Special effect finishes can be used to create and enhance eye-catching designs but they truly come into their own when creating tactility.
From finishes that encourage interaction such as thermochromic finishes that change when heated by touch, to fragrance burst finishes that releases a fragrance when handled.
Glow in the dark finishes and photochromic inks both add surprise when used to reveal hidden elements of the artwork; as does silver latex, often used on scratch cards and parking permits but can also be used creatively.
Thermochromic (or rub and reveal) is a screen-applied ink that is primarily used to hide printed messages. This heat-reactive ink changes from black to a semi-transparent state, allowing the message underneath to be read.
Black is the only colour that will mask other colours but more colours are available. These include blue, orange, pink, red and green. Non-black colours will only mask a light tint of the same colour.
Thermochromic inks normally react to heat but chill-and-reveal inks are also available. These inks change colour when they are put in the refrigerator.
Thermochromic is fantastic for revealing a marketing message in an interactive way or to uncover answers to a quiz or game.
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Glow-in-the-dark or phosphorescent inks contain optically active pigments which absorb light energy from any light source and then re-emit them as light, meaning that the area where the phosphorescent ink is applied will literally ‘glow in the dark’ .
Glow-in-the-dark is a screen-applied process and the standard colour is yellow/green, but blue/green is also available. This process has been used creatively across many projects and applied to stickers, magazine covers, posters and multimedia packaging. Glow-in-the-dark has been used for Halloween theme artworks, print aimed at children, music-related posters for dark venues or futuristic designs.
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Silver latex (or rub-removable) inks have been specially designed as opaque inks which can be applied over printed tickets or promotional cards and are readily removable using a coin or fingernail to display a pre-printed message underneath.
Rub-removable inks are normally printed over offset prints, which must be fully dried. The substrate must also be fully opaque to prevent 'show through' from the reverse. Silver latex or scratch-off inks are available in silver and gold.
Absorbent substrates are unsuitable as the removability of the ink may be impaired.
To aid removability, prints should ideally be sealed with a coat of oil-based lottery-release varnish. (This must also be allowed time to fully dry prior to applying the rub-removable ink.)
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