My fiancee brought home an intriguing circus print book from a thrift store yesterday. In addition to being all in French, which adds an air of romance to the already beautiful images of horses and costume-clad performers, the book includes the handwritten signatures of a number of the actors in black marker, on their individual pages. The 8” x 10” format, saddle-stitched book also has a striking front and back cover treatment: a gloss coating on the horse and circus name (on the front cover) and two silhouettes of acrobats on the back cover, also gloss coated.
Determining How the Designer Created the Gloss Effect
The gloss coating has an almost mirror-like brilliance, and the remaining background of the front and back covers has a more muted, satin-like coating for contrast.
I wasn’t exactly sure how the effect had been achieved, so I considered the possibilities:
The gloss coating was too shiny to be varnish or aqueous coating. It also had a bit of a raised feel.
The gloss could have been a clear foil stamping, but I knew this would have been an expensive way to approach this design problem, since a die would have been required for the foil stamping process.
I knew that flooding a background with a dull or satin UV coating and then highlighting certain elements within the design with gloss UV coating was currently in vogue, and that it would have produced just this kind of effect at a lower cost than clear foil stamping (because no die would have been required).
Under the circumstances I made an educated guess that the UV option was the likely technology in use. I also checked online for images of gloss UV coating paired with satin UV, and the photos confirmed my assumption.