Which is best? I get asked this all the time and my answer is always ‘it depends’
As I’m writing this I’ve got two folded menus in front of me; both black, both a similar design, but one is matt laminated and one is gloss and they are both achieving different things.
With the gloss, the shine finish is giving the artwork a much more striking look, the light reflects off the cover, the blacks are a richer depth. With the matt, the blacks are paler, slightly duller, but overall it has a look of high-class, a sophisticated feel that isn’t trying to grab attention by being ‘shiny’.
Matt lamination gives a subtle, tactile effect that oozes quality, great for items where image and first impressions mean everything.
Whilst forming a protective coating over the print, it does not provide the same level of protection as gloss lamination and can be prone to scratching and fingerprints especially where folding is involved.
Gloss is more high profile, it adds a high gloss sheen often used on brochure covers, menus, magazine covers or presentation folders. It is definitely the high impact option. Gloss lamination forms a protective coating over the print which makes it suitable for items such as menus etc.
So it really comes down to what you’re trying to achieve. With a high-class prestigious feel, matt lamination offers you that special touch to products aiming for a more sophisticated finish. But to grab the attention with brighter colors, richer blacks and more visible shine, gloss is a strong choice.