Good decisions come from experience, and experience comes from bad decisions. ~Author Unknown

Experience also comes from printing countless projects of all types, so here’s one risk to avoid: Small, thin type used with metallic ink. We’re sure you want nothing less than a first-rate metallic ink project – read on before wrapping up your design. Fonts and metallic ink should always be handled with care.

Metallic inks can really make a project shine, but some fonts used with these inks look more like a mumble than a message. Why? Metallic ink is very different from process or most other spot inks. It contains metal flakes and a clear base resulting in lightness and darkness that shifts with a surface tilt. That contrast shift won’t show on a computer screen, but contrast will definitely differ on paper when viewed at different angles. Even black type against metallic can get lost at certain angles; another reason to avoid small elements in this situation.

Also important to remember is that metallic ink can flake as it’s handled, gradually filling in areas of thin type making it less legible. That means small, thin type reversed out of metallic ink isn’t a wise choice for a business card. Of course there are post-printing treatments to reduce flaking such as aqueous coating.

Fonts to avoid with metallics are generally “light” versions or fonts that have a “picket fence” design, with extreme narrowing in areas joining the serifs. We’re not naming any [font] names, here (except in the picture…). You’ll recognize them when you see them.

To wrap up: Experience says, “Metallic inks and tiny fonts don’t mix.”