metallic on black
- been doing 14 hour days the past couple weeks. coming in late here.
metallic on dark stock has been my signature aesthetic for 13 years.
now everyone's doing it. but i picked it up from Bruce Licher, so
hey, nothing new under the sun.
no, you don't need to lay down anything under a metallic. they are
all absolutely opaque.
on the other hand, all other inks except maybe chrome yellow, are
translucent. they rely on the base paper being a white white, just
like watercolor paints. the notion that you can use opaque white in
place of mixing white and get the same color is kinda not right.
rather than getting a thinned yet still translucent color (as you see
in a pantone mixing fan) you are creating a tint. and in general,
those tints tend to be (ugly) pastel colors. think pouring water into
coffee or milk. yes, the color is still brown, however the nature of
that brown is altered in a way quite different than adding a clear
what i've often done to make an opaque color tint is to mix a
translucent pantone with 877 silver. true, you end up with a metallic
color and that may not be appropriate for all jobs, but it is a way
to avoid the milky pastel tint that mixing with opaque white creates.
another issue with running on dark stock is the keeping contrasts.
e.g. silver on black is very contrasty. copper on brown is less so.
small type printed in a value too close to the paper base color will
render it difficult to read. adding colors to 877 (and you'll find
you need to add more color than you imagine in order to affect a
meaningful effect) can end up creating a color of less contrast than
when you started with that bright silver.
basically, it's a crap shoot, and don't be afraid to experiment.
you're going to waste ink. that's the price of progress.
to refer back to Licher, since his signature stock was brown
chipboard, he did a lot of opaque white first runs, then would lay
down a color over top after the white dried. that way you avoid the
pastel problem, but bump into potential registration issues. his work
traded on a somewhat more rough hewn aesthetic, so it was successful,
and especially at the time when he was the only player in the game of
note. hats off to Bruce.
n.b., as a general rule, attempting to run a large solid area in the
same pass as small type will be problematic.
p.s., black on black tends to work better than varnish unless you
need the dry-back to be glossy.
> Does that mean one should lay down opaque white before 877 silver[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
> as well?
> Any color that calls for transparent white in a pantone book can be
> replaced with opaque white-- It looks great with large solid areas
> on dark papers- the smaller your type gets the gloppier the harder
> it is to get a crisp line.
> A clear varnish also looks great on black.