How To Print White Ink on Product Labels

how to print white ink underprint

If you want to know how to print white ink on clear roll labels, chrome roll labels, or kraft brown sheet labels to make your label design pop with vibrant colors and sharp, easy-to-read text, then white ink printing, sometimes called white ink underprinting is for you. Whether designing your labels yourself or using a graphic designer, understanding how to make labels with white ink printing is key to strong packaging and product label design.

Plan your use of white ink during the conceptual phase of your design. Our quick video walks you step-by-step through the process of adding white ink to a design for roll labels. The printing process can only be done by professional printers and not on your standard desktop printer.

What is white ink printing?

In white ink printing, the ink is added underneath all or parts of your label design. The white ink is used to reduce the transparency of your text and graphics by creating a layer of opacity. This opacity will ensure an accurate color match and improved legibility.

White ink can be a great tool for brands and their designers. It is important to note that the most successful use of the white ink feature will take white ink into account during the conceptual phase of the label design.

White ink used on WePrint chrome roll labels

On metallic, and kraft brown label materials, printed inks often appear differently than planned without white ink printing. By printing white ink on clear labels, you can make a huge difference in how your text and design are showcased. Without white ink, clear labels can appear transparent making the text hard to read and graphics bland.

Consider your product

If your product or container has color, the same idea as above is true. Adding white ink where you don’t want your container color or product to show through will prevent your colors from becoming muted.

Are you using a clear container with a white product inside? While it might work similarly to white ink at first, as the product is used up, the label will again become hard to read.

Please note:  Currently, white ink printing is only available on Avery WePrint kraft brown sheet labels and roll labels.

How to add white ink to Kraft Brown labels

Kraft Brown sheet labels offer a beautiful organic finish on their own and in some cases, you may not want white ink for your final product. In many instances, however, white ink can ensure a more vibrant result. It is also necessary when having white elements such as text, images, and barcodes.

Tip:  Remember if you’re printing your labels yourself most printers don’t have white ink, so the label will show through in areas that are white

In our design tool, select how you want to add white ink

Choose Keep All White if you want the white ink to be printed
Select Remove All White if you want the label material to show through those areas
Choose Remove White Background if you want the label material to show through at the edges of your design

Dark Mode helps to show which white areas are remaining

Please note: The White Removal slider increases or decreases removal of similar colors

How to add white ink to roll label using Adobe Illustrator

This step-by-step guide shows you how to add white ink in Illustrator to your roll labels. You need to have your roll label artwork created in Illustrator and all elements are in vector format. White ink is automatically applied on our Kraft Brown sheet labels during the design process and is not currently accepted in uploaded artwork.

Watch our quick video that shows you the steps below so you can follow along.

Step 1:

Open your document. This example features a 2” square label printed on clear material.

Step 2:

Determine which elements you want to include white ink behind. In our example, we will be adding white behind the rosemary sprigs, the USDA Organic logo, and the pink banner section of the label.

Step 3:

Select and copy the elements from Step 2 to a new layer named “HPI-White”.

Step 4:

In the swatch panel, create a new color swatch and name it “HPI-White”. Set the color type to “Spot Color”. Select the elements you copied to the “HPI-White” layer and apply this new spot color (HPI-White) to these elements.

Please note: When selecting a color mix for the new spot color “HPI-White”, do not choose white, as this makes the elements difficult to view. We recommended selecting a mix that will not blend in with your existing design color pallet.

Step 5:

Set the white elements to “Overprint” in the attributes panel.

Using the “Separations Preview Panel” you can toggle on and off the white separation to see where the white ink will print.

Your file is ready.

Again, please note that currently, white ink printing from existing artwork is only available on Avery WePrint roll labels.  White ink is automatically applied to Kraft Brown sheet labels and is not currently accepted in personal artwork.

If you have any questions on using white ink for your specific job, please reach out to our amazing customer care team at (800) 942-8379. They’ll be happy to help you with creating the perfect label for your specific products.

Author: Melanie Neff

Melanie has an extensive writing background built on an impressive journalism foundation. As a journalist for USA Today and The Los Angeles Times for almost 20 years, she covered everything from the Los Angeles riots, fires and floods to LA Lakers and Clippers games and movie premieres. She followed her newspaper career with a long tenure covering commercial real estate financing and development. Melanie has currently been writing about small business marketing and labeling needs for the past 10 years. She thrives on reading, researching and expanding her knowledge of everything going on in today's business world and looks to provide the most valuable information she can to her readers.

6 thoughts on “How To Print White Ink on Product Labels”

  1. Sometimes I still get a problem with white underprinting when I stick it on a dark brown container still the colour doesn’t get sharp enough and it transfer the colour of the container behind and the colour gets a lot darker can you help with that situation please

    1. Hi Yahia,
      We’ll need a little more information from you to solve your problem. I’ve forwarded your email to our Customer Care team so they should be reaching out to you shortly. If you’d like to talk to someone personally that can help you immediately, give them a call at (800) 942-8379.

  2. I could not find that these were not available on sheet labels until finding this in the comments. Disappointing as I cannot swing $2 per label on the roll as I am a small operation and only buy labels in 100 increments. Useless info aside, maybe might be worth making this information easily found/represented. Thanks,

    1. Hi Shane,
      Thank you so much for your feedback. We have heard the calls from customers to offer white underprint on sheet labels and we hope to have an exciting announcement about that later this year. As far as the article, I broke the sentence regarding “only available on roll labels” away from the first paragraph to make it more noticeable to customers. I also added the note again at the bottom of the article so customers will see it. Hope that helps. Again, we really appreciate your readership and feedback. Thank you, Melanie

  3. Would be helpful to specify clearly that this feature is only available for roll labels, and is NOT available on sheet labels. This was a big disappointment for me when I called Avery to ask for a sample.

    1. Thank you for the comment Amanda. We appreciate you reaching out so we can clarify the article. We have added your suggestion to the article.

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