The printing industry has been using digital printing options for many years now, but the development of metallic printing capabilities has offered the opportunity for a whole new approach to print design.

What may have once been ordinary print projects can now be produced with eye-catching design, incorporating vibrant colours and exotic effects and enhancements.

What are metallic inks?

Metallic inks are not just a form of digital simulation. They are real metallic inks – the toner is embedded with metallic flecks and, therefore, boast high flop indexes, which measure the change in reflectance seen when holding the sheets at various, different angles into the light. These inks deliver outstanding image quality with a true metallic appearance – whether it’s a metallic gold print you want, a metallic silver print or a combination of both!

Creative teams have mixed these metallic inks with various colours to produce a palette of different shades of gold, silver and even bronze.

These metallic inks allow you to create stunning metallic and foil stamp-like effects without the associated costs of the more traditional print processes.

What can you use them for?

Printed items such as logos, invitations, report covers and business cards would, previously, have to be outsourced for offset gold and silver printing and foil stamping, but now can be migrated to digital, and produced inline, thus allowing much quicker turnaround speeds and costs.

Perhaps, though, the print item to benefit the most from these developments are posters. With metallic inks you can easily cover large areas – unlike foil stamping, metallic inks can be printed in one pass, at the same time as other colours and, because they are printed, it gives you the option to create metallic poster prints in very fine detail – a great boon if your design is particularly intricate.

Vibrant and dramatic special effects

For eye-catching posters, metallic ink effects can add exceptional artistic flair, and allow designers to create stunning effects and expression in new and unexpected ways.  Metallic ink printing allows the use of colour combinations that are impossible with normal colour print specifications. Printed items such as photographs, can be dramatically enhanced and updated with metallic image overlays.

You can create effects not possible before by mixing and matching some processes – for example, if you print your poster in metallic ink, then follow it with a CMYK layer in one pass, it will add a deep richness to the metallic colour effect. You can create metallic gradations that will enhance effects, and add to the creativity of your designs.   

Single spot effects can be created by the application a speciality dry ink – the metallic pigments deliver a dramatic sparkle to any aspect of a design. You are not, though, restricted to just single spot enhancements – multiple spot effects can be produced for your poster in a single run. You can mix any combination of silver, gold and clear and place them alongside each other, or even overlap them.

Metallic printing at Instaprint

Instaprint has completed the installation of Iridesse production press which introduces new capabilities to produce an array of special UV printing effects.

Our expanding print services now includes a high level of design flexibility using amazing colours and metallic print that can be applied to specific areas or an entire sheet. Gold and silver dry inks can be layered with CMYK colours to create vibrant effects, metallic gradients, photographic enhancements and more.

Read our metallic digital printing guide for information on the capabilities and artwork set up.