spot or selective

card option – varnish


Plastic cards with selective varnish

The use of selective varnish on the card surface creates unique and original graphic possibilities. Elements made with varnish refine the appearance of the cards and are an element that distinguishes them from standard cards.

Our offer includes three types of selective varnish:

  • glossy convex
  • glossy flat
  • matte flat

All of them fulfill a decorative option, but only one of them may also have practical use. Moreover, the varnish, despite being printed over the laminated surface, is very well protected (cured with UV light).

Convex varnish

Convex varnish is available only in a glossy version, but it works perfectly on plastic cards covered with smooth matte lamination and glossy lamination. Visually, convex varnish looks better on a matte surface because the contrast between the background and the elements detailed with this varnish is more visible.

The varnish acquires different thicknesses during its application. It depends on the size of the element. Small elements will always be more convex than elements with a larger surface. The photos below illustrate this difference:

plasti card with convex varnish

plastic card, matte flat varnish

Example of a card with convex varnish.
The way the relief varnish looks on the card depends largely on the design. In the attached example, the small inscriptions are clearly convex, and the varnish clearly reproduces the shape of the letters. However, the hexagon is flat, only its edges are highlighted. The hexagon is a large, uniform element and therefore the applied selective varnish collected mainly at the edges of the element.

plastic card, glossy flat varnish

Decorative possibilities
Convex varnish is one of the most frequently chosen card decoration options. It allows you to obtain “depth” and three-dimensionality of the pattern printed on the card. The best effect of applying selective varnish to the card is achieved in the case of small elements, such as a logo or a pattern consisting of many small elements. The photo above shows a card with a leaf structure that can be felt under the finger, obtained using selective varnish.

Cards for blind people
In addition to the decorative effect, convex varnish has an obvious but very important advantage in some applications: convexity. Thanks to this, it is possible to create plastic cards with raised text in Braille, enabling blind people to read the information printed on the card. The height of the Braille character will be 0.22 mm.

plastic card, matte flat varnish
plastic card, glossy flat varnish

Flat varnish

Unlike convex varnish, flat varnish looks identical on all sizes of elements. Flat varnish comes in two types – glossy flat varnish and matte flat varnish. And to emphasize the contrast and highlight the effects, they are usually used on reverse lamination, i.e.:
– glossy varnish on matte lamination,
– matte varnish on glossy lamination.

Flat varnish can cover even most of the card surface, creating fantastic and unique patterns. The above photos show a card with a matte flat varnish (gold card) and a card covered with a glossy flat varnish (black card with a pattern).

Selective varnish – technical limitations

When designing a card with spot varnish, you should remember several technological limitations:

  • if the card is to have flat personalization (barcode, QR, numbering), convex varnish cannot be used on the same side of the card,
  • selective varnish increases the thickness of the card, which means that fewer cards fit in the box,
  • the distance between the glossy flat/matt varnish and the flat personalization cannot be less than 5 mm.
  • It is also important to remember the described behavior of raised varnish when covering larger uniform surfaces on the card.

Selective varnish is a very effective way to make plastic cards more attractive. Consult our company expert to discuss the use of the spot varnish technique on your card. Or use the quotation form to find out the approximate cost of making such cards.

Additional options

Laminate of plastic cards
Panel for a signature / signature strip
Coloured PVC material
laser engraving
Aroma (e.g. coffee)
Transparent material
Print visible in UV / IR
Contact memory chip
Scratch-off panel
Magnetic HiCo/LoCo stripe
NFC module
Customized plastic snap off card | 3 key chain tags
Spot / selective varnish, glossy or matte
Custom shape and size cards
Eco-friendly material – recycled and recyclable
Other services
Hole (round, oval, euro hole)
Metallic silkscreen
Contactless chip (Unique, Mifare and more)