Are all inks opaque?

Answered by the experts at EU Services

My designer suggested using opaque ink on a brochure we're producing. I thought all inks were opaque. If they aren't, what are they?

Most standard printing inks are transparent inks, which means that they are mixed to allow light to pass through them. For example, four-color process inks (yellow, magenta, cyan and black) are transparent to allow blending between the colors during the printing process. All PMS (Pantone Matching System) inks are transparent with the exception of metallic and fluorescent inks, which are opaque. Any ink may be specially created in an opaque version by adding an opaque white element, usually at a ratio of 25%. Specially mixed opaque inks can be useful when printing on colored stock where "show through" may be a concern with a standard transparent ink. Opaque white may also be mixed in with varnish for an opalescent effect.
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