The Guide to Pad Print Colours

Vampire Step-Dad pad print

We’ve been pad printing cassette shells since the 1990s, so we know the ins and outs of providing a quality print job just like you intended in your design. We use opaque ink for pad print, unlike offset pad printers which use a type of paste that is thinner and appears more transparent. Our pad print jobs are done individually by hand, allowing us to see the result of every print. This gives us a huge advantage in maintaining great quality assurance. Check out our pad print machine in action on YouTube.

Pad print colors

Our selection of pad print colours

That said, certain ink colours look better on certain shells. Black or dark ink will appear striking and vibrant on white or lighter colour shells, while the inverse not so much. The ink is opaque, but the plastic shell will still absorb some of the colouring. Take a look at this colour mixing diagram:

Pad print ink color mixing

Notice the color changes on the overlapped sections. Blue ink on a red shell may appear more purple, and will thus be a bit more difficult to read. Similarly, yellow is a lighter colour than red, so it may be absorbed by the red shell and appear more orange. It’ll look cool, but not exactly what you had in mind when designing.

If you insist on continuing with unconventional colour schemes like blue on red, there are a few solutions—

  1. Request double-hit with your pad print. This will give your colour a little extra oomph and emphasis against a darker shell colour. It may not solve the problem of a particularly light ink colour against a dark shell, but it will certainly look better than single-hit pad print.
  2. Upgrade to 2-colour pad print and use the bottom layer as a white base. Locking the shell into place for two separate ink stamps is extremely difficult and won’t always work, so you will want to make the white base larger than your design (like a stroke or outline filter), or slightly smaller than your design, that way it’s not off-register.
  3. Request a custom colour ink. We can add white ink to an ink colour for an extra fee to make it a bit more vibrant when placed against a darker colour shell.

If you’re not sure if a colour combination will be as vibrant as your design, ask your sales rep for their thoughts, we’ve seen it all over the years! You can add pad print to your cassette package through our cassette duplication calculator and receive free shipping to the United States and Canada.

Get Higher-Resolution Pad Print Using Vector Artwork!

 

In the past couple of months we began experimenting with creating pad print plates using vector artwork. The results were astounding! Sharper text and images with an even quicker workflow. It’s time we got the word out— send us vector artwork for pad print!

How can you do that? When you’re designing pad print artwork in Photoshop or Illustrator and you’re entering a line of text, don’t rasterize said text, and don’t flatten the file. Turn the text and objects into work paths when using Photoshop, or turn them into outlines in Adobe Illustrator. This way when we print we won’t be using a bitmapped layer with resolution loss. Instead we’ll have sharp lines without the fuzziness you’d find in bitmap text. It will also help us print thinner lines that wouldn’t be possible otherwise, as our new laser engraver has 10x finer resolution, equal in quality to lithograph film.

If you don’t have the graphic design savvy to turn into work paths or outlines, another thing you could do is to keep the text layer as a text layer. That is to say do not rasterize the text, and do not flatten the file. We’ll do our best to turn the text into outlines on our end. Once you see the final results, you’ll be happy we did!

Black Dresses cassette

You can still submit the pad print files the old fashioned way, with rasterized text or bitmapped images. We have always prided ourselves in our excellent pad print quality, but that doesn’t mean we can’t strive for even greater resolution. Just make sure to supply using the proper template based on your cassette shell. Vector artwork should be submitted using PDF, whereas bitmapped resolution can be supplied in PSD, PDF, TIFF, or PNG.

Pad print is available using our cassette duplication quote calculator. This is where you get your fully packaged album on cassette in one simple order. You’ll receive an instant quote on the page, so you can play around with the print and packaging options until you find the perfect package at a great price. FREE SHIPPING is included on orders to the United States and Canada!