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Design & Layout
Small Format Colour PrintingClear Dry Ink Design

Our Digital Colour Press brings you the ultimate in design flexibility, with vibrant, high-definition image quality, a wide colour gamut—and the digital design freedom to be clear—with clear dry ink. Think frost on a window or the see-through beauty of a crystal and you’ll understand the dramatic, eye-catching design effects you can create with clear. Think frost on a window or the see-through beauty of a crystal and you’ll understand the dramatic, eye-catching design effects you can create with clear. The following section is filled with tips and techniques of how you can achieve stunning results with the Colour 1000 Presses' new clear dry ink capability. You'll want to give our Sales Department a call at 604.681.7504 to request your own free copy of the Clear Dry Ink Design Guide.

What Can I do With Clear Dry Ink
With clear dry ink you can apply a clear effect, so you can address specific areas of your printed piece or flood the entire sheet, enabling you to:

  • Highlight images for visual variety, making them “pop” off the page
  • Draw attention to a headline or variable text
  • Highlight photos, logos or variable images
  • Simulate pearlescent or metallic appearance
  • Apply digital watermarks to add artistic effects or enhance security
  • Enhance print quality of textured stocks
  • Add an extra protective layer to an entire sheet.

Top Four Techniques for Designing With Clear
Once you understand the basic ways you can use clear dry ink to differentiate your printed pieces, you can experiment to see which technique adds the most impact.

Spot Treatement... You can specify clear dry ink to print only in specifically designated areas of a printed piece. This has the effect of highlighting and drawing attention to that part of the design, such as an area of an illustration or important text. It can also provide additional visual interest of enhancing varied textures on a single printed surface. Not only does this add interest, but it also gives your piece a more high-end, polished look.

  • Spot over a photograph... Add clear dry ink to a photograph and make it jump off the page, or designate certain areas of the photograph to highlight its features. For example, at left, the model’s glasses receive the clear dry ink, giving them a noticeable sheen. You can also add a texture over a photograph, giving the illusion of dimension.
  • Spot over a solid colour... By adding clear dry ink over a solid colour, you can increase the depth and overall sheen of that color, giving it a little lift off the page and catching attention. This effect works best when clear dry ink is applied over lighter colours and is a great way to create subtle, interesting patterns and also to show off your graphics. Mimic a subtle tinted varnish effect by creating a design with a light tint of a colour and then add spot clear dry ink on top of that. The tinted effect can be used on its own as a design element, or over text and images to give them extra attention getting power.

Flood Coating... To “flood” your printed piece with clear dry ink is to cover the whole sheet with it. Flooding can have many benefits. It adds a soft finish to your entire piece, giving it an offset like appearance. It provides an even sheen that adds depth to photos and a smooth consistent look across an image. Flooding can also help to protect your applications, almost adding a layer of sealant, especially helpful for direct mail and other pieces that are prone to wear from handling. Flood coating with clear dry ink also enables the Colour 1000 Press to evenly print on textured papers for better digital image quality on this type of stock.

Metallic/Pearlescent Effect... Introducing a sheen of clear dry ink over pantone metallic colours simulated in CMYK can produce a metallic effect, making your design shine. A metallic effect also adds elegance to text in your printed pieces, as well as creates the appearance of metal on objects.

Watermark... Using clear dry ink is a great way to print watermarks on your pieces. These subtle, authenticating marks can provide notice for copyrighted materials or add a graphic element to discourage copying of coupons or tickets. Watermarks can repeat across the entire page and are a nice way to add a soft graphic element to your design to quietly reinforce your message or evoke a mood.

Paper choice plays a critical role when designing with clear dry ink. To achieve the highest sheen possible, it is important to chose a paper with a matte or satin finish. Your paper choice will also influence the effect flood coating has across the page. A flood treatment of clear applied over a photo will show off your image with a consistent, even sheen for an eye pleasing finish on a variety of substrates.

Setting up Your Files For Clear
Many of the effects mentioned can be applied by our prepress layout department right at the printing stage. Without extensive time involvement we can add clear to all photos on a page, flood an entire page with clear, and add clear to all text. Or you can integrate clear right into your own original design, the choice is yours. The more complex design techniques can be achieved by setting up files in Adobe Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator.

