PDF and transparency

I made a logo for a client and he needs that logo to be printed. I sent him a vector version as a PDF to send it to his printer. The logo have two versions, One for a black background and one for white BG. I saved the Illustrator file as PDF for the white version and I got this:

And for the black BG I deleted the black BG which is a black rectangle in Illustrator and saved it as PDF. I got something like this:

I was wondering when he takes that file to his printer company and say he wants the version for the black BG should they have no problem? The white page of the PDF file is supposed to be transparent, Right? and they can add the black BG.

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Empty areas don’t print; they let the paper show through. Now if you have type that you’ve colored white, those white objects won’t print either but they will knock out whatever is behind them (unless you’ve done something like set a transparency to prevent them from doing so).

You mentioned your client getting this printed. I can’t think of any reason your client would take the logo you made and send it to be printed as a stand-alone object. Instead, I’m rather certain that someone (who likely knows what he or she is doing) will need to open your PDF in Illustrator (It is vector artwork isn’t it?), resize your artwork and place it into whatever layout will be printed. Either that or import your PDF directly into the layout.

So if you colored the type white, once it’s imported into, say, InDesign over a colored background, yes, the white type and other objects colored white should knock out the color behind it. The other areas that aren’t colored as anything will be transparent and allow the background color to show through.

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The black outline of the food carton: Shouldn’t it NOT be black as well?


Yes I colored the type white. So when he takes that PDF to his printer and say the man behind it want to print it on a black BG he won’t see that type?

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I added a white outline so it’s not seen through that whit BG

You simply cannot provide your client with the version with white type. Despite the white elements still be present in the art, there’s no guarantee your client or the printer will use the artwork properly. Though it seems like common sense the client would submit the art with all the typography visible, if you explained to the client that type is white and will appear as such in the print, you could be in trouble if the client isn’t wise enough to place the art on a colored background of some kind.

And if it’s solely a logo file you’re providing with no idea what the print project entails, it’s a complete shot in the dark to have your client use this file. And the printer is not going to think twice about should, or should not be present in the file or the print output.

At the very least offer to design the finish product for the client, or, include that black background in the PDF. At the very least the entirety of the art will be visible, though, someone may have to go out of their way to remove it in pre-press or reimpose it on a background of their own.

The ultimate point being, do not, supply that file as it is.

And re-read Just-B’s input on how white is generated (or rather not generated) on print media. Be advised most print equipment do not have white ink.


Biggs makes a good point. Even if the artwork is prepared correctly, there’s considerable room for confusion given the white type is over a clear background and is, essentially, invisible.

As Biggs suggested, you probably should add a solid background simply for the sake of making that white type visible in case they don’t realize it’s there. If it were me, I’d probably make that background 100%K and place it on a separate non-printing layer labeled as such. I might even go so far as to add a concise explanation into the layer stating its purpose of simply showing what the logo looks like on a dark background.

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I appreciate that. Thanks

How can you make the separate non-printing layer? Is with illustrator?

Open the layer palette. Double click the layer to open that layer’s options. Uncheck the Print option.


Thank you so much. I really appreciate it :blush:

Just-B’s addition is a perfect solution. This way the image can be viewed properly and printed without the need to do any graphics work on the print end. (though the printer may still groan a bit. We like to complain)

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