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The Big Debate: Matt or Glossy for packaging?

The art of packaging has many levels. One that’s vital is the choice of a matt or glossy finish. This is created by a process known as lamination – the final element that’s often applied to card packaging to create the desired effect.

While we all know that glossy equals shiny and matt is less so, what does this actually mean when it comes to packaging? Read on to discover everything you need to know about this important finishing touch to perfectly showcase your products.

Matt vs. Glossy: What’s the difference?

Let’s first consider a matt lamination finish. This is the more subtle of the two. It’s less reflective and the colours are a little more muted than the gloss version. However, the difference isn’t only in looks – it also extends to the feeling of the packaging. Matt has a somewhat more velvety, tactile touch than its counterpart. It’s also less reflective, meaning that it’s softer on the eye and, therefore, easier to read.

A glossy finish, on the other hand, is the razzle dazzle version of packaging. The shine is more intense, making colours appear more vivid. If you’re in need of the wow factor that jumps out to the eye of the prospective consumer, then gloss might be the way to go.

In short, a matt finish absorbs the light, whereas a glossy one reflects it. Both have their own advantages and disadvantages.

The Pros and Cons of Each

The choice of finish for a product’s packaging is determined by a variety of needs. These include:

  • Where the product will be displayed
  • How much the product will be handled
  • The impression you want to make on the customer

Let’s consider each of these factors in helping to determine which finish might best work for your products.

You might want a matt finish when…

  • You have a high end, luxury product that’s better showcased with muted packaging
  • The product will be under direct lighting. Because a matt finish absorbs the light it reduces any garishness and makes wording easier to read
  • There’s less likelihood of excessive handling. Matt packaging is a little more susceptible to damage when touched repeatedly
  • The brand/product uses a subtle colour range

You might want a glossy finish when….

  • You want to create a bright, easily noticed product that stands out on the shelf
  • The product lends itself to a shiny coated packaging choice
  • It’s likely to be picked up multiple times. A glossy finish better handles this and can be easily wiped clean, if necessary

In some cases, the glossy finish is less expensive than matt. So if you’re looking for the most economical packaging option, this might be the way to go.

The Packaging is as Individual as the Product

There’s no simple way to define which finish best suits a product. A glossy finish might be too loud for a sophisticated product or range. In such a case the feel and look of the packaging is likely to require sophistication and elegance.

However, the pile ‘em high-sell ‘em cheap type product or brand demands such an overt brash look. It’ll likely have to stand out amongst much competition. In this case, vibrancy and brightness is exactly what’s needed to gain the right customer attention.

As you can see, the choice between matt and glossy is not so simple – and we haven’t even touched on where your product going to be displayed?

In store? Online? Both? Do you even have control over its placement in a physical location? A product that’s underneath harsh light might not be suited to a glossy, reflective finish that’ll make it harder to read any wording. What about the colour scheme of the packaging? This will directly impact the choice of a glossy vs. matt finish.

That’s why experimentation is key. It’s only by carrying out a number of colour and finish styles that you’ll be able to pinpoint the right choice for your products and brand.

All of this drives home the importance of working with a packaging design expert when determining how to best showcase your items. Perth-based Crystal Print & Packaging Solutions provides a second-to-none service that covers every aspect of packaging – from the drawing board through the design stage and the delivery of the finished product. Follow this link to see some examples of our boxes and tubes.

You pour life and soul into the creation of the ultimate products. This makes it vital that the packaging receives the same care and attention. Get in touch to find out how Crystal Print & Packaging Solutions can help bring this to life.

If you enjoyed this post and found it useful then you might also like Packaging Design Terminology Explained and Custom Holiday Packaging