Setting up your InDesigh file for printing with clear dry ink...

  1. In InDesign, add a new layer in the layers pallet.
    • Name the new layer.
    • The clear layer should be the very first layer at the top.
  2. Add a new colour in the swatches pallet and name it. We use the name Clear. Important: The swatch name could be anything you want it to be as long as you are consistent and use the same name throughout all other files you might bring into your InDesign file. Also, the name is case sensitive. We suggest to use the name Clear simply because it makes sense.
    • Designate the Colour Type as Spot.
    • Set the Colour Mode to CMYK: 0/100/0/0
    • Note: It does not matter which colour you choose, as long as the one you choose is set to 100%.
  3. Draw a shape or select text that will receive clear dry ink. Make sure all elements to print with clear are situated on the clear layer.
    • Fill your shape with the new Clear colour swatch.
    • Select Window > Attributes > Overprint Fill and/or Stroke. This must be checked for every element to print with clear dry ink.

Bringing in graphics from Adobe Illustrator...

Vector graphics that are created in Adobe Illustrator can be copied and pasted into InDesign and designated to print with clear dry ink as a watermark or to print over colours or photographs.

  1. Copy and paste a graphic from Illustrator into your InDesign document.
  2. Designate the fill and/or line to be Clear.
  3. Move all elements to be printed in clear dry ink to the clear layer.
  4. With the graphic selected, select Window > Attributes > Overprint Fill and/or Stroke.

Feel The Colour Design LayoutFeel The Colour

What colour is associated with passion, and can often stimulate the appetite? Did you see red? You're right. What colour often implies authority, financial responsibility and security. Did a banker clad in his subdued blue come to mind? Right again. Yellow is energetic, optimistic, cheerful and active. But be careful - if someone calls you a yellowbelly, they aren't saying you have a happy stomach - they mean you are a coward.

Colours carry with them emotions, associations and feelings. Picture walking into a steely blue room - it feels cold. Now picture the same room, only in soft green, embracing as a forest. Pretty tranquil, isn't it. There's a psychology around colour. But just as in the example of yellow, that same colour can carry different meanings. And to complicate design matters, different cultures can have different colour associations. The following are some examples of colour cultural diversity.


  • China - Metal, mourning
  • England - Brides wear white, but Yorkshire fishermen are superstitious of it
  • Egypt - Status
  • India - Purity, but also the colour of mourning
  • New Guinea - Wealth and prosperity
  • U.S. - Pure, true, innocent


  • China - Water, winter
  • England - Death, burial, Northumberland fishermen fear black
  • Egypt - Preparation for rebirth (not death)
  • Japan - Mysterious, sometimes unlucky
  • U.S. - Authoritative, respectful, empty, evil, solemn


  • China - Joy, good fortune, happiness
  • Egypt - Lucky
  • Japan - Life, vitality
  • New Guinea - Virility, war
  • U.S. - Passionate, fiery, revolutionary, stop!


  • China - The heavens, wood
  • England - The Conservative Party, constancy
  • Egypt - Dark blue symbolizes mourning
  • Japan - Supernatural, ghosts, villains
  • Ukraine - Good health
  • U.S. - Calm, cool, conservative, clear


  • China - Same as blue, also associated with Jade and therefore lucky
  • England - Happiness, youth
  • Egypt - Fertility, strength, vegetation, rain
  • India - Life, happiness
  • U.S. - Fertile, abundant, health, go!


  • China - Earth
  • England - Joy, honour
  • Egypt - Happiness, good fortune
  • India - Festive
  • Ukraine - Harvest, hospitality, benevolence
  • U.S. - Bright, optimistic, active, cowardly, caution!


  • India - Along with saffron, the most sacred colour
  • Japan - The colour of love
  • Ukraine - Endurance, strength, ambition; the red of passion tempered by the yellowish of wisdom
  • U.S. - Gentle, wise, warm, autumnal


  • Egypt - Virtue and faith
  • England - Royalty
  • Japan - Nobility
  • Ukraine - Faith, patience, trust
  • U.S. - Ceremonial, luxurious, pompous, highest award

Design Options Design LayoutDesign Options with Digital

Digital printing with dry ink gives designers more flexibility, more choices and more time. Printing on digital equipment with dry ink can be used to quickly, cost-effectively produce finished, short-run pieces with true colour reproduction and a wide, vibrant colour gamut. Now, with the option available on our Digital Colour Press to apply clear dry ink to your designs, your options are virtually limitless. Once you get started, you'll want to add the depth, dimensionality, subtlety and intrigue clear dry ink can bring to all your printed pieces.

