Creative Print Techniques for Universities: Die Cutting and White Ink

Expressing your creative side is both easier and more challenging when you add tons of technical production methods into the picture. As science continues to develop new substrates, inks and finishing surfaces, and the production capabilities become easier and less expensive, creatives are presented with unprecedented options. Schools have started to move toward investing higher dollars in most-likely-to-apply students. Hence, the brand impression is becoming an essential asset.

TAG has always believed in the craftsmanship of print. There is an art form to taking someone’s vision and making the physical application reflect what they desired and anticipated. Die cutting and White Ink Treatments are two areas where TAG has exceptional experience and production capabilities.

The TAG website has great resources describing how to utilize these two print techniques and a few important summaries that will help you be successful with these production methods.

Die cutting is a very physical process. It’s the act of pressing a sheet between two surfaces to cause cutting, scoring, perfing, and even embossing. Keep these facts in mind:

  • Spacing is crucial with die cutting. Since this is a physical process, it doesn’t have the exact refinement of an xacto blade. Ensuring you have a reasonable spacing of cut lines, scores lines, and even paper edges are really important.
  • Paper characteristics can affect the outcome. The thickness and grain of a stock may change how it accepts and produces die cutting. Be sure to test your concept with the actual stock to be used in the final production.
  • The combination of ink on paper may also influence the outcome. Some inks adhere better to some substrates and this may influence cracking, edge cut appearances, etc.
  • Function or form is always a great debate. Is the effect being sought for a wow factor or is it a functional purpose such as a fold closure or slits for holding a business card? And, form may be simply the creative impression to be left with a person.

Die cutting is an amazing effect, and the combination of form and function that’s possible can be a creative’s dream.

White Ink is one of those inventions that has more impact than at first sight. Dye colored stocks that give creatives deep red, blue, black and other colors are amazing to use in designs. However, they also present great challenges. Ink by nature is not fully opaque. Hence, printing yellow ink on a blue stock will have a resulting green hue. If you wanted to print a full-color photograph on a deep blue dyed paper, everyone in the picture may look a bit seasick. Along comes white ink. It can act as a base to the image being printed which neutralizes the color.

Placing white ink beneath a color image is just one benefit. White itself can be a powerful color to utilize in print. Check out the samples on the website to learn more about how white can change the appearance depending on the layer it’s on and see below for a few other thoughts:

  1. White ink can be hit multiple times on a print piece to really neutralize the underlying paper color and to create the most opaque looking white possible.
  2. White can also be used as a primary color to enhance images. Think about the foam caps on an ocean wave or snow on the mountain top. Using white to enhance these images can add a whole new dimension.
  3. White on white is a combination that’s pretty cool, too.

Since only digital printing can achieve white ink’s effects, designers will need to look for digital printers who use true ink processes and not copiers with toner-based systems. The leading R&D company is by far Hewlett Packard. The HP Indigo press line is the most robust, and ingenious in technical developments.

Designers will love that TAG wants to take on these challenging creative pieces. The TAG portfolio is impressive, but we are always excited to add new pieces to our wall of fame. Since digital printing is able to test effects on short-runs, designers just need to chat with our team to get some trials of their creative. To learn more, contact a TAG expert and begin your creative print process now.