Pantone Metallic Colour Suggestion

I am looking for a Pantone Metallic or pearlescent White colour.
Can anyone suggest one for packaging purpose. It would be the dominant colour so I would prefer it to be as white and metallic as possible.

You need to discuss this with your packaging printer.

  1. because not all printers deal in metallics or specialty finishes and
  2. It may be that you are not looking for an ink color at all but more rather a converted film or similar that goes on the packaging blanks before cutting/printing, or even a specific type of sheet good with that finish.
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One example

And another

The problem is My clients supplier is dealing with a printer in China. I am in Australia and am not able to speak directly with the printer. The print is off-set on a transparent shrink wrap sleeve for a slime slide can. I was hoping to get pearlescent white look. But I might just have to try an opacity of the white they normally use. My concern is that it may make the white look greyish done to the can.

You’ll need to get your client to liaise with the printers in China on what is best practice for producing the effect you require.

There’s no right or wrong answer - it’s really up to the printers to provide the solutions they have - you then put this solution into the artwork.

It won’t work the other way, you can’t put in the solution that is good for you, but it’s not good for the printer.

You always think finishing at the beginning - and work with printers (or in your case the client works with the printers) to get the information required to pull off the design.


I was gonna be a little more blunt than that, but yeah, what Smurf2 said.

I just had a look through my Pantone Metallic decks.
There is no Pearlescent Pantone color.
All of the silvers will look gray.
The lightest Pantone Silver is 10101 and it is barely metallic because it is 10% Pantone Silver ink in 90% Pantone CLEAR base.
Not only will it be probably transluscent and non-metallic,
it will most likely look gray,
especially over a gray metal can.
I wouldn’t even advise going down that path. Not at all.

If the printer can do it at all, I’m betting its a coating over a white ink (though someone with more packaging experience should correct me here.) You might get away with setting up the file with that color on it’s own layer and specifying “this layer pearlescent coating” but you run the risk of whatever you use on that layer actually being printed “as is.” That could suck.

You need to get advise directly from the printer. Otherwise you might have to respectfully decline the work. Do you really want to produce something sub-par?

You’re right.

I am trying to find out what the printers limitations are and work from there.


Shrink Sleeves are my jam.

Metallic ink on shrink sleeves actually perform VERY well compared to paper, especially with Gravure printing. (They actually look metallic and not flat gray for once, haha)

Silver Foil on shrink sleeves is only possible with Flexo Presses (not Gravure). Though there is an inherent challenge, a thin solid strip of metal doesn’t shrink it crinkles and can end up having even less “luster” than metallic ink. That being said, you can totally design around this, limiting the amount of foil areas, keep out of high shrink zones, and it can perform excellent when shrunk. This does requires their press to be setup for in-line “cold” foil, and note that it takes up 2 stations of a press you’d otherwise have for color.

Another option is something called Vaccum-Metallized Inks. It uses metal flecks like tradition Pantone metallic ink, except the flecks have been made “chrome”. What this nets out is a shrinkable ink with an almost mirror-like finish (a bit more hazy than traditional silver foil though). Negative is the ink is very pricy and has to be ordered in bulk, which means its probably only an option if the print job is HUGE, or you are working with a larger printer that already stocks it for another HUGE account.

If the packaging container material is metallic/aluminum itself, you could also use this as a means of creating metallic silver in the design by leaving certain areas clear, allowing the container material to show through. This is probably the best method for achieving a true metal look in a design. Depending on the reflectivity of the base material, you may want to “soften” it with other printing methods. Optimal choice there is using a Matte Varnish, though this requires Flexo press that is setup to do an in-line flip (as shrink sleeves are printed on the inside, and specialty varnishes need to be applied to the outside). Alternative to this, you get a custom ink draw down made for a very translucent white ink to act as a means of diffusing the reflectivity, but this could go badly if you aren’t there for the press check.

Couple other shrink sleeve tips while I got ya…
• If your base container is not solid white and If flexo, make sure to call out “UV White ink” to back all of the printed area. Regular flexo white isn’t opaque enough and will let the container material show making your colors dull and dark.
• If gravure, do a double bump of white for this same reason.
• Don’t design with a lot of straight lines or boxes (they will likely be wavy when shrunk)

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Thank you for not being “silent” on this matter.

Your wealth of knowledge is very much appreciated.

I’ve been told the print process is offset.

I don’t think they could go Vaccum-Metallized inks at this time. The can itself is silver, and I have looked at options of knocking out white to make colours look metallic, but the issue is with the white background more so than the colours.

I actually want to ask the printer (whom I can’t contact), if it’s possible to put down a pearl coating on the clear first, then apply the other colours finishing of with a solid white. I don’t know if this can be done but if it could, it would be amazing.

This is part of my artwork. you can see that the white plays a dominant part in the design.

Screen Shot 2020-09-11 at 9.20.46 am.png

Gokmen Saban Karci
Graphic Designer

Pearlescent foils exist but they are solid, not clear. So you’d have to use that as the white in the design. Considering the other inks are inherently transparent, you could potentially back the entire art in this pearl foil. Though I’m not sure how this foil performs on shrink sleeves, maybe not something you go in blind on without testing/prototyping.

Clear/Transparent foils exist, but they are holographic, not pearl. Though if you used it with a Matte Varnish on the exterior you can get soft pearlescent-like effect. I have used this effect before with success; similar limitations to the Silver Foil crinkling issues except it instead just loses some of the holographic effect while remaining ‘clear’.

Given your situation and lack of direct communication with the printer, the best start is probably finding a physical sample of what you are trying to achieve. Grocery stores are a good spot to look for different types of packaging…when I think of pearl and shrink sleeves, Laundry Detergent/soap aisle comes to mind.

Also check out the Foil links PrintDriver posted above and reach out to them for sample books. Kurz Foils is another one, Explain you are a packaging designer and often need to pick out specialty foils for print jobs, they should hook you up. Having the trade names for the foils will help tremendously.

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