White ink is important when printing on dark papers like black or navy blue. We can print white ink on its own, or as an additional spot color combined with CMYK. We can also apply the white ink as a foundation and print full color on top of it—which would give you the ability to print a brightly-colored photograph onto a black sheet of paper, for example.
To set up your file for white ink printing using Adobe Illustrator, please follow these steps:
- Create a new layer on which you will create the white ink portions of your design. Name this layer “White Ink”. Please make sure the W is capitalized, as the software we use to print is case sensitive.
- Once this layer is in place, create a new color swatch. Open your color palette by clicking “Window,” then “Color,” then “Swatches.” The Swatch Palette will appear.
- Click in the upper right corner of the Swatch Palette and select “New Color Swatch.” The new color will default to black, but we recommend making it a light blue color so you can see what will be white more clearly; 20% Cyan is a good option.
- Click on the Color Type drop-down menu and select “Spot.” Change the Swatch Name to “White Ink” (case sensitive). Click “OK.”
- On the White layer and using the White spot color, create the design elements that you wish to have printed with white ink. For white ink to be printed behind a design element with CMYK four color printing, trace the desired shape.
- When you’ve created your white ink elements, click “Window,” then “Output,” then “Attributes.” Check the box next to Overprint Fill and Overprint Stroke (if applicable).
- When you save your file, the “White” layer should be the top layer.
Your Adobe Illustrator print file including white ink printing should now be ready for submission to Nonstop Printing.