Traditional spot involves a UV varnish being applied to paper to create a high gloss finish in certain ‘spot’ areas of a design. This process can only be produced on coated papers and is most commonly used on top of either a matt or soft touch laminate finish. This is because the matt finish of the lamination provides even more contrast with the spot UV.

Can spot UV be used on uncoated papers?

Traditional spot UV can’t be used on uncoated papers because it requires a coating to sit on top of. However, an excellent alternative to spot UV is clear gloss foil stamping. This process involves combining a heated metal die with a clear gloss foil that is then stamped into the uncoated paper. The finish is almost identical to spot UV except that it is pressed in or indented into the paper rather than raised up like traditional spot UV. Clear gloss foil stamping can be used on a huge range of uncoated papers and board including thick boards up to 700gsm which are not suitable for traditional spot UV. It's also possible to combine clear gloss foil with embossing to create a raised 3D impression with a gloss finish.

Spot UV and print registration

Traditional spot UV is often carried out as part of the printing process which means it can be accurately registered on top of digitally printed design elements. Clear gloss foil stamping is a separate process carried out after digital printing which means it is much harder to register clear gloss foil on top of print. For this reason we always advise customers to treat gloss areas as separate design elements and use the foil ‘blind’ which means applying it to the paper and not on top of a printed element.

Ways to increase contrast with a clear gloss finish on uncoated paper

Clear gloss elements on a design look high-end and classy but are often very subtle. One of the benefits of using clear gloss foil is that there is a variation of the foil that contains a tint. This tint in the foil slightly darkens the uncoated paper colour underneath it which creates more contrast and makes your design element stand out more. Imagine applying a clear gloss finish on black uncoated paper, with a tinted clear gloss foil not only would you get a luxury clear gloss finish but the area of the paper underneath the clear gloss would be around 10% darker than the rest of the black paper. This is true with any colour of stock and is a fantastic way to add even more contrast to a design.

Clear gloss foil stamping can be used on a wide range of products from business cards and stationery through to invitations, wedding suites and greeting cards. It’s a very versatile foil and can be used on a wide range of uncoated papers to create a spot clear gloss finish similar to spot UV. Reach out to us if you’d like to see some samples in person or for any further advice.