Printing Technology

Best Methods for Printing with Clear Toner

Best Methods for Printing with Clear Toner

So your print shop has invested in new printing technology that allows you to print using not just the traditional CMYK range, but also white and clear toner.

You want to get the most out of this investment, and you’ve come up with some great ideas for white toner, but when it comes to clear, you’re just stumped. Why would I print things in…clear? It’s not even a real color!

Luckily for you, there are some great uses for clear toner, they just might not be as transparent (get it?).

Using Clear Toner for Printing Solutions

Clear toner is a transparent toner which is applied to create a subtle silky or glossy effect on the printed media.

Looking back at older printing technologies, it was often used as a layer on top of colors to create a varnished look. The clear toner in today’s print engines is a way to replicate the “old style” finish using a toner-based engine.

Clear toner can add to the look of your printed piece in a few different ways. As we noted before, overprinting your base colors and artwork with clear toner gives the piece a varnished look. Another way to utilize clear toner is to lightly mix it with another color (grey, for example) to create a watermark. Printing a small watermark in a “step and repeat” pattern using clear toner gives some dimension to your printed piece.

Clear Toner ≠ Protective Coating

What clear toner can not do, however, is act as a coating to protect toner from being scratched or scraped off. There are a couple of reasons for this, one being that the transparent toner is not always the last “color” to go on. Rather, clear can be the base toner and then the CMYK colors are added on top of the clear.

Another is that clear toner is simply an additional layer of toner, so it can’t act as a “protective layer” the way UV coating does.

Clear toner can add elegance, simple security, and a finished look to your designs. When used with a specialty media, the printed result is a combination of colors and finishes that give you a “no color” limit!


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