Thursday, January 3, 2013

And Then There Was White

For years, the color “white” in printed materials was primarily handled by designers: when something needed to be white, it was designed with an absence of color and printed on white substrate. But advances in technology have led to a new generation of white ink which is being successfully applied to dark substrates, often with stunning effects.

White ink isn’t exactly new. However, the traditional white inks used in offset printing have been too translucent to get a true, bright, solid white without several passes through the press, which posed a challenge to maintain image registration during production. With the emergence of digital printing, providers have responded with all-new white inks specifically designed with the operating characteristics of digital presses in mind.

HP, for example, formulated ElectroInk White specifically for its Indigo line of digital presses. (Consolidated Graphics maintains the world’s largest installation of HP Indigo presses.) ElectroInk White was developed to print as a true white on colored paper and can be used as a primary color, as a base upon which to layer other colors, or to make colors pop off of rich-colored papers.

White ink is now being used in a wide variety of commercial applications including invitations, direct mail, photo greeting cards, labels and business cards, among others. It’s also being used for packaging applications such as POS displays and storefront signage. The ability to effectively print white presents designers and marketers with a wider range of creative possibilities on colored and metalized papers, and transparent substrates. 

Use White Ink as…
A spot color
A highlight on an existing design
A cool effect by adding on top of white paper or clear substrate
An undercoat on dark substrates and non-white surfaces
An overprint on see-through substrates to achieve full color saturation
A diffusion layer on clear substrates while reverse-printing the back side
A combination of any of the above

And Then There Was White also appears in the current issue of Consolidated Graphics emerge magazine.  To view emerge magazine online and to subscribe, click here.