Do Your Clients Know What’s New?

So much has changed in what’s possible and affordable, in the last few years especially. Recently, in “Impossible No More!” I touched on some of the consumer requests that have gone from impossible to possible, and I mentioned this very point: are your customers missing out on what’s new and exciting because they don’t know all the new valuable options in print? It’s up to us, the printers, to preach the new and hot, and also to be open and ready to solve challenges instead of merely answering inquiries.

When it comes to new finishes and technologies, what a great reason to meet with your clients and potential clients! Take the time to share, not necessarily to sell right now, but just to show what’s new and possible. The sale may be today, or it may be months down the line, what’s important is that you, their ally and expert, shared the possibilities. Showoff your inner print-geek about the power of a tactile representation of their brand.

Most importantly, encourage your clients to always ask and let you in on their vision, then work together. Dig in to provide a solution to the request, not an answer to the question. 

Every Answer Should Be a Solution

As an example, “Can you print white ink on a black stock?”

The exact answer may be no, it may be yes, it may be yes but not a great idea. So, knowing more about the vision for the end product makes for a better response.

Let’s assume, first off, this is about a folder because that’s where I live. Next, we find out what is the area, copy, size, style – including font, of the white “imprint” area. What is the stock? Coated? Uncoated? Linen? What is the final size of the piece?



If the size of the folder is small format, for example a document folder or 4 x 9 folder, we utilize toner technology to print white ink on dark sheets. Printing white ink on dark stocks is an exciting, and cost-effective, use of toner technology, but as noted, there are sheet size limitations.


White Foil

Another option is white foil instead of ink. White foil pricing is based on the square inches and areas of coverage, also certain font styles do not lend themselves to foil. However, if the customer is set on a black stock, with both inside and second side of the sheet in black, this is the most popular answer to achieve a white imprint on a black sheet.

Reverse Print

Another option that keeps the price down and the quality up is to print a full coverage and reverse. This option gives the most flexibility with the coverage and styles. Often it is the best price option as well. In most cases, clients choose to print full coverage on one side of the sheet, making the pockets black (or whatever color they choose) and above the pockets white. This creates a cool, duplex-like look. Other clients prefer to flood both sides of the sheet, and this option more closely mimics a black stock. In either case, when it come to the white copy, this option produces the cleanest, brightest white as all other white options tend to have some level of transparency through to the dark stock behind the ink or foil. Although we are not printing white on black, the effect is of a white “imprint” and the final piece achieves the design intention.


The point of this example is simply that there are often several possible ways to achieve an appropriate answer to a design query, which may not be the exact answer to the initial question.


“All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sometimes when digging into the client’s goals the most important part has nothing (or little) to do with the original question. Maybe the stock is more important than the color, or maybe the vision isn’t fully developed, and they are still exploring. Most importantly, discover what impression is this project intended to convey? Some examples: classy, sassy, or impact?  When digging in to these questions, a completely different solution may show itself.

Keeping up on the “Do you print white on black” inquiry, sometimes moving to a metallic ink, gold or silver, actually provides the solution the client needs. Because of the opacity issues with white ink, printing metallic instead has the advantage of more serif and style options while keeping the texture and class factor of a preferred dark uncoated stock.


Or Something Completely Different

Lastly, have you ever thought of printing with a laser?

We have.

The effect isn’t white; in fact, it’s different on every stock we’ve tested. However, the impact is pretty sweet. These boxes have a pattern engraved via laser and thus created a striking and unique effect. This project provided a powerful solution to questions the client hadn’t even considered.

As printers, we have the honor to work with creatives and turn their vision into tangible, effective pieces. Educating our clients and potential clients should always be a priority and encouraging them to ask us for the impossible may produce a well of opportunities.