What is metallic ink replication?

After a series of proprietary preparations, Carbon8 and a few other high end digital printers can print ink based digital CMYK images onto a metallic foil board card stock (paper that has a coating on it to look metallic silver).

How does metallic ink replication work?

Areas that would ordinarily be seen as white paper, now take on the effect of a silver foil… and by simply printing different shades of yellow a designer can emulate a gold foil.  All CMYK print colours transform into foil colours.  A savvy designer can also use a white ink layer to create non-metallic areas of print and even use opacity gradients with the white ink layer to create transitions between standard and metallic hughes.  The material can also take on drastically different appearances when coating the printed foil board with different cello glazing materials.

When to use metallic ink replication?

Designers looking for an eye catching metallic effect in low to medium quantities at a reasonable price love metallic ink replication.  This technique is not only less expensive than the setup costs associated with traditional foiling, it is also far more flexible by allowing full CMYK designs to be made to look metallic.  With spot colour metallic ink printing, only a single colour or colour gradient is printed onto a plain white background… with the use of the foil board as the base, everything can appear metallic, regardless of the colour.

Alternatives to metallic ink replication?

Traditional foiling is a good solution when you want to add one or two colours of foil in medium to large quantities (to cover the die costs).  Digital foiling makes sense if you are looking for small or variable data runs and you need a single foil colour applied to particular highlighted areas.  Spot colour metallic ink printing is a reasonable option when a designer needs medium to high volume with one or two specific non-CMYK gamut colour (typically neon colours and metallic ink).  Metallic ink replication works in any quantity, without large setup costs and allows either metallic or standard finish (with the use of white ink) across the full CMYK colour range.