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Matte vs. Gloss Postcards: Which One Should You Choose?

Which one should you choose matte or glass postcards?

A high-quality, professionally printed postcard is a fantastic way to drive brand awareness and grab the recipient’s attention. That is why postcards are one of the most popular and effective forms of direct mail advertising.

We will overview the differences between matte and glossy printing and offer tips to help you choose the best option for your postcard.

Glossy Postcards

Glossy printing offers a luminous and shiny finish. A glossy finish tends to look very polished, smooth, and professional. Colours pop, and images seem more vibrant. The extra shine makes your postcard appear in higher contrast, helping to make it even more eye-catching.

Consequently, a gloss finish is an excellent choice for postcards with many graphics and heavy colour coverage. The finished product will look crisper, bolder, and beautifully vivid.

However, we do not recommend glossy postcard printing if you (or your recipients) need to write on the postcard. Glossy postcards come with a UV coating (liquid lamination) responsible for pop and shine. This coating makes it very difficult to write on the postcard.

Benefits of Glossy Postcards

  1. Images and colours appear brighter and more vivid on glossy postcards. This postcard type creates an impressive “wow” factor, making your postcard extra eye-catching.
  2. Glossy postcards tend to be more durable due to the extra coatings. These coatings are responsible for the added sheen. They also double as a sort of protective coating.
  3. Consequently, glossy postcards often last longer. Their sleek finish protects the postcard so it looks as good as the day printed.

Drawbacks of Glossy Postcards

  1. Because of their high sheen, there is usually a glare. This glare can make your glossy postcard hard to read, especially if there is a lot of text.
  2. You cannot write on glossy postcards because of the extra coatings. The ink will smear or be wiped off.

Matte Postcards

Matte printing paper and coating have a more subtle shine. Postcards appear more muted with subdued colours. In certain lighting, matte postcards can feel “flat” if compared to the high shine of their glossy counterparts.

As a result, matte printing works best with black and white designs, as well as light or pastel colour schemes.

It is preferable for text-based postcards since the “flat” appearance won’t interfere with readability. Furthermore, matte printing still allows for high contrast between text and images, and can help to elicit a high-end feel.

If you intend for your postcard to be written on with a ballpoint pen, matte printing paper is the best option. You (or your customers) can write all over the postcard without issue. However, you can still opt for a UV coating on the side that isn’t needed for writing, to add some extra shine.

Benefits of Matte Postcards

  1. You do not have to worry about glare with matte postcards. This facet means that any text on your postcard will be easier to read. If your postcard contains a lot of text, matte is best.
  2. Matte paper is easy to write on because it has fewer coatings. Consequently, matte printing or uncoated paper is the only option if you need to write on your postcard. Matte finish also creates a luxe and professional quality.
  3. Although matte paper has fewer coatings than gloss paper, it is still fairly durable. Matte postcards are also resistant to smudging and fingerprints. As a result, they can be handled easily without compromising their appearance.

Drawbacks of Matte Postcards

  1. Matte postcards might not bring the best out of certain colours. This paper style is better for designs featuring muted colours rather than bright shades.
  2. Since matte postcards have fewer coatings, they are more prone to bending or becoming dog-eared than gloss postcards.

The 3 Main Differences Between Matte and Gloss Postcards

1. Glossy postcards have more coatings than matte postcards

You may be surprised that matte postcards also come with a coating. Glossy and matte postcards are printed on coated paper—with different results.

Matte paper has a semi-gloss finish that produces no glare, whereas glossy paper is vibrant and shiny. Gloss paper has more coating applied, giving it that extra pop.

Those additional coatings also make gloss paper challenging to write on; not an issue with matte paper.

2. Glossy postcards are a higher sheen and higher contrast

Glossy postcards offer a contrast between colours- perfect for colourful mailers heavy on images. They are also a higher sheen, which can help attract the recipient’s eyes.

Your postcard must stand out in the mail—and high contrast, high sheen glossy postcard is a great way to do that.

3. Matte postcards are glare-free and easier to read

The downside of the high sheen of glossy postcards is that it can lead to significant glare. This glare is especially problematic if your postcard contains large amounts of text.

Glare can make text difficult to read, making it harder to get your messaging across. Matte postcards, however, are glare-free and can appear more professional. Recipients will have no problem reading your copy.

Should Your Postcards Be Glossy or Matte?

Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference. No matter what you choose, professionally printed postcards from Troi Mailing Services will make a positive impression on your clients.

Nonetheless, here are some suggestions to keep in mind before you make your decision:

  • Postcards containing bright colours and images look better on glossy paper.
  • Consider choosing a matte finish if your postcard contains important text. It will be easier to read.
  • Glossy postcards may be slightly more durable and resistant to scratches and dampness. Consequently, they may hold up better in the mail.
  • Since matte postcards are more resistant to fingerprints and smudges, they may be the better option if handing them out in person.

Postcard Printing in Toronto

Troi Mailing Services offers data-driven, cost-effective and customizable postcard printing services in Toronto. Contact us today to plan your next postcard direct mailing campaign.

To learn more about postcard printing, call Troi Mailing Services at 1-866-486-9350 or contact us online.

About: Seamus Barton
Seamus Barton - Author
Seamus Barton joined Troi Mailing Services in 2014 after graduating from York University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Professional Writing. As a manager of print and direct mail solutions, he sees how words play an important role in personalizing any experience. Seamus’ passion for writing motivates him to provide frequent direct marketing content that supports each Client’s individual needs. Please chat with Seamus about commercial printing and direct mailing campaigns, or about how to marry digital and physical strategies for optimal Smartmail Marketing success.

You can connect with Seamus on LinkedIn or by calling Troi Mailing Services at 1-866-486-0423 or via email at Read his latest article featured in Direct Marketing Magazine on “Dimensional Mail: Marketing’s Buffet Lobster

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