Inking It Right: With White Ink

Think about any banner, vehicle wrap, window graphic or POP display that you’ve seen recently. The chance of the graphic containing an element of white is high – try to remember any white accents or type. The graphic probably wouldn’t have appeared as appealing without the addition of white.

Those of us in the printing industry (and many of you not in the industry, frankly) understand that most printers operate through a CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow and black) standard ink palette. During the UV printing process, very specific and precise amounts of CMYK are brought together to create the designer’s determined Pantone color. Oftentimes white ink goes unnoticed because designers are worried about “important colors”, because, well…it’s white.

Since 2008 we have been using white ink capabilities in our graphics. You might be wondering why anyone would use white ink. There are a variety of reasons:

  • Use white as an undercover on a non-white surface. If you’re using black sintra because of the black core and back, you would want to include white in your four color display for readability and quality of image.  
  • Overprint white on see-through surfaces to achieve full color saturation.
  • To insure that backlit graphics are visible when unlit.

White ink is an option – we think of it as an added value. When presented with the option of white ink, there are three directions that designers can take:

While white ink isn’t a “new” addition to the printing world, it is an introduction that pushes us to ensure that our prints continue to pop. Using white ink comes with its challenges – white ink must be opaque enough to cover non-white surfaces but also needs to be transparent enough for backlit graphics. Our dedicated UV press operators ensure that images and colors stay sharp, because perfect prints mean perfectly happy customers.

Does the possibility of white ink intrigue you? Thinking about how to leverage white ink on your next project? Contact us.

Brett Saunders is the Vice President of Finance and Development at Custom Color Corp. Brett spends part of his days wondering how to combine his loves of product research and development, Haribo gummy bears, large format printing, and all things Disney. The rest of his time he oversees the company finances and productivity. Connect with him on LinkedIn