How to Protect Printed Materials from the Elements
You spend a lot of time, effort and (let's face it!) money on your printed materials, but what happens to them after they've been printed and deployed? Business cards go from sweaty palms to wrinkled up in pockets or wallets, posters may be hung up outside in the elements to weather, and postcards and other mailers are handled multiple times as they process through the postal mail system before they reach their ultimate location. How can you be sure that your intended audience is seeing a pleasing finished product instead of a hot mess? Here are some options to help ruggedize your printed materials and protect them from the elements.
SmartFlex® Synthetic Paper
Synthetic paper, is that a thing? Turns out that it is — and it's fabulous if you need to print something that needs to hold up in the elements. SmartFlex is a new type of material that isn't ideal for every print job but works great for things like signage, banners and outdoor uses such as veranda restaurant menus. It feels similar to normal paper and is a tear-resistant alternative to adding a post-process coating.
Speaking of coatings, a flood UV coating is another way to protect your printed materials from water and light. Anytime you see that something has a "flood" across it, that means you're going to get an ultra-glossy finish that is washed across the piece after it's been printed. This armor against the elements is cured with UV light, which gives it additional stamina to repel water, but it can crack when folded so be careful of what type of printed products receive this finish.
Need a matte surface but still have to have protection from the weather? An aqueous coating may be the solution that you need. This clear, fast-drying coating is water-based and can protect from a variety of damages such as fingerprints, sleet, snow or high winds. Not only does this durable option provide more flexibility regarding finish than a UV flood, but it's also a greener option that's easier on the environment.
If you're simply in love with the look and texture of pure paper, there are still some options that will help protect your printed piece. Consider the shape of the paper and the type of paper that's used. Paper comes in a wide range of thicknesses and weights, both of which makes a difference when finding paper that is rugged enough to hold up to outdoor use. Plus, you can shape the edges of your paper to make them sturdier. Round corners on a business card are less likely to become dog-eared than the sharp corners you traditionally see. Delicate cut-outs, called die cuts, can also be more challenging to protect. Keep in mind that small and intricate detailing will be the first to tear off with rough usage.
As you can see, there are several different options for protecting your printed materials from the elements. Matly Digital Solutions has years of experience working with organizations of all types to create an exceptional impact at a reasonable price. Contact our customer service professionals today or get a quote from your closest Matly Digital Solutions office.