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White-Hot

(March 2014) posted on Mon Mar 10, 2014

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


By Mike Antoniak

click an image below to view slideshow

“The combination of the white, backed with the foam board really punched the colors nicely,” he notes.
In a similar way, he’s printed white along the back edges of black PVC panels for a unique effect, or laid down a layer of white on the front before printing in color for point-of-purchase. “White allows you to do some unique things,” he observes. “It’s given me a lot of options I haven’t even explored yet.”

Confident as he is in its future, there are challenges: “Speed is still the number one problem – it’s definitely a lot slower than printing CMYK.”

Still, that’s not too much of an issue, considering all it allows him to achieve. “It really comes down to what the application is, and what the customer wants in that final image,” he says. “A lot of what we’ve been doing is printing photo-quality where it may not have been possible without white ink.”

Finding additional creative outlets
Part of the appeal of any flatbed is the range of media it can handle. Add white into the color mix, and new vistas in applications emerge.

At least that’s been the experience of Chris Jackson, owner of San Antonio, Texas-based Cold Fire Signs (www.coldfiresigns.com). Last year, he purchased the CET XPress Q500 flatbed. “The fact it could print with white ink was an extra feature we were interested in,” he says.

In retrospect, it’s something he would have welcomed years ago. “The ability to print with white would have made some jobs much easier,” Jackson reports. “When you have to print on clear vinyl, and then apply that to another material, it can prove labor intensive and frustrating,” especially if a spec of dirt or dust somehow gets between the vinyl and underlying substrate. “When that happens, you have no choice but reprint, and you can’t charge the client for that. It’s been a labor saver that gives us another creative outlet,” he says.

Now, he routinely prints photos on back of clear, 1/4-inch acrylic, flooding the background with 100-percent white to make the colors and image stand out. For one project, he produced 84 of these 14 x 18-inch prints, cut from 8 x 10-foot panels.


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