Glow in the Dark Inks

by Rich B

We’re always looking for ideas that might give our customers’ campaigns that extra bit of impact, and glow in the dark inks can really add to the appeal of your print. They’re fun and vibrant and have a real retro-appeal, and now they’re on the 4th generation, they’re brighter and longer lasting than ever.

The great thing about glow in the dark inks from a marketer’s perspective is that they really enhance all the print they touch. Whether it’s a publication, a mailing or a brochure, they’re great for attracting attention and they’re especially great if you’re targeting the young (or young at heart). They turn each piece of print into something that gets shared, passed around and retained.

They also heighten the customer’s perception of the value of the print (and in turn, your product & brand).

So here’s some information about glow in the dark inks which may help you decide if you want to investigate further.

Printing Glow in the Dark Inks

Glow in the dark inks contain optically active pigments which absorb light, store it, then emit it again over a long period of time. The technology is used primarily on signs and in cars for things like speedometers – but of course, it’s used on paper print too. It’s mainly screen printed but can be litho printed too. The main thing to bear in mind is that the inks don’t cover other inks very well so it’s advised that they’re printed directly onto unprinted but sealed plain white/black.

Glow in the Dark Poster

Coldplay poster using Gen 4 Glow in the Dark Ink

Having said that, the level of detail you can create with glow in the dark inks is similar to other screen printing inks; but note, the finer the detail, the finer the size of phosphorescent particles required in the ink. If you try for too fine, it can compromise the glow so it is usually a balance between detail and brightness. If being used on a litho job, the particles in the ink have to be on the smaller side, so here it’s particularly important to work with a print consultant from the design phase onwards to advise on the best way forward.

Once printed, the inks tend to be pretty rough to the touch. If you’d rather have a smooth finish, they can be overlaminated afterwards to give a glossy effect without imparing the glow.

One other thing worth noting is that they shouldn’t be printed over areas that need to be creased, trimmed or folded.

The Inks

The most popular coloured glow in the dark ink is the light green colour we’re mostly used to seeing, because it’s the brightest and longest lasting. They do also come in light blue and white however they have to be ordered specially and are less vibrant. The length of time they emit light is dependent on the amount of light exposure they’ve had, although these latest inks charge quickly and last longer (typically a 40 second charge will glow for 16-24 hours!) and they’re up to 150 times brighter than previous generation inks.

glow-in-the-dark-planisphere

Glow in the Dark Planisphere – ideal for viewing outdoors at night.

Uses

  • Cards
  • Posters & POS
  • Book or magazine covers
  • Safety messages
  • Kid’s books or marketing
  • Games
  • Can be printed on glass/plastics too

Pricing

This is determined by the coverage and sheet size, so if you have a sheet that’s covered 50% it’ll be more expensive than one with 5% coverage. To get a clear idea of cost or to talk through how glow in the dark might help in your next campaign, contact a Webmart Print Consultant.

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