When you can add value to a project without having to add significant cost, that's a huge benefit for customers. One of these particular benefits is the use of metallic inks in digital printing….specifically for packaging prototypes and label prototypes. As little as two years ago, metallic inks and gradients were unachievable in digital printing, but with the advent of new technology and a little experimentation, PrintSure is now outputting these colors on a daily basis.
Metallic printing has come a long way since the days of foil stamping. The process involves actual flakes of metal suspended in the ink, usually aluminum, bronze or zinc. The biggest breakthroughs for these inks have been smaller particle sizes and more consistent drying and saturation. Here are a few of the common techniques that we use to achieve a metallic luster.
- Dry Tapping: this is the most basic metallic printing process still in use, where the special inks get printed separately before the normal inks get laid in a second pass. This technique has been used for jobs demanding the highest levels of accuracy. Increasingly, though, this extra step is not necessary as the quality and consistency of the ink has improved.
- MetalFx: this is a proprietary system that adds a single metal ink to the normal CMYK process, providing a huge range of possibilities. The results are even, high fidelity reproductions that graphic designers love. This technique is especially suited for promotional materials and flyers.
- Substrates: one alternative to metallic printing is simply using a metal or chrome based substrate to print specialized CMYK inks onto, in a reversal of the process. This is especially popular with photographers looking for a powerfully eye-catching way to present high quality prints of bright, vibrant images. This can also be an economical shortcut for jobs with more monochromatic effects.
New innovations and production methods for metallic digital printing are on the horizon, so the specifications and prices may be fluid until it becomes standardized. Until then be sure to use a printer thats has experience in metallic digital printing. Just remember, you don't have to sacrifice your design, or budget, to get the packaging prototype or label prototype right for you.
Editor’s Note: This post was shared by a member of the Package Design community. Do you have news to share with our readers or a package design project that you are especially proud of? Click here to learn how you can become a contributing member of the Package Design online community.