Printing Ink

What is used as printing ink?

Ink is currently the largest source of pollution in the printing industry, the annual global organic volatile compounds (VOC) pollution emissions caused by ink has reached hundreds of thousands of tons. These VOC not only seriously pollute the atmosphere, but also affect people’s health.

As a company that insists on being green and socially responsible, the inks used by WJPC all meet environmental standards:

  1. No heavy metal and passed 6 heavy metal testing from RoHs.
  2. No aromatic hydrocarbons, and pass 10 items testing from RoHs or 205 items testing from Reach SVHC.
  3. VOCS content meets the relevant national and city testing standards. The standards of each country and city are different, for example, China mainly refers to the standard GB38507-2020 for testing, and the limit value of VOCs content of offset printing ink should be ≤ 30%.
eco-ink standard

The following ink options are commonly used by us:

Offset soy inks


Soy ink is truly an environmentally friendly ink. We purchase American Soybean Association (ASA) certified soy ink for our offset printing, which is renewable, non-hazardous, and can be melted into nature after decomposition. 

What’s more, compared to traditional inks, soybean ink has more intense and beautiful printing colors, and is more resistant to rubbing and heat and light.

EB ink

EB ink means electron-beam curing printing ink, which is consist of ink particles containing charged liquids and are mainly used for digital printing. Compared to offset inks, it is reproducible, has no initiator and less odor. However, it is more expensive to use and requires a larger investment in operation and maintenance costs, so its application is also more limited.

Currently our EB inks support standard CMYK colors, certain spot colors, opaque white coatings on colorless substrates and certain fluorescent colors.

EB ink

Metallic ink

colored metallic ink

Metallic ink is a kind of printing ink with added metallic particles that reflect light and create a unique metallic effect for your project. It belongs to spot colors, which means it requires the use of a single plate rather than the traditional CMYK four-plate print, and is therefore more expensive than CMYK inks.

Metallic ink is available in a variety of colors as it is made by mixing your choice of ink color with gold or silver metal particles.

Metallic ink printing and foil stamping both can give a unique metallic visual effect for your project, but there are differences between them.

In general, we recommend metallic ink printing for small and intricate designs. But for larger, more vivid and longer-lasting designs, you better use a foil stamping finish. In addition, metallic ink printing is usually cheaper than stamping.

Metallic vs Stamp

Anti-counterfeit ink

Solar discoloration ink

1) Solar discoloration ink

This ink is colorless in the state of no light. It will present color after being irradiated by sunlight, and can revert to colorless in a period of time after evacuating the light source, and the change process is reversible. This ink does not require the use of special detection tools, and its invisible effect is good and cheaper. Here is a partial list of color changing effects:

No color → Purple red; No color → Red (most obvious); 

No color → Yellow; No color → Blue;

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2) Optical variable ink

Optical variable ink can be seen at different angles in different colors. Since the existing ink formulations are very diverse, the printing effects are certainly different from one manufacturer to another, so it can be said that each printing manufacturer’s optical variable ink colors are unique.

The advantage of optical variable ink is that it is easy to recognize the authenticity. It does not require special detection tools, just turn the viewing angle and observe whether the ink has the correct color change.

Optical variable ink
Optical variable ink1

What’s more, the higher end approach is designing more complex anti-counterfeiting underlines to make counterfeiting more difficult. This is because the counterfeiters not only have to make a similar pptical variable ink, but also need to trace the extremely complicated backing pattern.

Optical variable inks come in a very wide variety of different color change groups that can be expressed with different designs. However, the visibility of the color change can vary on different printing substrates. 

Some of our color change options are listed at left.

3) UV fluorescent ink & Infrared excitation ink

We know that the wavelength of light refers to the distance that light waves travel in one vibration cycle. UV fluorescent ink and infrared excitation ink are two kinds of fluorescent inks divided according to different excitation wavelengths (365nm and 254nm). 

They can be divided into 3 types: colorless, colored, color-changing. Colorless can show red, yellow, green, blue and other colors; colored can make the original color shine; color-changing can make a color into another color.

UV fluorescent ink

Their main function is invisibility: under natural light and ordinary light irradiation, no color is shown and the pattern is not visible; when irradiated by ultraviolet or infrared light, the hidden pattern is shown in a specific fluorescent color. This can effectively prevent the product from being scanned, color copied or imitated with other inks.

What’s more, they are very popular at parties such as birthdays, anniversaries, nightclubs, festivals, concerts, bars and anywhere with lighting. Cool color-changing and glowing effects definitely turn everyone’s head!

4) Temperature sensitive ink

This is an ink that changes color with temperature changes and is often used to warn of high temperatures. Except the warning effect, it is also often used in creative products, such as custom tarot cards that show hidden messages when near candles, or PVC cards that change color when they touch hot water.

The color change rules of temperature sensitive inks are roughly divided into two kinds, respectively, color to transparent, or transparent to color, and combined with multi-layer printing can change a rich and cool effect!

Temperature sensitive ink
Laser ink

5) Laser/ holographic ink

Laser ink is a kind of anti-counterfeiting ink with metallic optical color change. It can present different colors with the change of observation angle; and under the spotlight, it can produce a very beautiful rainbow ring effect.

If it is printed on transparent PVC cards, the effect is very good when viewed from the front and back; and when it is printed on opaque cards, the effect is more obvious when viewed under a spotlight.

We offer laser patterns with different gradient effects and patterns, please ask us for more.

How is printing ink used?

The use of ink is a professional and complex discipline. Before printing, it is important to check whether the PH value, viscosity and color phase of the ink meet the standard. This is because:

  • The PH value controls the adsorption of printing to the paper, thus affecting the effect of CMYK overprinting.
  • Viscosity is one of the most critical factors in controlling printing quality. Too high viscosity will result in unclear printing and deinking.
  • If you don’t check the color phase and wash the ink after inking, you will lose at least 2 kg of ink and spend at least 15 minutes to stop and change the ink.

For more information about how ink works in a printing press, click on “Offset Printing” to view!

Ready to start?

We aspire to be the best card company in the world, and we never sacrifice quality for any custom order.

Let us make your custom playing card or tarot cards deck or tabletop game card designs come to life. You can customize just about anything.

If you’re ready to learn more, then deal us in and we’ll be more than happy to help you with your custom order.