Select products with silver colour

How is metallic effect created?

Generally speaking, silver is not a finish but a print colour that can be added as a fifth colour (spot or special-effect colour). It can be applied by means of digital printing only.

To achieve a shimmering effect, the silver colour is first printed onto the paper with the value of 200 % (double print). Only after that, the "normal” four CMYK colours with lower coverage are printed over the silver colour – this is how the characteristic metallic effect is created.

Out tips to achieve the perfect metallic effect

  • We recommend light colours for an intensive metallic effect. The more opacity, the weaker the effect.
  • Images without shadows or similar designs, as well as all-over motifs look particularly impressive.
  • If you want to create a colour gradient, we recommend doing this with the CMYK colours.
  • The silver colour itself shall always have the value of 100 % and never set up as a gradient.
  • Make sure that the fonts and graphics are not too small or delicate.

Exclusive: free print templates

We have compiled some of the design and product ideas of our media designers to give you inspiration as well as practical examples. Download the free InDesign samples (.zip file) and create your individual metallic look.

Frequently asked questions

The nuts and bolts of artwork setup

Several things need to be observed when creating artwork files:
  • All elements you wish to apply the finish to must be set to "Overprint".
  • Silver colour can be extended to the edge.
  • Do not set up transparency of the silver colour, since it cannot be observed during printing.
  • In order to print the silver colour, a new colour swatch must be added in the artwork files. Please remember:
    • Name: „silver“
    • Colour type: spot
    • Colour value: 100 % cyan

When you use the silver colour, you will need a printable PDF file with special requirements for both partial and all-over finish. In particular, it must contain advanced colour information regarding positioning of the finish. Our Step-by-step instructions will show you how to properly set up the artwork files.

How do I properly set up silver colour?

Step-by-step instructions with Adobe InDesign


1. Create and name layers

Go to the Layers window and double-click to rename the existing layer to "Background". Use the "Create a new layer" symbol to add two additional layers and rename them to "Layout" and "Finish".

2. Create background

We use an image placed in the middle of the workspace for the background. You can alternatively draw a frame of the desired size by means of the Rectangle Frame tool and then select the desired background colour using the "Colour swatches" window.

3. Add logo and text

In the next step, we will add the design and the text. We created the elements in this example in Adobe Illustrator beforehand. But you are free to import your texts and logos to InDesign from any other program. To do so, select all elements and add these on the "Layout" layer.

4. Select elements

Once you have placed the logo and text on the desired position, you can set up the finish. Copy all elements you wish to apply the finish to from the layer "Layout" and insert these into the "Finish" layer via "Edit" > "Paste in place".

5. Set up spot colour

Now reopen the "Colour swatches" and create a new colour using the "New colour swatch" button. Double-click this colour to open the colour swatch options. Enter the required name by ONLINEPRINTERS here.

6. Name colour swatch

  • Swatch name: "silver"
  • Colour type: spot
  • Colour value: 100 % cyan
  • Now colour all elements you wish to apply the finish to with their spot colour.

    7. Set up overprint

    Now set all elements that require finish to "Overprint". To do this, open the "Attributes" window (Window > Output > Attributes), select all elements and enable the "Overprint Fill" checkbox.

    8. Check artwork files in separations preview

    You can use the separations preview to check whether your settings are correct. Show them via "Window > Output > Separations preview". This function is disabled by default in the window that pops up.

    9. Show separations preview

    Click the drop-down menu to select the individual colour channels in the "Separations" tab. The colour channel of your "silver" finish will now become visible here too. Everything has been set up correctly if you select the colour channel "silver" and all elements to obtain the finish are displayed in black.

    10. Nearly there

    Now save your project as a printable PDF file, order your print product at ONLINEPRINTERS and upload your artwork files.

    We are glad to assist you!

    I am Lydia Behrens. My customer service team and I ensure your direct contact with the production and support you with your projects – be it questions about products, artwork or orders. Get in touch with us on the phone or send us an e-mail!
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