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Setting up your file for White Ink

This will help us (and our press) know what areas of the design should be printed in white ink. If you have any questions, or would like our designers to help you with your file setup, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We recommend always requesting (and allowing time for) a hard proof, to ensure that your design prints out the way you envisioned.

Creating the White Swatch
These instructions are based on using Adobe Illustrator or InDesign for file setup. There are additional instructions for Photoshop below.

1. Create a spot color swatch for the white ink. We recommend making this swatch a color that will stand out, such as bright pink (when it prints it will still be white as long as the swatch is named correctly). To create the swatch, open the swatch window (Window/Swatches). Double click on an existing swatch or create a new swatch and double click it. Make the swatch name “White” with a capital W. Make sure the color type is set to spot color.

2. Apply the swatch to any text, fills, stroke, drop shadows, etc that you’d like to have white ink.

3. Turn overprint off. To find this setting go to Window/Attributes. This will make it so that the objects with the white spot color print as fully opaque, without the images/colors from layers below showing through. Note that you can change overprint separately for fill and strokes.

Creating White Ink Channels in Photoshop
You can use channels in Photoshop to create a white ink spot color for a raster image.

1. Select everything that you’d like to be white and copy it to your clipboard.

2. Go to Window/Channels and create a new spot color channel and name it “White” (spelling and capitalization is important).

3. With the new channel selected, paste what you copied in step 1. To preview only what you just pasted, you can hide the other channels.

4. Invert the image (Image/Adjustments/Invert).

5. Save the file as a layered Photoshop PDF.

Setting Overprint
There are different ways to work with white ink. The most obvious way is to have solid white design elements printed onto colored paper. But you can also use white ink as a base layer, printed below other colors or below full color images to make them pop on colored paper. Your overprint settings will help the press interpret how you’d like the design to translate into print. When you’re using the white ink as a base layer, any objects above the white ink layer should have overprint turned on, which will ensure that the white ink is printed below the object.

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