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From Shiny Cars to Futuristic Fashion: How Metallic Reflects the Zeitgeist

Metallic colours have long influenced and reflected the spirit of the times.

During the 1950s Space Race, cars were built with tailfins to mimic rockets—the metal particles in the metallic paint sparkled in the sun and emphasised the contours. In the 1960s, designer Pierre Cardin bent fashion rules by hammering metal jewelry onto dresses, so they resembled fine art and sculpture of the day. And in the 1980s and 1990s, hip-hop artists accentuated their style with blingy jewelry.

Today, gold and silver have spilled over to the mainstream, seen everywhere from metallic leather sneakers to rose gold smart phones. But why should materials get to have all the fun? Designers can print their silver and gold creations using the Xerox® Iridesse® Production Press, the Xerox Versant® 280 Press or the PrimeLink® C9065/C9070 Printer.

Metallics: From Shiny Cars to Futuristic Fashion YouTube Video

How Metallic Toner Works

Xerox’s process stands out because of its unique toner approach. “It is hard to print metallic because of the way you have to formulate the toner,” says Beatriz Custode, Colour Customisation & Engineering Services at Xerox. “You really have to grind metallic particles into it.” The flakes in the toner—rather than using high heat to bake and evaporate metal onto paper to leave a thin coating—make a significant difference in the image quality. “What you see is a sparkly effect because the light is bouncing in different directions,” says Custode.

How Metallic Dry Ink Works

With a lower cost than foil stamping and more intrigue than the classic CMYK palette, our dry formulas of metallic gold ink and metallic silver ink provide the desired shimmer at an affordable price point. You can mix the metallic ink with other colours for a range of metallic shades, like bronze, and layer it with specialty Clear Dry Ink for dimension and professional finish.

Xerox technology allows for printing up to six colours in a single pass, offering more complex printing as standard and resulting in time saved. “The Iridesse is a great addition to production with a greater return on investment,” says Steve Shedden, owner of Ivory Graphics in the UK. “Silver and gold are perfect to upsell on any order."

Ways to Use Metallic

Whether you use metallic ink or toner, the glimmering colour can enhance your printed materials. Use the gold or silver as the main focus or an accent feature, like with image overlays. When you know how to print shiny gold and silver, you can use these elements to create a wide range of personal and business materials. Print marketing collateral with eye-catching logos, graphics, artwork, and photos. Help simple text and seals make an impression with metallic gold print or sleek, refined silver. Even enhance personal communications like invitations with metallic colour that sets your creations apart from the rest.

“For thousands of years, metallic has been desirable because it means gold, silver, and other precious metals,” says Marcie Cooperman, a professor at Parsons, the New School for Design and colour education consultant for L’Oreal. “It's always been a way for us to feel uplifted.”

Utilise speciality embellishments crafted with Xerox’s metallic toner and metallic ink printing to make your prints pop.

This article is part of Xerox’s Colour Campaign series that tells stories about the world’s most intriguing visuals and images. By investing in CMYK Plus Technology, we have the tools and the experts to help you add the effects of metallics to your next project. Find out more here.

Watch More from Our Colour Series

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