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Metallic Ink Printing

Learn more about metallic ink printing and see if it’s right for your project.

Looking to really accentuate your project or go beyond the CMYK color spectrum? Then metallic ink is perfect for you. This option creates a strong visual impact and draws the eye directly to a part of your project.

Metallic Ink Cards

What Is Metallic Ink?

Metallic ink is created by adding metallic particles to ink, these particles reflect the light and give your project a unique, metallic look. Metallic ink is a spot color, which means it’s a pre-mixed ink that uses a single printing plate instead of the four used for traditional CMYK colors. Spot colors, sometimes also referred to as the Pantone Matching System (PMS), make it possible to print colors outside of the standard CMYK spectrum. Most notably, this is achieved with highlighter or metallic covers. Please note that metallic ink is only available as an option on international offset printed orders over 500 units.

You can use metallic ink to make any of the following projects come to life:

  • Cards
  • Game Box
  • Game Board
  • Tokens
  • Tiles
  • Screens
  • Note Pads
  • Instruction Booklets

Metallic Ink vs. Foil Stamping

While metallic ink is an uniquely mixed ink that is rolled onto your project similar to CMYK inks, foil stamping applies metallic foil onto your printed paper stock with heat and pressure. Both methods achieve a unique aesthetic appeal, but different projects are better suited for one approach over the other.

For a video comparison of Metallic Ink and Foil Stamping, check out our visual guide below. For further information, read on in the section below!

Metallic Ink and Foil Stamping Pros and Cons

  • Metallic ink achieves a subtler effect than foil stamping because it’s applied to your project early in the printing process, then covered with a finish (lamination or varnish). Foil stamping, on the other hand, achieves more of a vivid impact and a highly realistic metallic shine because it is applied to your project after printing has already been completed.
  • Small, intricate designs are best suited for metallic ink, because it is applied with the printing press. When foil stamping is performed, the design is cut out of foil stock. If your design is small and thin, metallic ink is likely the better fit.
  • If your card or board game has an intricate, predominantly metallic design, consider using metallic ink instead of foil for a softer shine. Some designers feel that using too much foil can create a gaudy appearance and opt for metallic ink for these applications instead.
  • There are vast color options available with metallic ink because it is made by mixing the ink color of your choice with gold or silver metal particles. However, if you prefer a metallic other than gold or silver, you may want to consider the 12 foil stamping options besides these two choices. We even have holographic foil options for a truly wow-worthy effect!
  • If you intend to incorporate other specialty printing options like embossing or debossing into your project, foil stamping works best. Because metallic ink encompasses real bits of metal, embossing or debossing could cause the ink to crack.
  • Foil stamping tends to outperform metallic ink in terms of longevity. The ink’s metal flecks may cause cracking as the product ages.
  • Metallic ink is typically the more economical option when compared to foil stamping.
Metallic Ink vs. Foil Stamping

Metallic Ink Color Options

Below are the standard Metallic Ink offerings our vendors have on hand!

  • PrintNinja Standard Metallic Gold (PMS 871 C)
  • PrintNinja Standard Metallic Silver (PMS Silver 877 C)
  • PMS 872 C
  • PMS 873 C
  • PMS 874 C
  • PMS 875 C
  • PMS 876 C
  • PMS 877 C

If you would like a color outside of our above standard offerings, you will need to reach out to Customer Service or your Account Manager to make sure we can apply your unique color. Be prepared to send along the Pantone PMS color.

Setup Guide

For a guide to setting up metallic ink for your project, please see here.

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