Printing Metallic Inks

When someone is printing metallic inks they are trying to get a metallic look or a shine or lustre that is not possible through printing of normal inks. This is accomplished by actually putting metallic particles in the ink so they reflect light. If you are printing a brochure or a postcard with metallic ink there are several things you should consider.

First of all, metallic inks look best on a coated sheet. The coated sheet gives you the best ink holdout and will show the most lustre or metallic look. Printing metallic on an uncoated sheet will show less metallic look and may not even look metallic at all. The low ink holdout on your brochure,postcard or pocket folderon uncoated sheets allows the particles to be absorbed by the sheet thus not giving the level of reflection wanted. If you want to print or see what a metallic ink will look like on uncoated sheets, I would strongly recommend doing an ink drawdown so you can see what it will look like on press.

Metallic inks are also opaque inks which mean light doesn't pass through them very well. This can cause issues when printing with other inks due to trapping issues. You want your printer to use as minimal amount of trap as possible. The metallic inks can give you a halo effect with other inks due to the overlap or trapping. This true opaqueness can also present issues if you are printing screens of metallic inks. Many times you can not get the desired effect from printing a screen of metallic. Experienced designers are good at overcoming this and planning jobs around that opacity. The novice who wants a shiny look often will mistake foil stamping for an ink. Metallic inks while shinier than regular inks will not have the same reflection qualities as foil.

Written by Buzz Tatom
The Odee Company