Matte vs Glossy Signs: Which Should I Choose?

Matte vs Glossy Signs: Which Should I Choose?

matte versus gloss prints

When designing custom banners or signs for your business or personal use, you have so many choices! You’ll choose the type of sign, the size, shape, color, text, best fonts, and graphics to make it look exactly the way you want it.

Finally, you’ll have to choose between a matte finish or a glossy finish. You know what you want the sign to say, which makes selecting the graphics easier. But should you get matte or glossy prints? There is no one correct answer to the matte finish vs. glossy question because each finish has its benefits for different circumstances. It all depends on your purpose.

Let’s investigate the differences between gloss and matte finish and review how they apply to various products and uses.

Advantages of Matte Finish Signs

matte finish demonstration

A matte finish on anything from cardstock to huge vinyl signs gives a soft, flat finish. It has an elegant appeal that is a key consideration for some uses, like wedding invitations. Matte is completely non-reflective and provides excellent visibility under any lighting.

A matte finish is especially valuable under artificial lighting, where a gloss finish can create a glare that impairs the signs’ readability. Trade show booth signs and step-and-repeat banners for photo backgrounds benefit from matte finish vs. glossy, where glare would be particularly distracting.

There are several advantages to a matte finish, including:

  • Glare-free: even under intense, artificial lighting
  • Fingerprint-free: handling matte finish cards or photos will not leave fingerprints
  • Accentuate details: the details of low-contrast photos are clearer with a matte finish
  • Autographs: matte finish can be written on using ballpoint pens or markers without smearing
  • Fidelity to the original: matte finish is the best choice when reproducing historical documents or photos in sepia tones
  • Best for text: when the item has a great deal of text, it will be easier to read with a matte finish

With matte finish vs. glossy, your card, poster, or sign will always fit in with its surroundings.

Advantages of Glossy Finish Signs
gloss coating floor

Gloss finishing reflects the light, giving the glossy card or sign a slick look and feel. Because gloss finishing requires an extra step that is not available at home, many interpret the glossy look as “professional,” and it imparts a modern look and feel.

Graphics and colors really “pop” with a glossy finish, each color looking more intense. Reds are redder, blues are bluer, and black tones are vivid and free from gray. A gloss coat also makes the sign far more durable, resisting dirt, stains, and fading — an ideal choice for outdoor applications.

There are several advantages to gloss finishing, including:

  • Low-light visibility: the reflective quality of a gloss finish boosts visibility in low-light conditions
  • Vivid coloring: colors appear more vivid and intense under a gloss coat
  • Exceptional durability: a glossy finish makes printed posters and signs more durable, resisting stains, dirt, and fading
  • Luxurious appeal: many interpret an item with a glossy finish as too important to discard, particularly helpful for business cards and flyers
Best for graphics: a glossy finish makes graphics really “pop”

Is Glossy or Matte Better?

matte sphere versus gloss sphere

With so much to recommend both matte finish and glossy finish, you may want to just bottom-line it. Which is better? Due to the various advantages and disadvantages to both, the answer to this question must be decided on a case-by-case basis.

In general, matte finish is considered better for indoor signage, while gloss finishing is prized for outdoor signs. But there are exceptions on both sides. A matte step and repeat banner for an outdoor event is better because it will not create a glare in photographs. A glossy menu is better for indoor restaurants because it offers higher durability.

Choosing Between Matte Finish vs. Glossy
matte sign versus gloss sign

Now that you know how to evaluate the pros and cons of matte finish vs. glossy, let’s take a look at the types of products that include the option:

Each of these products can be used in a multitude of ways. Before choosing a gloss or matte finish for your product, consider the benefits and tradeoffs for each. The primary considerations about your product include:

  • Location of intended use, indoors or out?
  • Will it be protected under glass or plastic or open to the air?
  • Will it be displayed or handled?
  • What is the balance between text and graphics?
  • How long do you intend to use it?

Now that you know the relative benefits of a matte finish and glossy finish, you’ll be able to choose the best finish for your project! In need of some advice or inspiration? We’re always just a chat or a phone call away.

Custom Print with Matte Finish or Glossy Today!

Printmoz is your one-stop shop for all custom-printed banners, signs, flags, and much more! Choose the size, shape, matte finish, or glossy to suit your needs. Then, using our free online design tool, you can make your vision a reality!

Dive right in and start designing on our website, or feel free to call us toll-free with any questions at (877) 287-0059. We’re here to make your next printing project outstanding!

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