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The Wonders of Digital White Ink

When it comes to digital print technology, white ink capabilities aren’t exactly new. There are white ink capabilities for both dry toner and liquid toner (Indigo) technologies. That’s great news for creatives looking for digital production capabilities like that of offset but with all the short-run benefits of digital. Here are some things to keep in mind when using digital white ink.

Materials Matter

For most creatives looking to get the biggest bang for their buck when printing digitally, many look to use white ink. Some use digital white ink just as they would when offset printing. Opting to pair it with a dark paper for maximum contrast. And while there is something striking about even the simplest one-color illustration printed with white ink, knowing how to use white ink effectively can be tricky.

Whether it’s invitations, posters or illustration design, some of the same considerations given to offset printing apply to digital printing when using white ink – especially when paired with darker papers. Most notably, achieving desired print results with digital white ink may require multiple “clicks.” Just like offset, some design may call for two, three or even four passes to produce the pop of white you’re looking for, the same holds true with digital.

The shade or color of the material can impact the results. Common sense tells us that printing white ink on dark shades like black, navy or dark green probably requires two-three clicks for the best results. But many creatives are often surprised to learn that printing on lighter shades might require as much if not more clicks to get that perfect contrast.

Kraft colored papers can be especially tricky when printing digitally. Given the various shades of kraft, it’s easy to see why that might be the case. In this holiday card, five clicks of white ink were necessary to achieve the desired print results. That may or may not break the budget depending on the design and quantity of the print project. However, it’s something to consider.

Enhance 4 Color Process

It’s common practice with offset printing to use a layer or two of white underneath four-color process. Although digital toner is more opaque than transparent inks used for offset, some images still benefit from using this method. Even when printing digitally.

While many use digital white ink as a base for four-color process, few use it in terms of digital production. Using it in this manner can enhance the overall effect of the final printed piece.

In Millcraft’s new print promotion, Discover the Possibilities of Digital, we demonstrate how to use digital white ink as a production design element to enhance final print results.

In this image, we used a gradient of spot white ink in the sky and on the surf. The use of white ink in this manner produced stunning print results. The metallic finish of Aspire Petallic in Silver Ore enhances the dramatic feel of the image even more.

For more digital print inspiration and education, sign up to Discover the Possibilities of Digital.