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Postcard Printing with Metallic Inks

Metallic inks have shiny, metallic particles suspended in the ink. They catch the light and gleam with a special quality that you just can't get with normal inks. They are a great idea to get your message to pop on your printed postcards. Metallic inks come in lots of colors, but silver and gold are the most commonly used. They're a great alternative to foil stamping because metallic inks are typically cheaper and deliver a similar result. Metallic inks can also blend with Pantone and CMYK colors, creating subtle gradients and transitions in your design.
metallic ink postcard
Used correctly, they can give your postcard a subtle sophistication that draws the reader's eye to your call to action. Used incorrectly it can look gaudy, flashy, and over-the-top. Here are some ideas for including metallic inks in your postcard marketing campaign.

Use Metallic Ink to Make Your Call-to-Action Stand Out

Metallic inks draw the eye, so why not use them to guide your reader to your call-to-action? Remember, postcard marketing is most effective when you have a clear, simple message and an easy to follow action.
  • Use metallic inks to give your phone number a distinctive shine.
  • Create literal arrows or guidelines in your design, drawing the eye along a shining path.
  • Use metallic inks to transition from one portion of the card to the next, framing the call to action.

Metallic Inks and Postcard Design

This is a matter of personal taste, but keeping your metallic inks under control is a good idea. You can easily overdo it with these speciality colors and make your marketing look, well...desperate. They work best when they're acting as accents, borders, highlights or part of a realistic design (the shiny paint job on a classic car).
Metallic inks work best when they don't absorb into the paper. Use a high gloss paper stock that will keep the ink floating on the surface, making sure the metallic ink shines. Since the ink is composed of millions of tiny metal flakes, it is prone to flaking and chalking. You can stop this by getting a special treatment - an aqueous or UV coating - added to the postcard. That will keep the ink sealed and make your postcard resistant to water - a good idea for any postcard!

Metallic Inks are Challenging to Print

metallic ink poster Metallic inks are a real test of a printer's ability. As far as inks go, they're tough to lay down, tough to match, and tough to keep intact once they're on the card. Always insist on seeing samples from potential printers. Online images, no matter how great the look, simply can't capture the luster of metallic ink.
Once you're in the design process, ask to see a digital proof of your piece that shows where the metallic ink will print. If you're dealing with a printer that won't offer a proof, that's a red flag - any good printer should be willing to give you a proof. Furthermore, a great printer will help you pick the right paper stock, coatings and suggest layout tips to make your metallic inks look great - and get results.
We obviously think we're up to the challenge - we've been printing metallic inks and helping our customers use them correctly - for over twenty years. PFL consistently wins awards and accolades for being the highest quality online printer. When you're ready to talk to a professional about how to shine up your postcard marketing, give us a call at 800-930-6040.
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