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The Great White Way

(January 2011) posted on Tue Jan 11, 2011

Opportunities abound for shops with white-ink capabilities.

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“For retail, Madd Mats can be used as welcome mats or counter mats,” he says. “They can also be used on a garage floor or for lining truck beds. We can even combine multiple prints in 5 x 10-foot sections to completely cover the floor in a store or a tradeshow booth as an alternative to carpet.” By adding white ink to the process, he says they can now print whatever message a client wants, in any color combination.

“With white, we can control colors much better when printing on any type of clear material than we could using four colors,” he adds.

That’s not to suggest printing with white is always an easy undertaking. “There are challenges,” Freije points out, regarding white-ink capabilities. “Basically, what we do is print an undercoat or overcoat of white and then print color. You have to set up different layers in the files because trapping can be an issue.”

City Graphics: white for Wa-Hoo
When a client inquired if it were possible to put up window graphics that would let the light in without being transparent, Mark Voorhees, general manager of City Graphics Designs ( in Fraser, Michigan, quickly said, “Yes!”

Just months ago the company purchased and installed the Roland VersaCamm VS-640 printer/cutter with metallic and white-ink printing features. “We really thought its ability to print with metallic inks would allow us to offer something no one else in our area has,” says Voorhees. “The white-ink capabilities just seemed like something extra.”

On this project, though, white ink offered the perfect answer. The owner of Wa-Hoo, a popular Asian eatery in downtown Detroit, planned to expand the restaurant into newly leased adjacent space. “While the work was going on, he wanted to cover the windows with graphics that would look the same, whether viewed from inside or outside’ reports Voorhees. “Before we had the VS-640, the only thing we could offer would have been window film.”

With white ink, he advised the client, passersby on the street would see the graphics, without seeing inside. “It doesn’t seem like printing with white ink should be such a big deal, but our options would have been limited if we could only print in color on clear media,” says Voorhees.