Breathtaking Colour Dry Ink for Brilliant Designs
Strides in dry ink deliver a wide gamut that can exceed the limitations of the traditional colour gamut of the CMYK offset process - producing deliciously vibrant, saturated colours. Technology advances also let you design for specific Pantone spot colours. Special software and look-up tables can do the spot colour mapping to match Pantone colours using CMYK dry inks. But, if you prefer the control of selecting you own CMYK formula, you can also convert Pantone colours yourself using standard Pantone-to-CMYK charts.

And when it comes to blacks, using a formula that combines all CMYK colours lets you create a rich, "super" black.

A few tips to remember when designing for dry ink printing:

  • To maintain a smooth appearance on large flat areas of solid colours, introduce a light pattern, such as a texture or noise, to modulate the colour.
  • Adding a pattern can also help eliminate banding.
  • Incorporating imagery, photos, graphics and text naturally breaks up large areas of colour, and also showcases the ability of dry ink to reproduce high-quality full-colour images.

Digital printing with dry ink is a real time-saver, too. Because dry ink eliminates the time-intensive drying process, documents can go directly to finishing - ideal for flexibility and speed. And proofs can be run on the same printer that will produce your final output, so what you see on the proof is what you'll get - no colour shifts and time-consuming adjusting. Dry ink prints beautifully on an assortment of paper types, including coated, uncoated, gloss, matte and textured finishes. Plus, for the environmentally conscious, dry inks are non-hazardous and their ink containers are recyclable.

Direct Your Message Design LayoutDirect Mail & Personalized Marketing

Increased relevance leads to unforgettable results. Relevant, personalized direct marketing is a valuable, effective way to connect with your customers through highly targeted, relevant mailings that address their individual interests and needs. It consists of a message about a product that your target recipient needs, delivered when he or she is ready to receive it. Just as two snowflakes are not the same, your current and potential customers all have different needs and buying trends. Take advantage of the wealth of information available through databases, purls and analytics to identify each customer's habits, then target your communications, one-to-one. You'll see a revenue-building response.

Types of Direct Marketing That Benefit
There are typically four types of direct marketing campaigns that all benefit from personalization:

  • Direct-order, which is intended to trigger an instant response, such as an immediate sale
  • Fund-raising, which like direct order asks for immediate action, i.e., a contribution
  • Lead generation and traffic generation, which helps you gather information
  • Loyalty campaigns, which promote interaction with existing customers to cultivate a long-term relationship

Studies have shown that for every $1 spent on direct mail advertising, personalization brings in an average of $11 in sales, more than twice the return generated with other media. Using digital printing technologies allows you to produce relevant and targeted pieces that will invoke action. And with the development of driver-based variable data printing applications, the additional software and complexity associated with one-to-one communications is removed.

Keep it simple
You don't have to get complicated with your personalization - a loyalty campaign featuring a calendar with the recipient's name cleverly designed into the picture pages can leave a lasting, personal impression, and is a year-long reminder of your company. Other types of applications on which you can get personal are:

  • Booklets and catalogs - track your customers' purchases, than gear the merchandise content to individual buying preferences
  • All-in-one mailers - they begin selling at first glance, but provide a quick mechanism for returning an instant response, perfect for direct-order and fund-raising campaigns
  • Postcards - with coupons targeted to your customers' most common purchases

One-to-One Success Stories
The 1:1 Lab program is one of Xerox an XMPies's finest achievements in demonstrating the power of personalized colour marketing. Proving to add tremendous value to its participating customers, the 1:1 Lab uses direct mail marketing campaigns to test the difference of customized print communication over standardized direct mail messages. Click Here to view the outstanding success stories from a wide variety of Canadian companies using this technology to their advantage.


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