Varnish is a clear coating applied to the entire surface, or to part of the design, such as a logo. It’s effectively invisible while enhancing the richness and depth of colour. Varnish protects but won’t affect the flexibility of finished labels. For creative designs such as wine labels, varnish coatings can be built up to bring elements to life, while still protecting a label from moisture, scuffing, scratching, tearing or fingerprints.

Varnish solutions for all labels


Varnish coatings are super-versatile. They’re a powerful label design option that brings a unique focus to your brand or product’s name, logo or images. Different varnishes can be applied in ways that build up a raised, tactile effect for textural and eye-catching appeal. And all this comes with the advantage of protecting your label to retain a flawless appearance.

At The Label Factory we offer varnish in a range of finishes, and we can apply these to your labels in different ways to create outstanding effects that echo the label design and the container or product requirements. Varnishes are available in gloss, matte, satin or grainy finishes.

They can be applied across the entire label surface, usually called flood coating, or as very effective spot coating of one element to highlight it or create a pattern. Spot varnish has practical applications too, such as creating raised Braille characters on pharmaceutical labels.

Contrasting gloss and matte finishes in different areas of your label produce standout results. And varnishes are available in a number of colours and tones that enhance designs and set your product apart.

For something truly different, consider silk screening or metal mesh that allows large volumes of ink and varnish to be built up on your label for an impactful, raised three-dimensional effect.

Choosing the best varnish coating for your label depends on the type of product, the container, and its use. Our print experts at The Label Factory are always on hand to talk you through the options and find a solution that’s best of your label and your budget.

Matte varnish

01Matte varnish

Matte varnish is mostly used on labels designed to create a subtly elegant feel, or a muted and sophisticated look. Matte varnishes are non-reflective coatings, so they enhance readability and can make text-heavy labels easier to read. They add a smoother appearance and tend to soften or flatten images and designs to create a premium appearance.

Gloss varnish

02Gloss varnish

Gloss varnish brightens up the finish and adds depth to your label’s colour and detail. It produces a smooth surface and adds a sheen. The gloss coating increases colour saturation, and it improves image contrast, so works well on bold designs. Gloss varnish provides good protection which makes it ideal for heavy-use products such as food in squeezable containers. The reflective surface creates a glare that can interfere with the readability of text.

Satin varnish 

03Satin varnish 

Satin varnish is a great combination of matte and gloss. It strikes the perfect balance between a medium level of shine and a reliable level of scuff and scratch resistance for your label. A satin varnish creates a unique effect that is subtle while bringing the best of both worlds to your label’s design characteristics. It also protects your label, while appearing as if there is almost no coating on the surface.

Tactile varnishes

04Tactile varnishes

Tactile varnishes, such as a grain varnish, bring a sense of texture and character to your label in interesting ways. They can be applied to one or more parts of the label to create the feel of a paper grain. A super matte finish provides a rougher feel, while a tactile gloss varnish feels smoother. Tactile varnishes are great solutions when you want to add to the overall sensory experience of holding a labelled product in your hands. These varnishes create visually interesting labels that almost demand to be touched.