touch® coating is a great choice.

Soft Touch® is a coating that, when applied to paper, creates a luxurious and velvety suede-like texture. It's eco-friendly, fingerprint resistant, and very inexpensive to apply. It changes the finish so dramatically that pairing it with an inexpensive paper creates almost the same result as pairing it with an expensive paper, and for that reason it's a great trick to have in your back pocket. I've used Soft Touch® on budget-friendly business cards, pocket folders, marketing pieces, and holiday cards. It adds such a lovely uniqueness to pieces that would otherwise feel ordinary.

Metallic Paper and Specialty Treatments - What Works, What Doesn't

Metallic paper has always been a go-to for me when working on high-end projects. I've used it for vanity tickets, invitations, holiday cards, leave-behinds, and packaging. It's a great way to add a little sparkle to any print piece (when appropriate of course). However, if you're trying to incorporate some specialty treatments, it can be a finicky paper. Below is a list of paper-and-treatment combinations and the reasons why they do or do not work.

Gmund Reaction - Dark Silver Cloud + Blind Emboss

Gmund Reaction - Dark Silver Cloud + Blind Emboss

Metallic Paper + Metallic PMS

NO | Metallic paper is already sparkly and shiny--adding a metallic PMS doesn't make it any sparklier or shinier. This paper also has a particular coating that makes it slick, and a metallic PMS takes FOREVER to dry on this surface.

Metallic Paper + Hologram

RISKY | Holograms can often have a hard time sticking to many metallic papers, so you'll need to work with a printer who is very experienced with them. You should have a few back up papers selected in case your first choice doesn't work. Proceed with caution on this combination.

Metallic Paper + Clear Foil Stamp

NO | Adding a shiny clear foil stamp may look great on a matte paper, but the contrast on a metallic paper isn't great, which makes it a pointless and expensive addition.

Metallic Paper + Metallic Foil

RISKY | If you're using gold or silver foil, it really depends on what you're stamping. If it's a large pattern or a simple shape, it could work. I don't recommend small text; the shiny metallic paper and the shiny text make it almost impossible to read.

Metallic Paper + Black Foil

YES | A black foil stamp looks great on metallic paper! It's even better if you go with a matte finish stamp. The rich black color gives your eye a nice break from all the sparkle.

Metallic Paper + Soft Touch

NO | This is one of those pointless combinations. You're paying a premium for this type of paper, so dulling it down with a soft touch coating doesn't really make sense.

Metallic Paper + Bar Code

NO | This seems like such an obvious combination. You're designing a beautiful vanity ticket or some high-end packaging, why not use a metallic paper! If you need to add a bar code, certain scanners can't read the code when printed directly on this type of paper. In some cases you can test it out ahead of time, but it's an INCREDIBLY risky move with major consequences if it doesn't work out--so for me, it's a no.

Metallic Paper + Blind Emboss

YES | A blind emboss on metallic paper looks amazing! This is definitely a treatment that works well.

Metallic Paper + Die Cutting

YES | Die cutting is another winner that works great with this paper.

Metallic PMS | Source

Hologram  | Source

Clear Foil Stamp | Source

Metallic Foil St |  Source

Metallic Foil St | Source

Black Foil Stamp | Source

Soft Touch |  Source

Soft Touch | Source

Blind Emboss | Source

Die Cut | Source