OPAQUE WHITE INK

Thanks to our SwissQprint flatbed we run some of the best opaque white in Western Australia… any day of the week.

In simple terms.

ADD A WHITE LAYER: make an extra layer on top of your artwork with anything you want in opaque white ink set up as a spot colour called “White” and set those items to overprint (see rough diagram below).

IMPORTANT: Don’t assume it’s just the white areas that need the white ink. In the example below we’ve not put white ink under the fox tail or the violin (or the logo) because we want them to blend into the wood. Most times you DO NOT want to do this. If this design was on a window the fox tail and violin would look washed out/transparent. For a window application we would also put some of the spot colour white over the tail, violin (and the logo) to create a nice white base under those areas and make their colours strong.

Printing onto timber Perth

INSIDE OR OUTSIDE? Tell us whether the print is being applied to the outside surface of a window or the interior surface. If they are being applied to the inside of a window looking out we must flip/reverse the print so it reads correctly when applied to the inside of thew window.

ORDERING: Note that opaque white ink projects are readily available at LF Media but you must contact us direct for pricing.. Due to the variance in handling required depending on complexity of layering each project must be manually quoted by our friendly offline quoting team.

Working example

Printing onto timber A-Frames Perth

In the example above we want to print the “Live at the Fox” text in an opaque white ink on top of the timber.  

We’ll also pop a white base coat under some areas in the tail so we can print a tan/cream colour on top (which would otherwise just disappear into the wood colour if we didn’t)

The “Jodie Tess etc” text we added later with chalk (it’s a chalkboard).

Detailed Instructions Below.

Photoshop is NOT a layout application.

White layers need to be created in a “spot” colour to work. Sure you can use Photoshop to bang out a website or three or even a flyer… but it can not do spot colour (not in a hurry anyway). If you’re wanting to do an opaque white in your artwork click that little [X] in the top right of your Photoshop window and open up Illustrator, InDesign or Corel instead (or ask us to draw it for you for a small fee).

You CAN supply the white ink as a separate greyscale Jpeg at the exact same size, cropping, resolution, pixel width and depth… but that creates a handling fee when we re-combine the art on your behalf. There’s a dozen ways that can go wrong because you’re not viewing the white on top of the layout file to check it’s showing up in all the right places.

White “layer”.

Create an extra layer in your artwork ON TOP of your existing artwork

“Spot” Colour Swatch.

Create a new colour swatch called “White” and make sure it is a “Spot” colour. Below we’ve shown how this is achieved in Adobe Illustrator. The actual hue you use for your swatch can be any colour you like – choose one that stands out against your artwork preferrably. But… definitely set the colour swatch up as a “Spot Colour” like below.

Clear stickers with white ink Perth


When you save your PDF remember to NOT “convert all spot colors to process”… otherwise your settings above wont mean jack.

 Overprint Your White Objects.

So you’ve got it all sorted and you’re ready to go… but wait… you need to make sure the lovely white objects that are now sitting on top of your artwork are set to overprint (see below).  Obviously tick “Overprint Stroke” for all “White” strokes, “Overprint Fill” for all “White” fills and both for objects that have both a stroke and fill.  In Adobe Apps this setting is usually found in the “Attributes” window (click Window > Attributes).

Print white ink Perth

Keep it together

There is no need to supply us the White layer in a separate file or PDF. All layers can exist in the same file.Some other print providers may want the complete opposite – always check with them.       

Common errors

Supplying a file with a coloured page/background

If your project is printing onto a coloured substrate (for example a blue plastic sheet) the artist will often be tempted to include a blue colour in the background of the page. This is incorrect. You CAN include a “visual” so that so we, the printer, “get it”… but you’ll also need to supply a “print ready” version of the artwork with the colour removed from the back.

If you think about it – why would we need a blue background in the artwork? Are we printing more blue onto the already blue sheet? No. That would probably change/ruin the existing colour of the blue sheet anyway. 

The white you see on a page of any graphic design software (InDesign, Adobe Illustrator, even Microsoft Word) is actually assuming the role of the white of the piece of paper. Usually when you colour something “White” in a design application, that application is assuming you mean “hey, leave a hole here so that the colour (usually white) of the paper shows through”.

Adobe InDesign even go so far as to call the default white swatch “Paper” – bravo Adobe.