Aqueous Coating (aka AQ) is an environmentally friendly water-based coating applied to your printed piece.  It’s applied on press during the printing process and has two purposes.

1. It protects the piece against scuffing, which is very helpful if you have heavy ink coverage.
2. It aids in the drying of the printed pieces, which allows for bindery and finishing functions to be done more quickly.

There are three types of aqueous coatings to consider when deciding on your job specs:

A gloss coating, a matte coating and an imprintable coating.  An imprintable coating (aka pencil AQ) is used when your piece needs to be written on or imprinted (such as a form or a mailer).

Aqueous coatings are applied to coated papers because the inks sit on top of the sheet.  They generally provide no value to uncoated stocks where the inks soak into the sheet, as the AQ will also be absorbed by fibers in the paper.

Here are some additional points to consider when choosing a type of AQ:

– A gloss AQ applied to a glossy sheet will look glossy.
– A gloss AQ applied to a matte sheet will look matte.
(You can not “gloss up” a matte sheet very much with an AQ.)
– A matte AQ applied to a glossy or matte sheet will still look matte.
– A pencil AQ (aka imprintable AQ) comes in matte or gloss finishes.

If you have any questions about whether you should use an AQ coating on your project please call or email us at: 818-709-1220 or  You can also come by and see samples of different these types of coatings.  We’re located in Chatsworth and serve many areas including: Glendale, Burbank, the San Fernando Valley, Simi Valley, Thousand Oaks, Valencia and others.