Special Effects

Celloglas actively strive to develop innovative special effects for print.

Celloglas have an extensive knowledge base on how to combine innovative finishes to create ground-breaking results.

Special effects are used as a marketing communication tool to increase interaction or to create shelf impact. To keep up-to-date with newly available finishes, please subscribe to our newsletter.



Fragrance burst (also known as scratch and sniff) is a screen-applied finish that is applied to a select area of a printed design adding a fragrance which is revealed after rubbing the area. A variety of standard fragrance options are available. Popular options include strawberry, banana, chocolate and coffee. Oils can be used to create a bespoke scent.

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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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Photochromic or light-reactive ink is a screen process that is applied to select areas of a design. The ink has a creamy-white appearance which changes to reveal a colour when exposed to UV light. The most popular colour is purple but other colours are available. This screen process is a fantastic interactive finish that has been used on magazine covers, promotional material and other printed matter.

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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

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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Be Inspired by Special Effects

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Steve Middleton

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Richard Gillgrass

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Victoria Boxell

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