Home Label Materials How to Prepare and Print White Ink on Product Labels

How to Prepare and Print White Ink on Product Labels

White ink on product labels

As you set out to create a unique and attention-grabbing custom label for your product, you may consider adding white ink to your label. White ink is especially effective on clear or foil label materials, and can boost the visibility and the color saturation of your design significantly. Learn about white ink printing and find out how to print white ink on product labels.

What Is White Ink Printing?

White ink printing utilizes the color white in creating custom labels. Instead of sticking to the traditional four printer colors of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black (CMYK), white ink printing utilizes white as well. This printing process requires a few extra steps and additional design considerations, but it can yield eye-catching results, especially on materials such as foil or clear polypropylene.

White ink differs from other inks because white ink is opaque. On the other hand, traditional CMYK inks are transparent because they must be able to blend together to create countless color combinations. White ink can be layered and combined with other inks to add opacity and contrast.

The benefits of white ink labels include:

  • Bright, true colors, even on dark or vibrant backgrounds
  • Added visibility and contrast
  • Better results on clear and foil label materials

Learn how to print white ink on product labels to help your custom product stand out among the rest!

Considerations in White Ink Printing

Designing product labels for white ink printing differs from designing labels with traditional printer colors. Keep these three key considerations in mind to create stunning white ink labels.

Product Design

First, consider whether white ink labels are right for your product, packaging, and design overall. If your product comes in paper packaging and you’re hoping to achieve a rustic look, foil or clear labels will likely not be your final design choice, and it won’t make sense to use white ink printing.

On the other hand, if your product is packaged in a clear bottle or jar and you’d like a label that showcases the product as well as your branding, white ink labels may be an excellent choice.

Additionally, if you are using clear packaging and clear labels, the color of your product itself must be considered as a design element. How will this color interact with the other colors in your design? Thinking ahead and getting creative with these interactions can take your labels to the next level.

Label Material

Next, consider how to print white ink on clear labels or foil labels in order to bring this strategy to your design sessions. The label material will help inform your design strategy, as will the label printer you partner with. These factors will help you determine which format to deliver your design files in and how to indicate white ink on label artwork.

While some types of design see white as “negative space” or the absence of other colors, it’s important to keep in mind that any blank space on your label design file will simply show the color of the label itself. With clear or chrome labels, this will not mean a white finish but instead a transparent or shiny finish. White ink will need to be added in order to create the desired white coloring. Likewise, because traditional CMYK ink has a transparent quality, you may need to add a white layer behind the design as a whole if you’d like to avoid the chrome coloring or the color of the product interfering with your design colors.


In addition to the product and the label material, your label artwork itself will play an important role in your use of white ink on your product label. The colors you use and your intended final result will determine whether and where you will use white ink.

For example, if you are creating artwork for a foil label and intend for the shiny foil of the label itself to appear in one section of the label, while another section of the label displays your brand graphics, you’ll likely need to add a white layer behind the graphics while foregoing any ink in the shiny section. Likewise, a white layer will help your artwork’s true colors shine through on a clear label, while foregoing the white layer will allow for a window to your product itself. You can also use color ink without a white layer on these label types to create an interaction between the foil or the color of your product with the ink colors.

In order to create white ink labels for your custom products, it is important to understand how to indicate white ink on label artwork. This allows the label printer you partner with to accurately print your design and create your desired effect. This will generally require an additional, separate layer in the design file that lays out all areas for white ink application.

Overall, white ink product labels open up new possibilities for your overall label design, especially when using materials such as clear or foil polypropylene.