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Guide to setting-up white ink artwork

Category: Guides


There’s so much you can do with white ink. Combined with interesting stock, it opens up infinite possibilities. We’ve illustrated a tiny fraction of what’s possible on our white ink sample cards which are available on request. 

This blog post will help answer some of the questions we’re asked by our customers when it comes to setting up your artwork. If there’s a specific paper you’d like to preview using white ink, let us know and we’ll produce some swatches.

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White ink only jobs

If you are using white ink only, the spot channel is all that’s required and can be used as 100% solid white. 

By using tints of the white spot colour, you can create levels of white that will let more of the materials being printed to show though.

Monotone images printed with white

Printing images with white ink can be achieved in the same way as using any other spot colour with monotone printing. Using a greyscale image, the colour of the image can then be set to the white spot channel set-up. 

Use the invert function in Photoshop to create an inversion of the image making the white areas black and the black white. Using white ink and dark material, you can then create the correct representation of the image in print. 

Full colour overlays with a white base

White ink also provides the opportunity to print colour on darker and clear material using the white ink as a base.

There are numerous ways to achieve this depending on images or vector/type items in your design…

To print a full-colour image that requires a solid white base, we create a solid white box that matches the image size and set the image to overprint. Without the overprint setting, the white ink layer simply wouldn’t come out in the print-ready PDF. You will need to set the object, picture or type to ‘Overprint Fill’  in the Attributes menu as shown in the image.

Type and coloured vectors are done in a similar way and, depending on the asset, can be achieved using the above overprint method.

Alternatively, using the swatches pallet, a ’New Mixed Colour Swatch’ can be selected which is a combination of two or more inks. This can be a quicker set-up as it only requires and single layer of artwork.

Talk to us

It’s impossible to explain every tiny detail in a blog post, but we can always take you though the process and answer your questions on the phone or in person. Every job is unique, but we have the experience & knowledge to help you arrive at the right solution – and we’re happy to share it.