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A Trend With A Soft Touch
- Aug 07, 2017 -

“Oh, it’s that amazing, soft, rubber-like paper. You know which one I mean.”


One of the fellow judges at a recent printing competition was all excited. The latest issue of Process magazine had just been released, and everyone was admiring the cover.


A colorful and intriguing heart design graced said cover. (You may remember from our Giving Back with Design webinar that these hearts are a signature of award-winning designer Michael Osborne.) But what had everyone talking was the super smooth, rose petal feel of the cover stock.


I hated to break it to her, but in this case that tactile surface effect wasn’t the paper.


Two days later, I received the latest issue of Iggesund’s Inspire magazine in the mail – sporting the same technique. Now there’s a global trend if I ever saw one! 😉 One magazine designed and printed in the United States, the other in Europe.


And when I see a trend, I want to share it with you.



The secret behind the soft touch

Yes, there are several papers that come readily available with this super-soft feel – Touché, Plike and Soft Touch.


But in the case of both magazines, the publisher used a “standard” coated cover stock. The actual magic is found in the varnishes used.


Dome Printing printed the Process magazine cover with 4-color process inks plus a metallic ink. They wanted to test the effect of metallic ink in combination with the soft-touch varnish. (Note: the metallic loses a lot of its sheen when varnish is used. I would not recommend it unless you need to protect the metallic ink from scuffing.)


For the special tactile effect, Dome applied two varnishes:


An overall soft-touch varnish (yep, the whole cover) and

A spot gloss UV varnish on the highlighted areas (the hearts and the magazine’s name)

The soft-touch varnish not only gave the paper this soft, rose petal feel, but it also imparted this very muted, matte look, which makes the spot gloss varnished hearts pop even more.


Even though soft-touch varnish is considered a special effects coating, it can be applied inline, meaning it doesn’t require a secondary or offline treatment.


I love new trends, and now that you know the secret behind it, you too can create this magical soft touch too.


P.S. I’m excited to let you in on another little secret. A webinar is scheduled for June 19, 2012 on special effects techniques. Save the date and stay tuned for all the details. There will be a very special bonus for those that attend!