using white ink

Guidelines for creating a digital file for white ink printing.

white ink design.jpg

This tutorial will walk you through a basic white ink design. For more complex projects, or projects done in Photoshop, it may be best to come by the shop with your design questions. Note: Due to the frequent complexity of white ink design, we strongly recommend a hardcopy press proof for designers utilizing white ink. This can save time, money and frustration!

  • White ink works best layered on top of all of the other layers.

  • Create a new layer and name it White. All white elements of your design should be placed together in this one layer.

Creating a White layer. All White elements should be contained in this layer. In this example, only the circle is required to be contained in that layer.

  • Then create your white swatch. Go to the Swatches panel and click New Color Swatch. It should be named White, with the W capitalized. The color type should be Spot. The color representing white can be whatever you prefer, though often it is 100% Magenta to stand out from other elements.

  • Your finished product will contain white ink wherever your “White” swatch is used.

  • The "W" in White NEEDS to be capitalized.

Creating a White swatch in the swatches panel.

Your White items will look magenta, but that is for display only. It will not affect the final design.

  • Your white elements must be setup for Overprinting. You can check overprint settings under Window > Output > Attributes in InDesign or Window > Attributes in Illustrator.

  • Be sure that Overprint Fill and Overprint Stroke are checked off.

Attributes menu with Overprint Fill and Overprint Stroke checked off for our White circle.

  • We request native files to be provided in conjunction with a print ready PDF file. Go to File > Package in InDesign or Illustrator to create a packaged folder. You can then compress your packaged folder, and email or Hightail all of the files to us.

  • Please make a note in your email, or in person, that you’d like to use white ink.

  • If all steps were followed, our final design would look something like this on a kraft colored paper:

Example of the final printed result. A white ink card on kraft colored recycled paper.

If you have any questions about white ink, or you’d like us to do the setup for you, contact us anytime!

For more information on subjects covered in this tutorial, go to:

Using Overprinting in Adobe

InDesign White Ink Tutorial

Photoshop White Ink Tutorial