How to Print White Ink on Product Labels

Avery Clear Labels showing how to use white ink on labels

What is white ink printing & when you should use it

If you want to know how to print white ink on clear labels or make your label design pop with vibrant colors and sharp, easy-to-read text, then white ink printing, sometimes called white 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 product label design.

Keep in mind that for the most successful use of white ink, it should be considered during the conceptual phase of design. We’ve included a quick video that walks you step-by-step through the process of adding white ink to a design. But 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.

without white ink, clear labels can be hard to read and graphics bland

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 roll labels from Avery WePrint.

How to add white ink in Adobe® Illustrator

We’ve put together a step-by-step guide that shows how to add white ink in Illustrator. This guide assumes that you have artwork that was created in Illustrator and all elements are in vector format. Watch our quick video that shows you the steps below so you can follow along.

Step 1:

Open your document

Step 2:

Determine the elements you want to include white ink behind. Using our example above, we added white behind the rosemary sprigs, the USDA Organic logo and the pink banner section of the label.

Adding white ink to labels using Illustrator

Step 3:

Select and copy the elements you defined in Step 2 to a new layer that gets named “HPI-White”.

Adding white ink to labels using Illustrator

Step 4:

Create a new color swatch in the Swatch Panel 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.

New Swatch in Illustrator showing  spot color

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. Use the Separations Preview Panel to toggle the white separation on and off to see where the white ink will print.

Separations Preview showing white ink
Toggle white underprint on and off in Illustrator

Currently, white ink printing is available from Avery WePrint on custom printed roll labels only.

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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