With the ever-evolving need for personalization in printing, companies are faced with the responsibility of producing shorter, tailor-made print runs without sacrificing the affordability and customization of large volume runs. Can you have both? Personalization AND customization in a short print run? At Dexter Solutions, we’re using five new technologies to digitally print special effects in short runs. So to answer your question, “Yes, you can have both!”
An image of raised ink used on a business card to create a textile effect
Raised Effects: Raised effects are created by building up layers of ink or toner. Often it’s subtle, so you may only first notice the effect when you brush your fingers across the page or if ink catches the light just right. Raised effects aren’t just for lettering, crests and logos; it can also be used to add realistic textures over parts of images and patterns. These effects are available in gloss, semi-matte and true matte.
An image showing an example of a spot varnish on a folder. Text is printed in a shiny coating rather than ink to have a reflective effect.
Spot Varnish: Digital spot varnishing puts down a clear high gloss, silk or matte image. UV spot/pattern varnishing is long established in conventional printing, but going digital opens up the possibilities of small quantities and variable imaging.
Similar to raised ink, embossing can be done by layering the ink as seen in this image of raised snowflakes.
Embossing: There is also the option of creating true, physical embossing–a mechanical effect that normally needs expensively tooled metal block dies and special presses. This involves building up raised ink on underlay sheets on the impression cylinder, which then molds the actual job sheets.
White ink can be printed on colored paper.
White Ink: White ink has not really been an option in the past. The release of digital printing with white ink opens a whole new world of substrate and color options. Colors pop off of paper like kraft paper when a layer of white is first printed underneath.
An example of metallic ink printed on a book standing on one end
Metallic Ink: Metallic effects are often used to catch the light and give a high quality feel to print, especially book covers and packaging. Even though digital presses have been around for two decades, it’s only recently that ways have been developed to produce metallic images.
These five special effects produce a level of personalization that spans far beyond ink, allowing brands the ability to create 3D effects with custom and personalized content and images.
At Dexter Solutions, we continue to invest in cutting edge technology to achieve the effects each client desires. We provide step-by-step guides as well as personal assistance by our prepress staff members to help you properly set up files to create these unique effects.

In addition to special effects, these digital presses can accommodate more than 3,000 certified substrates, including plastics and a variety of board stocks, making the digital printing process more flexible than ever before!