Expanding Palette of Metallic Inks Offers Bright Opportunity

Did you know that one of print’s best business opportunities today is with digital printing enhancements that go beyond traditional CMYK, such as coatings, metallics, white inks, spot colors and gamut extenders? While 30 percent of today’s color pages for promotional printing applications get at least one enhancement, only one half of one percent are produced on a digital press or using a digital process1.
But that’s all about to change. Keypoint Intelligence-InfoTrends projects that digital print enhancement volume will grow at a 27 percent annual compound growth rate through 20201, providing print operations with new business that promises both growth and profit. Margins range as high as 50 to 400 percent, and print buyers report they are willing to pay premiums of 24 to 89 percent1.
Calling this a “massive opportunity,” Keypoint Intelligence-InfoTrends reported more than half of the print providers surveyed said they plan to take full advantage in 2018 by acquiring some sort of digital printing enhancement device1.


The New Metallics Landscape
Metallics are a particularly interesting digital print enhancement opportunity because recent developments have expanded the range of cost, quality, turnaround and variable printing options print providers can offer. Three basic method are available:

  • Digital CMYK offers the lowest cost option, with fast turnarounds and variable printing capabilities using a CMYK mix to represent the metallic color, but without sparkle and shine.
  • Traditional foil stamping delivers the most lustrous shine print affords and the industry’s top flop index—a measure of the reflectivity that enables sparkle and shine. However, this method is the most expensive metallic solution, doesn’t permit variable printing and requires longer lead times for its time-consuming, labor-intensive processes.
  • Digital metallic dry inks balance the strengths of traditional and digital approaches to deliver what many find to be the best value. These recently developed inks incorporate flecks of metal to deliver outstanding image quality with a true metallic appearance. In addition, they offer affordable costs and the benefits of digital printing, including fast turns, low-cost short runs and variable information printing.

Innovating With Dry Metallic Ink
Introduced in 2015, these inks are still relatively new to the market and Xerox is the only vendor offering gold and silver metallic as well as clear dry ink in the same press. This suite of specialty dry inks offers plenty of runway for innovation by print providers, creatives, marketers and brand managers alike. Here are some great examples:

  • Artist John Mollison boosted the impact and realism of his popular military aircraft drawings by printing them digitally with silver metallic and clear dry ink embellishments on a Xerox  Color Press 800i at Mailway Printers , Sioux Falls, S.D.
  • The creative team at Orchard Print Services Limited, Daventry, U.K., has developed an expanded metallic palette by mixing metallic inks with various colors to create shades of silver, gold and even bronze.
  • Production schedules at invitation designer and producer Envelopments, Santa Ana, Calif.,  can manage deadline-challenged wedding planners who want metallics in their save-a-date and invitation announcements.
  • Driven by new print volumes on the Color 1000i Press, New Point Cards and Printers pvt ltd., Pune, India, projects to grow its annual revenues by 20 percent or more for the seventh straight year.

What are your thoughts on metallic inks? Interested in learning more? You can read about other opportunities with inks in this popular post: “Shine On! Printing with Gold and Silver Metallic Inks.

  1. Keypoint Intelligence-InfoTrends, “Beyond CMYK: The Use of Special Effects in Digital Printing,” 2016 http://keypointintelligence.com/products/multi-client-studies/production-printing-media/beyond-cmyk-the-use-of-special-effects-in-digital-printing/

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