Surface and aesthetics

Special effect tips and types

Send your message starring special effects and paper finishes that coated paper makes possible.
This story is part of our series about coated paper finishes, special effects and consistency. View other stories in the series or subscribe to Pop from Sappi today to receive an email when we post more.

You can say a lot about your brand without saying anything at all.

Art effects and specialty print techniques (which perform better on coated paper) are sensational avenues to reach that coveted status as an instantly recognized and exciting brand.

The following are a few of our favorite finish and special effect examples. They create unique tactile experiences and can engage your audience with your brand in a way they won’t soon forget.

Varnishes, coatings & special inks

Give your paper some extra eye candy with unique inks, varnishes or coatings. They enhance the appearance of the paper, protect the surface of the printed sheet and bring the wow factor you’ve been looking for.

Fluorescent ink

Fluorescent inks add brightness and luminosity for an eye-popping psychedelic glow. The key to achieving great fluorescent effects is to apply heavy films of ink, which must maintain high holdout—a nearly impossible task when printing on uncoated paper.


Specialty ultraviolet (UV) cured inks and coatings can make text feel rubbery, or a sandpaper coating can make images feel coarse. Add texture when your visual helps illuminate the message’s main point.

Contrast combinations

Mixes of glitter or reticulated coating, metallic liquid foils, gloss highlights, dull varnish and metallic backgrounds can make designs out of this world.

Dimensional & interactive elements

Whether your piece expands into a 3D pop-up, offers temporary tattoos or just encourages the reader to get involved somehow, it’s hard to beat these techniques in terms of sheer surprise factor.


Multiple digital images are interlaced and, using a lenticular lens, printed to produce an image that can move when viewed from different angles.

Laser die-cut

A laser is used to burn a pattern into the sheet, creating highly detailed images too complex to do with traditional metal dies.

Emboss and deboss sculpted

These give a dimensional shape and feel to an image, reinforcing the visual cue of the element that’s elevated or depressed.


A heat-set, raised ink printing technique, scratchboard gives a bumpy feel to everything from scissor lines to pirate scars.

Sensory experiences

Printing methods can embed elements like micro-encapsulated scenting materials or coatings, light or sound chips, flavor strips and more. Take your audience’s senses on one memorable ride.

Heat sensitive thermochromatic

A finger touch will cause the color to change because of a reaction caused by heat-sensitive dyes. In this example, only the “good guy” key responds to touch.


The application of fine natural or synthetic particles to an adhesive surface creates a fuzzy feel, like here on the body of our abominable snowman.

Encapsulated scent

Printed in a four-color process, scratch the paper and release an unmistakable scent.


Go ahead. Let your imagination run wild.