Home > Creative, Technology > Clear Substrates – White or No White???

Clear Substrates – White or No White???


So, has the title confused you – well hopefully the following helps shed some light on a design opportunity and ordering process efficiency. This morning as I was having a conversation with one of our lead Digital Imaging operators, he made a very interesting point. A trend that he highlighted was the growing use of clear substrates (Plex / Acrylic) within our UV print environment. He described wing panels, mounted panels, offset panels, insert panels, and other applications where we are printing to various thicknesses of a clear material. Since our UV printer has the ability to print white ink we can execute a number of different options and looks. For example, if we are printing the word Jason in blue on clear plex, we can print directly in blue and have the blue be slightly transparent, put a layer of white down and then print on the blue to make it slightly opaque, or print multiple layers of white to make the letter be fully opaque. The design options provided by the use of white ink are tremendous.


Jason proceeded to explain that in DI (the gang who prep and send the files directly to our printers) they see many examples of layouts where the expectation of imagery or text on a clear substrate is not 100% clear(sorry bad pun). He cited a specific customer that he said does a fantastic job and makes file execution a breeze for he and his peers.The example customer provides a rendering of any UV graphic that is clear and gives very precise directions relative to what opacity level they are looking for within each image and very specific directions for what area on the graphic should remain clear. He noted that the PDF they supply is very simple and uses a call out system with arrows and then percentages for the range of opacity or definition that they are looking for.

So the tip for the day is when designing with clear substrates, think about how you vision for the graphic and make sure that your description to your client is very clear, so when they sign off and you in turn send it to your AR here at Optima, we are also clear on the expectation and all parties are thrilled with the final result. Keep an eye out for a video on this topic – I have asked for some visual examples and will look to share so you have a sales tool at your disposal to help stimulate some opportunities and clarify details with customers. Happy selling!

About the Author

Dave Brown is the Vice President of Sales at Optima™.
He has been in the Trade Show industry since the early 90s.

  1. steve
    May 16, 2014 at 1:35 pm

    Great read! Excited to see the video sample that shows the different options!

  2. Barbara Suler
    May 16, 2014 at 1:45 pm

    Sounds great. Look forward to seeing video and examples. Thanks

  3. May 19, 2014 at 7:53 am

    As a graphic designer I love articles that go over different printing processes tips and substrates. Nice Read!

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