Subtle Sensation: Digital Gold and Silver Inks
OK, I’m not proud of this: I tried to sneak some Xerox beta samples from GRAPH EXPO last year, but their team watched me like a hawk. So you can imagine my delight when last week, Xerox officially debuted the subject of those samples: their digital metallic inks. And even better, the ink is actually available, as in NOW!
While clear toner has been around for a while for Xerox’s Color 800/1000 presses, the fifth housing station in the upgraded 800i/1000i series can now also deliver metallic inks: gold and silver.
"Both silver and gold have some of the highest Flop Indexes in the industry," explained Mary Roddy, worldwide product marketing manager, Xerox. "That’s the degree of reflectantcy that you see as you hold that sheet in various angles with a light. These are true metallic inks, by the way, with metallic flecks embedded in the toner."
Which makes my designer's heart beat faster as this allows these inks to carry Pantone designations: 871C for gold and 877C for silver—oh so important because that makes it easy to visualize and design with the right hues in mind.
The inks are also very opaque, which helps achieve a high reflectancy with only one pass. "It is possible, certainly, to do more than one pass," Roddy admitted. "However, we’re really not recommending more than two."
There is something subtle yet enhancing about adding that metallic touch to a piece.
On a coated sheet, the ink has a super high, foil-like sheen, which enhances any high-end look and feel—think silver on a black background for example, or just a simple white background with a tasteful gold metallic pattern. Or adding a silver/gold touch plate (so to speak) to enhance the jewelry in a catalog…
As expected though, when printing on an uncoated sheet, some of the tremendous sheen gets lost. But Greg Wallace, president of Harvard Pinnacle Group—and one of the beta testers—raves about the ink’s holdout.
"The three favorite colors for financial reports are crimson red, forest green and navy blue," he explained. "So we printed on navy blue linen stock, which is probably the worst case for stock because the linen has the heavy grain to it. But the texture was actually enhanced by the silver ink. And it held beautifully, even down to the 6-pt. type we used on the bottom of our test sheet."
The end uses are endless (now there’s a sentence…)—from business identity systems, invitations, greeting cards, posters, even photo publishing products—everything that can benefit from that extra shine. And as always when it comes to digital: personalized communications.
In short: You have all the benefits of digital start to finish, throughout the whole workflow process, yet you can add that extra subtle—or not so subtle—shine.
Sabine Lenz is the founder of PaperSpecs.com, the first online paper database and community specifically designed for paper specifiers.
Growing up in Germany, Sabine started her design career in Frankfurt, before moving to Australia and then the United States. She has worked on design projects ranging from corporate identities to major road shows and product launches. From start-ups to Fortune 500 companies, her list of clients included Oracle, Sun Microsystems, Deutsche Bank, IBM and KPMG.
Seeing designers struggle worldwide to stay current with new papers and paper trends inspired Sabine to create PaperSpecs, an independent and comprehensive Web-based paper database and weekly e-newsletter. She is also a speaker on paper issues and the paper industry. Some refer to her lovingly as the "paper queen" who combines her passion for this wonderful substrate called paper with a hands-on approach to sharing her knowledge.