VARNISH ARTWORK

In simple terms.

ADD A “VARNISH” LAYER: make an extra layer on top of your artwork with anything you want in varnish set up as a spot colour called “Varnish” and set those items to overprint (see rough diagram below). If all you want is a solid varnish over the entire print there is no need to supply special artwork – simply ask for an all over varnish and our software does the rest.I

ORDERING: Note that varnish ink projects are readily available at LF Media but you must contact us direct for pricing. Due to the variance in handling required depending on complexity of layering each project must be manually quoted by our friendly offline quoting team.

Working example

Spot Varnish Printing Perth

In the example above we want to print a varnish over just the illustration of the gryphon.  

Detailed Instructions Below.

Photoshop is NOT a layout application.

Varnish layers need to be created in a “spot” colour to work. Sure you can use Photoshop to bang out a website or three or even a flyer… but it can not do spot colour (not in a hurry anyway). If you’re wanting to include a spot varnish in your artwork click that little [X] in the top right of your Photoshop window and open up Illustrator, InDesign or Corel instead (or ask us to add it in for you for a small fee).

You CAN supply the varnish plate as a separate greyscale Jpeg at the exact same size, cropping, resolution, pixel width and depth… but that creates a handling fee when we re-combine the art on your behalf. There’s also a dozen ways that can go wrong because you’re not viewing the varnsih on top of the layout file to check it’s showing up in all the right places.

Varnish “layer”.

Create an extra layer in your artwork ON TOP of your existing artwork

“Spot” Colour Swatch.

Create a new colour swatch called “Varnish” and make sure it is a “Spot” colour. Below we’ve shown how this is achieved in Adobe Illustrator. The actual hue you apply to the swatch can be any colour you like – choose one that stands out against your artwork preferrably. But… definitely set the colour swatch up as a “Spot Colour” like below.

Print Varnish onto Timber Perth


When you save your PDF remember to NOT “convert all spot colors to process”… otherwise your settings above wont mean jack.

 Overprint Your Varnish Objects.

So you’ve got it all sorted and you’re ready to go… but wait… you need to make sure the lovely varnish objects that are now sitting on top of your artwork are set to overprint (see below).  Obviously tick “Overprint Stroke” for all “Varnish” strokes, “Overprint Fill” for all “Varnish” fills and both for objects that have both a stroke and fill.  In Adobe Apps this setting is usually found in the “Attributes” window (click Window > Attributes).

Print Varnish Perth

Keep it together

There is no need to supply us the Varnish layer in a separate file or PDF. All layers can exist in the same file.Some other print providers may want the complete opposite – always check with them.       

Common errors

Supplying a file with a coloured page/background

If your project is printing onto a coloured substrate (for example a blue plastic sheet) the artist will often be tempted to include a blue colour in the background of the page. This is incorrect. You CAN include a “visual” so that so we, the printer, “get it”… but you’ll also need to supply a “print ready” version of the artwork with the colour removed from the back.

If you think about it – why would we need a blue background in the artwork? Are we printing more blue onto the already blue sheet? No. That would probably change/ruin the existing colour of the blue sheet anyway. 

The white you see on a page of any graphic design software (InDesign, Adobe Illustrator, even Microsoft Word) is actually assuming the role of the white of the piece of paper. Usually when you colour something “White” in a design application, that application is assuming you mean “hey, leave a hole here so that the colour (usually white) of the paper shows through”.

Adobe InDesign even go so far as to call the default white swatch “Paper” – bravo Adobe.