What Is the Difference Between Matte Finish and Glossy?

difference-between-matte-finish-glossy Credit: Callie Reed/CC-BY 2.0

Matte coating boosts the contrast of graphics and photos without leaving a noticeable glare, whereas a gloss coating gives off a smooth and high-quality shine.

Matte coated surfaces are great for showcasing presentations, text and reading materials. Because the finish is not glossy or shiny, a matte coating surface provides the ideal surface for writing. Because of its shiny surface, gloss coating is great for showcasing pictures. This coating gives pictures a professional look. Gloss coating is excellent for marketing and advertising. Another form of gloss coating is "UV" gloss coating. UV coating outshines regular gloss coating by enhancing the colors, making them more vivid.

With color photos, glossy prints display rich, vibrant colors, producing a high-quality feel and impression. In intense light, however, glossy prints can be almost blinding because of light reflection. The glossy finish also attracts fingerprints and dirt when photos are handled. For black and white photographs a matte finish gives better looking results, while color photos look duller and not as rich on matte finish paper. Choosing matte or glossy photo paper depends on the photographer’s preference and the intended use of the photos.