Archive for July, 2013

Almost weekly I have been asked to supply CLEAR Stickers or Decals. The first question I have is How will the stickers or decals be used? What is the color of the item they will be applied to? Generally the color to which they are mounted to has to be a light neutral color, preferably white.

Colors need to be backed up with white or the printed graphics and text colors will bleed out and take on the background colors. Basically with any sign, vehicle graphics or even a banner, has to isolate and/or support the colors intended. All efforts of color matching and color management will be a waste of time and effort on clear medias or substrates.

If you look closely at clear decals or stickers, there will be generally a halo of white around the images printed text. Even though it appears to be clear, additional costs of materials and equipment have been incurred, to apply a detailed layout of white ink first.

So remember, a clear background on a sticker, decal, vehicle graphic or other signage, does not necessarily relate to lower cost. a contour or detailed die cut on a white media may offer the best unit costing long-term.

The Sign Industry has been looking at the ability to use white and metallic inks for many years. Not until recently, has the equipment technology and ink chemistry started to catch up. Offset printing has used white ink for many years, but has not been the focus for the Sign Industry.

The Digital Sign Industry has used white medias or substrates to overcome the inability to print with white ink. White ink allows printing on a colored substrate, which normally will bleed through images and change the final colors. Not a good idea! The cost of white ink can be three times that of the other CMYK colors.

Then there are the Metallic Inks, just starting to surface in the Sign Industry. Metallic ink requires specialized printing equipment and again the cost is very high. Add to this, metallic ink slows the printing process by 85%, reducing output and adding cost.

White and Metallic Inks are now available for the Digital Printing Industry. Are they viable options at this point considering the added cost verses the benefit? The interest is there for some very specific application projects, but the additional costs are difficult to justify for many applications. That will change in the next couple years as technology and demand help reduce costs. Until then, be patient and create with proven alternatives.

Did you know that we can print to specialized metallic vinyl substrates? Faster turn around and more cost effective.