Choosing the right laminating film for the ultimate finishing touch to your job could be a challenge. There are a myriad of options out there and let’s face it they are all quite different and will achieve very different effects. And obviously there is the budget to consider too.

So, whether you are looking to encapsulate with gloss, matt or laminate it is really important both for the success of your project but also its profitability to make sure you choose the right one. Getting the balance right is critical to achieving the ultimate finish and also having a happy customer, so let us take you through some simple thoughts to help you get the best value:

TIP ONE: To laminate or encapsulate?

There are lots of different types of films and they can be easily confused. They may be used in the same way, but to encapsulate a piece generally means using a higher-grade, thicker, heavier film which generally makes it more durable and weather proof. The choices in terms of finishes here range from gloss, matte or even an ultra-matte – all of which are available in a wide variety of different gauges and weights.

As for lamination, the type of film required largely depends on whether you are printing digitally or lithographic. Again the finishes can vary and it is best to use a special litho laminate or digital film depending on which route you are taking to produce the job. In reality these films will work on all types of machines, so don’t be fooled into thinking you absolutely have to use a branded film to match the brand of your kit.

TIP TWO: Choose the right laminating film for your project

It would be great to be able to buy just the one film and use it for everything, but sadly things are never that simple! The choice could boil down to what your customer wants, the toner, stock or machine type you are using. That’s where it is worth reaching out and chatting through what you want to achieve. And don’t forget there are many parameters involved and the film may not be the only factor in creating that quality result you are seeking.

TIP THREE: Don’t compromise on the film

Well we would say that wouldn’t we! The truth is we spend a lot of our time talking with printers about what they are doing and why other films (not from us we hasten to add!) are just not working for them. A common issue is the use of cheap stock. It’s a dangerous game to play and one where we will actually listen to what you are trying to achieve and promise not to oversell on something. If there is an alternative that will work just as well for you and is a cheaper option then we will recommend it. It is not in our interest to constantly try to sell you the ultimate solution if it means it blows the budget or you lose the job based on cost. So it might be worth avoiding cheaper stocks like recycled board as these tend to absorb the laminate more than you would like and so the result is a wrinkled look. If you start with something like a smooth, silk paper you are far more likely to get a fantastic finish the very first time you try.

TIP FOUR: Find the right balance between your film choice and your budget

Yes we know…easily said! But let’s face it margins are constantly getting squeezed in printing and that’s why it’s important to consider all the aspects that can affect the actual cost of a job (and not just the material costs). There is nothing worse than using the wrong film. The knock on effects is waste and project delays – with their associated impact on your profit. So while you may not want to go for that slightly more expensive film, if it is actually going to work and work first time with minimum operator effort then that has got to be more cost-effective overall.

TIP FIVE: If in doubt…ask!

Sadly we are geeks about all of this. Much of that has been built up over years of working in the industry. Not to mention that we love what we do and take incredible satisfaction from seeing the amazing jobs that we have been involved in. Why not use that knowledge? Maybe it is time to stop buying the same thing you always have and reach out to have a chat with us. We promise to work with you to find the right finishing solution for you (and that initial conversation will not cost you a penny!).