A matte finish overlaminate enhances and protects a brightly colored wall wrap.


Transformation Kit Topic 4: "Trends that Transform: Matte Finishes"

By 3M Graphics Team

  • In today’s digital world, new trends are always being introduced and shared across platforms. One design movement growing in prominence and showcasing its staying power is the incorporation of matte finishes in interior spaces. As a look that flips the coin on what used to be considered the norm – a glossy shine – matte finishes are distinctly different, even labeled at the forefront of 2019 design trends by Forbes, Architectural Digest and more.

    What does this mean for the world of graphics? As the craze for matte vehicles settles, the interest in matte wall wraps, wayfinding and textured graphics is rising. Expanding your inventory to include matte overlaminates and films is a simple way to appeal to customers and expand your offerings.

Make it Matter

  • Giving graphics a matte look is done for multiple reasons, including both design aesthetic and user functionality.

    Popular on car wraps, matte accents and graphics are trickling into the floor and wall space, as well, because of the unique visual composition. From a design standpoint, the muted façade creates a minimalistic and modern statement, and it can also be used to contrast any existing metallic fixtures and high gloss finishes within a space. A matte wall, for instance, can also conjure more depth because of its nonreflective nature.

    The matte movement is also gaining traction due to its more practical benefits. Because it doesn’t reflect any light back, matte overlaminates can disguise wall scratches and other surface imperfections. For wayfinding and signage, placing a matte overlaminate over the graphics’ text enhances the readability for visitors and guests, promoting an overall positive user experience. Matte overlaminates give these types of graphics the appearance they were painted on textured surfaces like brick or outdoor stucco.

What You'll Need

  • Using a matte overlaminate and print film is a fairly easy way to change the look of a surface – especially if a laminate was going to be utilized anyway. Achieving the matte look doesn’t require extra steps or unnecessary complexity.

    One overlaminate that is easy to work with and can give glossy graphics a matte look is the 3M™ Envision™ Matte Wrap Overlaminate 8550M. Along with being versatile enough to wrap diverse surfaces, the film is non-PVC and can contribute to you and your customer’s sustainability goals.

    Squeegees are an important tool for the installation of any overlaminate-- just be sure you don’t have any nicks or divots on the edge, as this can scratch the matte finish during application.

    Installation Tip: Be mindful of how much you heat and stretch matte products. Overdoing it can result in gloss banding, creating visible stripes of shine where the film is overworked and overall diminishing the look of the final graphic.

Try It Out

  • The popularity of matte finishes isn’t only transforming the look and feel of a space, but the industry itself. The growing demand for this design element can lead to new customers and bigger projects.

    Harnessing these kinds of trends is a great way to stay relevant and try something outside your normal repertoire. The momentum of matte finishes is not likely to slow down anytime soon, and your expertise and ability to deliver this trendy look will help you stand out with customers and among your peers.

    Continue your education of window, wall and floor applications.