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Sparkle Effects

Sometimes brilliance begins with a spark.

Sparkle effects can be used in a variety of ways, whether you wish to add a subtle overall shimmer to your artwork, make certain design elements come to life, distinguish elite card holders with exclusive metallic tier designations, or stop traffic with bold and irresistible pigments that truly make a statement – adding sparkle to your artwork is a proven way to elevate your brand and to add interest and beauty to your card design.

When we are designing using silkscreen inks to add sparkle, we use terms like “particle size,” “load,” “mesh,” and “carrier.” Suffice it to say that there are endless combinations – sometimes the best way to help us understand the look you are trying to achieve is to send us a sample or a photo of something that you like. Or ask us for samples – we are happy to provide some physical examples of what can be accomplished!

Silkscreen pearlescent

Pearlescent inks create an iridescent sparkle – as we see with natural pearls, pearlescent particles reflect light back the viewer in the colors of the rainbow. Smaller particles will have a smooth but pretty shimmer, with minimal rainbow effect, and larger particles will be more dramatic, with reflected colors visible from any angle. Pearlescent inks may serve as a foundation for overprinted colors, or they may be printed as a topcoat. The ink itself may be colorless and clear, or custom-tinted to match your desired color.

To enjoy the full effect of your pearlescent, use a polish laminated finish. Satin finishes are also quite attractive but will somewhat mute the pearlescent effects. Avoid rough matte finishes, which tend to hide the pearlescent effect almost entirely.

Pearlescent in your design can be used to add sparkle to snow, stars to a night sky, shimmer to holiday decorations, or a striking effect overall. Pearlescent pairs well with foil effects.

Silkscreen metallic

Available in a range of shades, from classic silver, gold, and bronze to brilliant reds and blues, metallic inks differ from pearlescent inks from the standpoint of their opacity. Unlike pearlescent inks, which are translucent, metallic inks will effectively cover virtually any background. This makes them a great choice for creative applications on special materials.

Because of their effectiveness at catching and reflecting light, silkscreen metallic inks appear much brighter than litho or flexo inks. Silkscreen metallic inks are a go-to favorite to distinguish cardholders by membership levels (Gold, Platinum, Black…) and they pair well with foil effects.

Sparkle to the MAX with glitter inks & coatings

Glitter particles are made from a variety of natural and man-made materials and can be added to either ink carriers or coatings. With the right formulation, the level of sparkle in a glitter application will far exceed what can be achieved using pearlescent or metallic inks.

The cost of glitter will vary, depending on the type of particle and the amount required for your project. A showcase card might be printed with a stunning custom-formulated glitter overall, while some of our customers prefer to use a lesser expensive pearlescent ink in the background of their design, while applying glitter effects for a boost of brilliance only to specific graphic elements in the design.

Contact us about adding spark to your designs

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