In the constantly evolving world of print technology, there’s one finish (often over-looked) that plays a crucial role in enhancing the visual appeal of printed materials. And it’s clear varnish.

It’s a bit of an unsung hero, but clear varnish adds a refined touch of sophistication, not just protection. It can turn ordinary print into impactful brand statements.

Throughout this article, we’re going to delve into its benefits and shine a light on the magic it brings to the forefront.

Clear Varnish – what is it?

What is clear varnish? Well, it’s a transparent ink that’s applied to printed materials after the primary inks have been laid down. It’s a shiny coating that forms a protective and visually appealing layer on the surface of the print.


As with everything we try to do for our clients, the clear varnish we use is 100% sustainable. Moving away from older, traditional varnishes has helped us remove harmful chemicals from this stage of the printing process. In just the same way we removed chemicals from another stage of the print process when we switched to vegetable-based inks years ago.

Enhancing aesthetics

Alongside sustainability, another benefit of using clear varnish is its ability to enhance the visual appeal of printed materials. When applied strategically, it adds a real depth and dimension to the printed surface. Colours appear more vibrant and text becomes more legible. The glossy finish of clear varnish creates a professional and more polished look, lifting any piece of communication.

KNP | example of clear varnish with print specification

Spot varnishing to create focus

Additionally, we often use a technique known as spot varnishing, whereby we selectively apply clear varnish to draw attention to specific areas of print. This approach allows for creative and artistic effects to really come to the fore, such as highlighting logos, drawing the eye to images, or focusing in on specific text. The contrast created between the glossy and matte areas adds a dynamic element, capturing the viewer’s attention and creating a memorable visual experience.

KNP | Purple Day example of clear varnish

Texture for a more tactile experience

But clear varnish isn’t just about visual enhancement. The change to the surface of the printed material also adds a tactile dimension, delivering a more rounded experience that engages more senses. By varying the thickness of the varnish or by using special textured varnishes, we’re able to offer a range of tactile effects. Whether it’s a raised texture on a business card or a smooth, glass-like finish on a brochure, the tactile sensation adds a level of engagement that goes beyond the visual.

KNP | example of clear varnish


Clear varnish isn’t just about aesthetics though. It serves a very important, practical role that extends the life of your printed material. Because it provides a protective coating that helps resist scratches, scuffs, and external factors. Whether it’s a high-quality magazine cover that needs to create the right impression for a brand. Or a product label containing important information that needs to have a long shelf life, the added durability provided by clear varnish ensures your print maintains its allure over time.

Packing a punch in packaging

In the realm of packaging, clear varnish is a game-changer. It not only enhances the visual appeal of product packaging but also protects it from the wear and tear associated with handling and transportation. The shiny finish adds a luxurious touch to packaging, making products stand out on crowded shelves and enticing consumers to take a closer look.

 Summing it all up

So, there you go. Clear varnish is a bit of a versatile powerhouse when it comes to elevating the quality and appeal of printed materials. From enhancing aesthetics and creating a tactile experience to providing protection and offering greater sustainability, clear varnish performs a multifaceted role.

Give us a shout to push the boundaries of your print and help make your brand a clear winner. Clear winner! Geddit!


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