Graphics - Metallic Competitive Chart

Metallic Application Chart

The pros and cons of metallic inks, foils, films, and more

Use this Metallic Application Chart to review the pros and cons of using different types of metallic design solutions in your graphic and packaging projects.

Use Case Advantages* Disadvantages* Works Well For
Metallic Ink
  • Detail (superior quality for vignettes, screen work, small font and/ or reverse type)
  • Color variety
  • Usually the most economical in cost-of-application
  • In-line coating
  • Versatility to adjust appearance with different coatings
  • Production speed
  • Good for short runs/lower MOQs for colors
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Global, easily available
  • Physical commication reference guide widely available
  • Can print a second ink on top of metallic ink for color tints or additional effects
  • Not as reflective/shiny as some other metallic applications
  • Absorbs easily into uncoated media and loses appearance effects
  • No barrier properties as with metallized substrates
  • Overcoatability is challenged for some metallic shades and particular chemistries
  • Offset
  • Flexo
  • Gravure
  • Screen
  • Digital
  • On Film
  • On Folding Board
Foil Stamping (Hot Foil)
  • Can achieve very reflective metallic color effects
  • Widely available
  • Highest cost (for run and initial set-up)
  • Cannot always achieve intricate details
  • Often limited color selection with low MOQs
  • Costly for shorter runs, low MOQs
  • Long lead time (could take weeks) based on material availability
  • Requires secondary equipment and converting process
  • Not always easily recyclable
  • Often high waste
  • Inflexible with design changes
  • Pattern changes require new die and related lead time
  • Offset
  • Flexo
  • Gravure
  • Screen
  • Digital
  • On Folding Board
Metallized Film (Mylar)
  • Can achieve very reflective metallic color effects
  • Durable metallic retails lustre with heavy handling
  • Vibrant color possible, including overprinted ink colors
  • Short runs possible using digital print processes
  • Can achieve photo quality and gradients via overprint
  • Often provides 02/light barrier to preserve contents
  • Long runs (non digital)
  • High cost if barrier properties are not essential (food)
  • Flexo
  • Gravure
  • On Film
Printing on Metallized Board
  • Can achieve very reflective metallic color effects
  • Vibrant color possible, including overprinted ink colors
  • Short runs possible using digital print processes
  • Can achieve photo quality and gradients via overprint
  • Provides a tactile feel unique for packaging
  • High material cost
  • Some board types are not recyclable
  • Often requires opaque white and may limit ability to use spot colors.
  • Offset
  • Flexo
  • Gravure
  • Screen
  • Digital
  • On Folding Board

* Advantages and disadvantages are basic suggestions as Pantone is not an expert in printing processes outside of offset printing of ink on paper. Contact your printer directly for more specific information.



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