Inside the Imagine! Ink Room {VIDEO}

In this big company that’s still small at heart, it’s easy to forget how many departments we have that impact our day-to-day processes.

Hidden among the massive offset presses is a small office that consistently makes a big splash on our operations – a splash of color that is! Our very own ink room team is one-of-a-kind within the commercial printing industry. Most printers outsource all ink purchases, causing slow turn-times and extra overhead costs.

Here at Imagine!, we order base inks from a wide variety of vendors and manipulate them to match the exact colors our clients request. Our ink team has the flexibility to experiment, mix and morph inks in-house to meet our customers’ ever-changing preferences. 

Ink lab1

Our colorful ink room team combines multiple scientific concepts to perfect ink colors. They use physics to understand the three colors of light, density, saturation and how properties of light are used to convert to our 4-color CMYK build. They use chemistry to understand mixing properties, composition and chemical reactions between substances. And they use math to convert and scale ink colors and ratios to meet the size of the run needed. This department is much more than just mixing colors!

At Imagine! we use two main forms of ink: Conventional Inks and UV Inks. The factor that differentiates the two is how the inks are dried and set to paper. Determining which kind of ink and process you choose for a job, depends on the kind of look you’re going for. Sometimes customers want a very specific color so our ink team experiments by applying inks to the desired substrate to match that exact color, which is called a draw down. The ‘truest’ color measurement is based on L.A.B. values: L for lightness and A, B for color dimensions. To get these measurements, the ink team uses a spectrometer to read color on an L.A.B. coordinate (similar to how you find GPS coordinates on the globe) which gives the most accurate color reading.

Besides their ability to match any color with their precise draw down processes, the ink lab has endless alternative ink options; from glow-in-the-dark to scratch n’ sniff, from reflective to heat-reactive, they’re here to meet virtually any customer color need!

See the ink lab in action! Trust us, this footage will have you mesmerized.