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(March 2014) posted on Mon Mar 10, 2014

Six shops exploring the expanding universe of white-ink applications.

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By Mike Antoniak

“The printer lays down the white first at whatever percentage we choose, and then the color of the wood prints right over it,” explains Okun. “This is done in a single process; it doesn’t need to be fed through the printer twice.”

Another installation, this one at the CrossFit Total Control Gym in Jacksonville, also combined prints on acrylic with wood. This time, text on wood panels was output in color on a 50-percent white base “to get the black nice and dark without losing all of the wood texture,” says Okun.

And, for the lobby of the PGA Tour Experiences headquarters in nearby Ponte Vedra Beach, the look of real wood panels was desired, but impractical: “Due to weight concerns, we opted to print these pieces on black 1/2-inch PVC with color onto 100-percent white,” says Okun. “We mounted laser-cut acrylic to the PVC, installed the mural, and hung the pieces using one-inch standoffs.”

Dali’s deft use of white has garnered professional accolades as well. Last year, its 30 x 40-inch submission to EFI’s “Refine Our Space” contest was a winning entry. The multimedia piece combined photos on acrylic with cherry-grain wood panels. A layer of 50-percent white was printed on plywood, then the grain printed on top of that.

“When you start to get creative with white ink, things can really get fun,” sums up Okun. “There’s just so much it allows you to do.”

The indispensable option
For Artisan Colour ( in Scottsdale, Arizona, the white-ink capabilities of its Canon Océ Arizona 350GT flatbed and HP Scitex FB700 printer have added an ingredient that’s now essential to its success.

“If we didn’t have the ability to print with white ink, we’d lose half our business,” says Pete Cook, Artisan’s display-graphics manager. “It’s something we’re using on a daily basis.”

While the company’s main focus is commercial graphics solutions, it’s also tapped white ink for lucrative specialty services to consumers, available through Artisan HD ( There, consumers can have color photos reverse printed on clear acrylic panels up to 54-inches wide, backed with 100-percent white.

As with much of the company’s professional services, both of its printers are used based on their availability. “We have both machines profiled very close together,” for consistent results, whatever the material, he says.