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Metallic finishes are among the most eye-catching effects you can incorporate in print. Achieving them digitally is steadily becoming easier and more accessible.

Metallic ink or toner is one way to do it. Large-format inkjet makers Mimaki have metallic eco-solvent inks in their range. It’s much the same story for dry toners.

While these inks and toners really are metallic, they are fairly dull by comparison with metallised papers or foil blocking. They can be eye-catching though and seem to work best if used sparingly as highlights.

Foils remain the gold standard in metallics, so to speak, and digital application techniques have advanced rapidly in the past few years. The major advantage is they don’t need metal dies, so very short runs and personalisation are possible.

The original method has been around for a couple of decades: dry toner print can be heated up to the point where it activates the adhesive on hot foil, which is pressed onto it with the waste peeled off. Black works best. You can print the toner on top of other pre-printed materials such as offset and inkjet.