By Cassandra Balentine
Part 1 of 2
Print service providers (PSPs) continuously look for ways to add value and options for customers. Specialty inks like metallic, white, and gloss/varnish are favored for enhancing certain prints. Further, fluorescent and neon ink options are designed to offer vibrancy and stand-out graphics for dye-sublimation (dye-sub) applications.
Fluorescent inks enable PSPs to expand available colors and brighten applications like apparel, soft signage, and interior décor.
Fluorescent and neon inks present an opportunity for PSPs to offer unique designs that stand out. With colors that pop, these ink sets are used as a differentiator to make applications like clothing or graphics make an impression.
David Lopez, textile solutions specialist, Mimaki USA, Inc., says the biggest advantage of fluorescent or neon inks is the ability to offer colors to customers that not every print provider has. He points out that the dye-sub market is rapidly growing, which means that more print providers are starting to offer dye-sub printing services. “Fluorescent colors bring in different niche customers,” he suggests.
Most importantly, Lily Hunter, product manager, textiles and consumable supplies, Roland DGA Corporation, says fluorescent inks open up a world of new applications. “Beyond fashion apparel, these inks are used to produce everything from athletic wear and soft signage to sets/décor at amusement parks, theaters, and concert venues,” she explains.
She adds that the output doesn’t have to be completely fluorescent to achieve eye-catching results. “These inks can even generate that wow factor when used as highlights within graphics.”
All dye-sub applications benefit from the availability of fluorescent colors. “Whether sports apparel, fashion, home décor, or other applications—having that eye-catching fluorescent color grabs customers’ attention,” comments Lopez.
The benefits of offering specialty inks like fluorescent and neon are straightforward, however it is important to consider potential challenges when deciding whether or not to offer them.
Hunter says users should keep in mind that the shelf life of fluorescent inks is shorter than standard inks. “Knowing this, it’s important to ensure you’ll have a steady flow of business to support the inventory you have on hand before it expires,” she shares.
It is also important to know that the original vibrant colors of fluorescent inks tend to fade faster than non-fluorescent ink colors, so these changes may be more noticeable, continues Hunter.
Lopez agrees, adding that when using fluorescent colors on a fabric in an outdoor environment, the fluorescent colors tend to fade a bit quicker than traditional colors.
Print providers are always looking for ways to impress customers and remain competitive against peers. By including specialty ink sets, new applications and revenue opportunities are available. However, there are issues that a PSP should address up front to determine if it makes sense to bring fluorescent or neon colors into its service portfolio.
The second portion of this two-part series highlights vendors offering fluorescent and neon inks to the digital print space.
Jul2019, Digital Output