Hingst’s Sign Post: Spot Varnish in Sign Design

Commercial printers use a printing technique called spot varnish. It’s a technique that they have used forever. The term refers to a printing a coating of varnish onto selects parts of a design.

Usually the varnish is glossy. But it doesn’t have to be. Spot varnish can also be matte or satin. Whether the varnish is glossy or not is inconsequential.

The uses of printing spot varnish are all the same: either to draw attention to a specific part of a printed page or to serve as a decorative design element.

Sign Builder Illustrated contributor Jim Hingst explains how Butch “SuperFrog” Anton uses spot varnish to create a subtle decorative border for a menu board. To read this story, check out the latest Hingst’s Sign Post blog.


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Sign regulations have been a major topic in the industry. Is your town/city affected by a strict sign code?