Whether looking for the perfect wedding invitation, complimentary wedding stationery or party invitations, I’m sure you’ve seen lots of designs out there that appear to be white writing printed onto dark paper. While it makes total sense that one would be able to do this since pretty much any other color can be printed, it’s actually not entirely that easy and today I hope to clarify this for you just a bit.
If you haven’t figured out yet how it’s done, in many cases what looks like white ink printed onto dark paper is actually a background printed onto light paper. In fact, every photo you see in this post has been printed that way.
Here at Raspberry Creative, we offer digital or flat printing, letterpress printing and we now offer foil. I wont get into too much detail explaining foil and letterpress but foil is actually a stamping process where a stamp is made of the design being printed and then (usually with heat) it’s stamped onto the paper. Letterpress is similar in that plates are made of the design being printed. The areas being printed are raised so when ink is applied to the plate, it only gets on the design that’s to be printed. Then the inked plate is “pressed” onto the paper. When printing with ink in this manner, you can print with white ink but the ink is transparent and you do not get this crisp of a result. You can also use a white foil if foil printing is what you choose to do. While there are also other methods such as screen printing, my focus today is primarily on flat printing.
Digital or flat printing is most common. It’s what we do the most of and is how the majority of the designs you see online elsewhere have been printed as well. It’s the most common because it’s the most affordable across the board in full color. You can essentially think of a flat printing like a super high quality laser print. These printing presses, including ours, prints with toner, not ink. This is the type of machine you’ll find in most commercial print shops for everyday, quick print jobs.
These printers us four different colors of toner just like your office or home laser printer; cyan, magenta, yellow and black or CMYK. Our first press in house also had a clear toner that would create a clear, glossy kind of look but not white. In fact, as of the time I’m writing this post, I am aware of only one manufacturer out there that has produced a digital printer that uses white toner.
Last year at the Wedding MBA we demoed the two versions of this printer. One prints only white toner and the other prints CMYK+W. These machines are extremely expensive in comparison to similar sized traditional printers. I think that’s why I’m really only seeing some of the large, national print houses offer this service and that’s also why going this route has a higher price tag than regular flat printing.
A few of our production partners are now offering white printing which we can in turn offer to you. There are even options for printing onto dark envelopes. Feel free to reach out for a quote if this is a look you are interested in.
I hope this was helpful for you as a way to better understand how this look is achieved in many cases. While I didn’t want to get too specific or technical, please feel free to reach out if you have any questions or comments.
Have a great week everyone!